I’ve often discussed the power of a good song to evoke certain feelings, to sing your soul, so to speak. But I think it is easy to underestimate the value of a good book to transport you to a place outside yourself, if only for a minute.
I judge a book as “good” when I can lose myself in its pages. A book doesn’t have to be a brilliant piece of literature or critically acclaimed for me to appreciate the value inside. I don’t pick a novel based on any particular criteria, though I will admit that yes, I do judge a book by its cover. I also judge a book by its name, as is evidenced by my 20-year resolve to never read “Pigs in Heaven”. Which, I’ve heard, is an excellent read. Shallow evaluations of literature, indeed, but I just appreciate a good title!
Though I’ve stumbled upon books I enjoy from all hallowed corners of the local bookstore, I do gravitate toward a certain type of novel. I like a story into which I can fall deep- a plot that keeps me guessing and unfolds like a true chronicle of actions and emotions intertwined. I enjoy character development, in particular, and love it when I can either identify with or question the sanity of a particular protagonist. Most of all, I love a story that leaves me with what I like to call a “novel hangover”. If I’m still thinking about the characters a week after I’ve turned the final page, a book has truly claimed a hold on me.
I’ve read my fair share of forgettable books, to be sure. Examining my shelves on which an expanse of pages extends, there are obvious brightly coloured chick-lit covers and spines. What’s wrong with a little fluffy escapism? Absolutely nothing. I adore historical fiction by Philippa Gregory, as well as human interest books by Jodi Picoult. In general, my book choices fall somewhere between intellect and fluff. And I’m ok with that. I’ve also read many of the classics, and delved into more thought-provoking modernistic prose by the likes of Copeland and Zadie Smith. My book selection is as eclectic as my taste in music, actually. As long as it is readable, I’m in. Wouldn’t it be boring if I could so easily slot myself into a particular category, anyway?