Belletrista Blog

What makes a good read?

November 2, 2010

In Issue 8 of Belletrista Tad Deffler, one of our reviewers, poses the following question:

As readers, we crave a story whose content and execution work together seamlessly to draw us in. Yet we don’t always get all we want, and the question arises: when all is said and done, what tips the balance and makes us glad we have read a book?

I’ve been trying to think of my response to this all day! Is ‘being glad to have read a book’ different from enjoying a book? One of the women in my real-life book group always declares that she’s glad to have read each month’s chosen text, but she doesn’t necessarily enjoy them all.

As a reader I’m searching for new experiences and  knowledge so I’m always glad to have read a book  that takes me somewhere that I haven’t been before – which is one of the reasons why I love Belletrista! But I can’t be as forgiving as my friend. If the execution is bad, I’m usually unable to see the merits of the content.

What makes you glad to have read a book?

3 Comments for this entry

  • Akeela

    Tad, I’m often glad to have read a book, though it may not have been great in style and language. A book that comes to mind is “Singing Away the Hunger: The Autobiogaphy of an African Woman” by Mpho Matsepo Nthunya.

    The book is a tribute to a resilient woman who, through sheer determination, was able to create a positive life for herself in very challenging circumstances in the mountainous and poverty-stricken Lesotho (a tiny country landlocked within South Africa).

    The stories were relatively unsophisticated, but the deep value in her tales was a means of celebrating a life, and enjoying the great story-telling tradition of Africa.

  • Jana

    I think Tad said something interesting when he said, “we don’t always get what we want.” We certainly bring our expectations to our reading and sometimes it’s difficult to set them aside before we begin. The question is what do we expect most of the time?

  • Rachel

    One of my recent reads (On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe, which I both enjoyed and was glad to have read) made me think about this. It’s certainly not the only thing that would make me glad to have read a book, but in this case it was the way a book made me see the world around me in a different way, albeit momentarily.

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