“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Well, here’s another quote that borders on the morbid! But I feel that this should be a thumb rule that readers should try to follow, most of the times. I mean, I have to admit it, there’s no knowing when my time will come. And when it does, I’d like to be a happy soul, knowing that I read the best books. Even though not all of them. Also, very importantly, that I did not suffer through and waste my time on the bad ones when I could have been reading the good ones.
This gives me the courage I sometimes need when I am at the crossroads of taking the decision to stop reading a book and let it be or continuing on with it. Making this decision is sometimes so hard and time consuming that in the time I make up my mind, I would have finished reading the book and felt horrible and disappointed about it too.
What qualifies as a good book in my eyes is one that is first, entertaining. I am after all reading a book to escape the realities of life and immerse myself for those few minutes or a couple of hours in another world. I need a book to be entertaining, no matter what (and one author who has unfailingly delivered on this is Neil Gaiman. It doesn’t have to be high drama or fantasy. If it has strong emotional undercurrents, the book will have me, hook line and sinker.
Secondly, the book can have only so many clichés before it’s just like any other book that I have read. Clichés are fine, only as long as they are limited to a few. Thirdly, I need characters that are strong. By that I don’t mean that these characters should have the strength to handle situations and face adversities, etc. but characters that are well rounded.
Well, this is not an exhaustive list of all that makes for the best books according to me. It’s just a whisper of all that I would like to say. But give me a book that has these three elements and you will seldom hear me grumble. This is what makes for a good book that will keep me smiling.
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