The Worst Books by the Best Writers

This post has my mind turning with the question, “what is a good book?” How do we define a book to be worthy of our affection, passion, our need to tell everyone about? What is it that inspires us, or touches us? Is it the characters, the plot, the themes covered? Does it have to be all of those things or just one or two?
Reflecting on some of the books that stand out to me each one has something that sparked my interest whether I thoroughly enjoyed the story or not. I haven’t read much lately. Most of the books I’m thinking about I read years ago, and yet I still remember them.

  • Black Boy by Richard Wright—I enjoyed his style of writing.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison—Hated the style, hated reading it and yet I remember it. I believe it is because of the characters, the way the story wound itself around me even as I tried to quickly skim through it.
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck—Loved this book, mostly for the themes. While I enjoyed the characters and the plot, it was the topic of mercy killing that stuck with me the most.
  • The Belgariad Series by David Eddings—I found the characters to be likable especially Silk/Kheldar. I liked his role within the story and found his quirks to be amusing.
  • The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King—I started by reading the third book and then began from the beginning. I still haven’t finished the series, eventually I’ll get to it—maybe that’s why I’m thinking of it.

Perhaps for me, a good book is one that isn’t easily forgotten. It has left its mark on my memory in some way, shape or form.
How would you characterize a good book? What makes one worth reading?

Bertram's Blog

I got an email today from someone at oedb.org (Online Education Database) asking me to share an article with my blog readers. Generally, I ignore such requests, partly because the articles seldom have anything to do with the topics covered in this blog, and partly because . . . well, this is my blog and my personal soapbox. But I am making an exception in this particular case because I liked the following introduction to the article, “The Worst Books by the Best Writers.”

It is said that even a blind pig finds a truffle now and then. That may be true, but writing a good book (despite what so many deluded amateurs seem to believe) is exceedingly difficult. A lousy writer is unlikely, under even the best circumstances, to produce a novel of any value. The reverse, however, unfortunately happens quite easily. The finest writer, if prolific enough, is still practically guaranteed…

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