What do you look for in a book?

Most people have particular tastes in books as far as genre is concerned. I do as well, although I am a fairly eclectic reader. Books on my shelves range in genre from thriller, mystery, to literary fiction, to cheesy romance. And even though the majority of my interest remains in women’s fiction and romance, I like a variety in my reading life. But what makes the BEST novel for me? That’s easy. Connecting with the characters.

There are different elements to every book. Plot and characters are two of the main elements. Character driven novels are those books where the basis of the story revolves around the characters and their development throughout the story. They usually make some sort of transformation. Plot driven novels are those in which the plot and/or a series of events drive the novel and characters, over any other factor. There are also novels–more literary–which are slower moving, but are written with beautiful prose and often have meaning beneath the surface of the story, in which the author is trying to send a message.

It’s no surprise that my favorite of the above are character driven novels. Women’s Fiction and romance are mostly based on character development and interaction. Just as most thrillers, suspense, horror, and mysteries are plot driven. For me, what makes a good book is the ability to fall in love with the characters and go on an emotional journey with them. This emotional attachment to the characters, for me, is what makes me most invested in a story and is what leaves me thinking about them long after the novel has ended.

So, here’s my question for you: What type of novel do you like best? What keeps you reading and sucks you in? What do you like to see in a story?

It would be my guess that men prefer plot over characters, but I would love to find out. Let me know what YOU think…are characters, plot, or writing style (prose), more important to you?


11 thoughts on “What do you look for in a book?

  1. While I think plot is very important for me when reading a good book, I also want to care about the characters. For example, If I’m reading a thriller novel and one of the main characters gets whacked, I want it to have an emotional impact on me. Even if the story has a great plot, if the characters are flat and “one dimensional” then it is hard to keep reading. Of course, as a guy, if the book is jam packed with action throughout…some characters are just expendable. 🙂

  2. I can do e-reading as much as I want. May it be an article, novel, or informational content. On the contrary, when it comes to hard copies, I’m ill mannered for it 🙂 because I always drowse. I once tried reading a novel Twilight, it was hardly four pages (in which I understood nothing) and was dosing off… After sharing the experience with one of my good writer friend, his assumption was that I seek a better genre and not novels of that interest.

    To me what attracts is reality, non-fiction this is something I relate myself to. So that leaves me answered to your questions…

    Sorry… just had my insights on novels.

    • My husband is not an avid reader and also falls asleep when trying to read a novel. Like you though, if it’s a subject of interest, he will read Non-Fiction with ease. Drives me nuts though, because I love fiction so much, lol.

  3. I believe that each reader is seeking one of two things in a story, either the main character or the story itself reminds them of their own lives or just the opposite. Example, an shy person wants the main character to be bold, a weak person seeks a strong character, ETC…

  4. I like depth and subtext. I want to read a book that makes me think. Don’t care much about the genre as long as it introduces me to new things, concepts, philosophies, or viewpoints in a manner that’s honest. I need the plot to be logical, and I want to be able to relate to the motivations of realistic (multi-dimensional) characters. Because of these requirements, I usually don’t care for romance novels. Not because I don’t like romance, but because stories in that genre frequently lack depth. If a story speaks to the emotions but not the mind, I feel gypped.

  5. for me , like you I am prolific reader ( 4-5- books a week if I can ) the book needs to have a good plot backed up by believable characters. The blurb on the back needs to also draw people in. I almost didn’t buy a book because the blurb was boring but the book was fantastic- cant stand soppy romance – give me a mystery /thriller/ character book any day just don’t skimp on the characters.

  6. I seek to be challenged mentally, where each sentence in the story leads to something and is not padded with unnecessary detail to fill pages. I will read just about any story as long as emotion doesn’t override thought. I also like a story that has you back tracking to hints provided in previous chapters or books. Nothing is more pleasing than to be surprised.

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