Wednesday, 22 April 2015

3 Things: You Look For in a Good Book

Welcome back, dear readers, to this blog's newest feature: 3 things! If you're new to the blog, 3 things is a monthly feature, where I ask a group of people from different professions (and interests) the three things involving their area of expertise. The idea is to connect more well-known people with their fans or public and get to know them a little better. Because, we all know how renowned people can seem quite out of reach at times. But, hopefully, by reading this feature, you will learn that they're actually human beings just like us, with comfortable habits and obstacles in their lives and we might actually get inspired by their answers. So since this month is literary month, I thought I'd round up a few of my favourite bookworms I know and ask them this:

Kathy Noto-Rillorta of My Peach Days
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  • A good plot. I don't judge a book by its cover but I do get my first impression on the plot summary at the back of the book. It's always nice to know what you're getting yourself into. 
  • Witty characters. That always lead to witty and engaging dialogues, which are not only entertaining, but are also extremely quotable. I love characters who have a strong sense of humor or, sometimes, even notoriously sarcastic. They make you pause and do a double take on that line so you can savor every word. 
  • Romance. I am a huge romance novel junkie and not ashamed of saying so. I think a lot of people don't like admitting they love romance novels just because they're not "intellectual" reads. Well, a lot of them are. I am particularly fascinated with 19th century historical/regency romance reads. The courtships are interesting and so unlike our generation of smart phones and instant messages. The romance sizzles and you can always count authors like Lisa Kleypas or Judith McNaught to give your heart an ache when the characters go through tough times.

Grotesque humor - I'm a big fan of humor, even more so if it's mixed with mutilated body parts and dangling organs. I guess a good example of this would be "John Dies at The End" by David Wong
Depressing Tones - I mean the ones that make you rethink everything about life. I want a book that could depress you to the point of catatonia. A story that ends happily with the oblivious hero taking the train into the looming dark cloud of nothingness because that's all there ever was. NOTHING. Plus points if it has happy/humorous scenes mixed in. (ex. Amerika [Der Verschollene] by Franz Kafka) I loved this book so much I wrote a thesis about it!
The Strange - Anything mysterious that leaves the reader wondering. (A slipper found in your closet that's not yours, the shadow of a strange man smoking on your rooftop, a reflection that suddenly blinks at you and you're not sure if you were hallucinating or..?) Better if the answer is something paranormal/magical. Something close to real life except it's not. It's too strange. Too magical. But in a setting so mundane, it's unbelievable. (ex. honestly can't think of one at the moment)

Muhammad Irfan Perdana
Linguistics Student at Bangor University
1) Good characterization. The characters have to be well-rounded and multidimensional, not boring, flat characters with a one-note personality.
2) Well-crafted language. Good wordplay is vital, whether it be for comedy, for scaring readers, for arousing them, etc.
3) Clear aesthetics and themes. A good book, above all else, has to know the feel it's going for and what it wants to do to get there. That's the factor that unifies every other aspect of the book.

So what do you look for in a good book?

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