Life Hack for Getting Suddenly Awesome: Read Great Books

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Best Nonfiction Book 4

Stories have been with us since communication was possible. They teach us things. They’re a pleasure to read.

They make us–a lot of us, anyway–really, really happy.

But what makes a good story good? I’ll tell you what I do: I read the first few pages. Then I apply certain criteria to it to try to predict whether it will be worth more of my time.

Here, to me, is what makes a good book good:

1. Good books are not overly detailed. Details are boring.

2. Good books have meaning; however,

3. Good books are subtle. The action is clear, but the meaning behind it is less so. With a really good book, you have no idea what it was really about until you’ve finished the very last sentence, put the book down, and laid your head down on the pillow to go to sleep.

4. Good books are free of clichés.

5. Good books are honest. They are sad and embarrassing.

6. Good books have rhythm.

7. Good books acquaint you with the author. By the end you feel like you know the person that wrote it—not just the characters—personally.

What do you think makes a good book good? Email me at or leave a comment here.


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  1. I. LOVE. BOOKS. The thing I’m looking forward to more than anything else about finishing university is having the chance to read novels without feeling guilty that they aren’t academic. :] Ha ha. My favourite novel is ‘To kill a mockingbird’ so let me think why I think it’s so good: It has a message; the author is not just making words but is communicating a passion. The characters are well developed and have quirks; they are consistent with themselves but are deep and (as you say is important) not cliched. It causes me to feel adrenaline, joy, anger, sorrow. It makes me feel uncomfortable, to an extent that I will only be able to focus on other things once I’ve actually finished the novel, but even when I have I’m still pondering.

    Finally, the characters are real and influential enough that I feel like I could relate to them enough that my imagination has no problem conjuring up situations and conversations with them that are not even in the book. :]

    :] xx

  2. a good book needs a good author. One that empathizes with the situations and events that she is writing about. A good book is one that has perfect knowledge of that which they are wring about. I will follow an author who can take me on a trip to different lands and cultures than I know. But please do not let me discover that the facts are wrong or misplaced.

    Great question!

  3. I like a book that expands me. The way I explain that is…I feel more emptiness inside me, more space. It’s like I’ve become bigger from the inside out & there is more room now within my consciousness, more depth. What else can I say? If I feel expanded as I read it, I’m gripped.

    1. Wow. I have never thought of it that way. Interesting. I guess I’m used to thinking of information in books as filling me, not giving me more space. I will meditate on this idea.