The Problem With Good Books

In case, you were wonderin’ this is not a blog on what Good books there are out there, rather a blog on what constitutes a good book.

It’s a working title.

The problem is that you can spend six pounds upwards on a book and it might turn out to be a real out of date, wrong colour, too much or too little dialogue, too slow with no action or some other reason to shelve it. The same can be said for description: too much or too little. It might contain so many tropes that you are left giddy headed even half in love with the text itself without really knowing why or whether you should allow yourself to feel this way about mere words on a page. What if this happened to you in real-life?

Like a good horror movie that has you glued to the screen, it is with your book you hope. You turn the pages expectantly expecting the tale to unfold and time and again, if it is a really good book, you whistle with surprise and the plot twists first this way then that tickling your fancy in ways you did not realise but in all probability you will find that the prose contains ideas that you’d sooner pass up for a swift hot mocha and a Belgian bun (it’s twice the fun when it rhymes, I try to do it every time)

And the expectation is another thing that like good timing never goes out of style. So why is it that when you are twenty pages in and waiting for something interesting to happen and nothing does (The opposite of the movie Jumanji)and you feel like putting the book down and on the pile for the charity store do you feel sad and at a loss. I must be too stupid to get it, stupid classics, boring talks about the necessity of being in want of a husband and so on.

So you think. I know I’ll try Manga. You try Manga and after buying one that doesn’t offend you think ‘ great. Manga is the future’ Good luck to you.

But back to books containing thousands of words and only the occasional illustration by a talented illustrator like Arthur Rackham and now you are talking good books. Alice In Wonderland comes alive with the aid of good illustrations. But you say, it’s really in the words…

So. You have a crisp twenty-pound note or gift vouchers or credit and you are standing outside Waterstones  bookshop. What do you do? Buy a coffee and a slice of cake and then go perusing the shelves or do you just dive straight in like what I have done and go for something with a nice cover and a good sounding title? The real options are indeed wider. Go armed with the literary supplement of your favorite Sunday  newspaper or go armed with a Literary App that digitally chooses the best book for you based on some-thing fancy preference what-not that send you the cheapest copy available in the post. Only a quick trip to your friendly neighbourhood sorting office to collect it then! Or do you brave going off the beaten track to find the rare second-hand bookshop that lurks under the ten storey building above it in a part of town in which you have never travelled before? Or if you want to use Goodreads. Or the subject menu on Amazon. Or like me do none of the above and go blogging.

Its completely, almost, unpredictable in that you never know what sort of writing you are going to find or the frequency or the subject or the quality. In short you are your own editor, adding likes and follows to build yourself a digital library of sites that you like, really like and meh, just follow!.

Occasionally you will find a writer you wish to return to in the future so with that in mind you decide to follow him. I follow hundreds of blogs and have a special folder in my inbox for WordPress new posts to go in so the rest of my emails remain uncluttered. So no mess, no trouble, no EXPENSE and it’s a two-way street. you write a bit, you read a little, write a little, read a little…

If only more authors blogged and thus spread the word of their exploits in this free and engaging way then I would never ever have the need to go near a front facing bookstore ever again.

But that isn’t the case. From time to time I want to buy a print book for the bookshelves even though I have a blog and a Kindle and eReader. And there are times I wonder about taking a trip to one of the two Waterstones in the town where I live and wasting a few hours wallowing in titles and books cover designs rubbing shoulders with the intelligentsia, students, staff, and other folks like me who enjoy a good story and above all a good book to read.



Published by Andrew Mark Watkins

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