I love to read. My relatives will proudly tell you that I learned to read at age 3, with the help of my grandma as well as my great-grandma, who was a teacher. After picking up the basics of reading, I couldn't be stopped. I would read just about anything. Out of curiosity and boredom, I read through encyclopedias, cover-to-cover. So much of my childhood was spent with my nose in a book, it's a miracle that I made it to adulthood without walking right off the edge of a cliff!
These days, I still enjoy a good book. In fact, I just started a new book last night. Deception Point by Dan Brown. Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors. This particular novel, published in 2001, is a sort of political conspiracy thriller with some elements of science-fiction. I can't wait to find out what happens!
An engaging, suspenseful plot is key to a good novel. I remember watching my grandfather read novels as a kid. He would come home from the library with a bag full of Westerns and stories of political intrigue. Sometimes, he would sit at the table with a new book, read about 30 pages, then put it back in the bag and pull out another book. He told me that he just couldn't "get into the plot," so he would cut his losses and move on. Later, I learned about this issue. Life is too short to read boring books. Luckily, I have not come across too many books that I couldn't finish.
A related issue is writing style. While this issue seems to mostly pop up in cheap romance novels, occasionally, one finds the words on a page to be lacking in good-quality prose. I have read some books where the wording was just too awkward to understand. One must wonder whom is sitting at the publisher's office, sending these unfortunate samples of English to print...
I typically do not purchase new books, except as gifts. I prefer to find my books at the library (whose efforts I support through my consistently earned late fees) or at a secondhand store. Used bookstores are especially good, since their staff are typically knowledgeable and can help with a recommendation. I have also come across books I really enjoyed by reading reviews in the magazines I subscribe to. Sometimes, I borrow books from friends. I once saw a quote by Abraham Lincoln, which goes something like "my best friend is someone who will give me a book I have not read." Isn't that the truth? I get book recommendations from my sisters, my mom, and my friends. Sometimes, I daydream about starting a book club with my friends. I wonder how that would turn out. We could read books and munch on snacks and drink wine. Any takers?
Tell me, readers. What makes a book great? Where do you find books? Let's talk literature!