How do you determine a good book?

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I was given a copy of Achebes popular book, ‘Things Fall Apart . My father thought it was a good book to introduce me to African literature and the African culture. I looked at him, looked at the book and thought,

‘There is no way I am going to read this.’

The main reason was that the cover was not in any way appealing. It was plain orange with an picture that was hard to decipher and to top it all , the font was too small.

Then, in my secondary school Literature class, this became a compulsory read. It was great.

With this experience , I have decided never again to judge a book by its cover. I now began to look at other indicators which may be a sign that I am on to a great one. If you are unfortunate to have the edition with a cover which is not too pleasing on the eye you may dismiss a book. In doing this you may miss out on many good books.

So, lets get back to Things Fall Apart.

I realised that I was onto a winner. Within the first chapter, I was introduced to the main character, Okonkwo, to a village setting and to the characteristics and behaviour of Okonkwo and his father. By the end of the first chapter I was eager to know more about these characters who were living in a village in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

After the initial misconception of Things Fall Apart I have established some points. These points show me wether or not a fiction book is worth reading.

Good book Indicators

  • Does the first paragraph draw me in . Does it introduce me to a character or a setting
  • Am I eager to learn more about the characters life or their narrative journey or is it just full of unnecessary decription
  • Are there too many characters in the begining? Does this cause me to constantly go back to the previous pages to try and remember who is who?
  • How is the language of the book? Does the author beat about the bush with unecessary adjectives, descriptions or do they get straight to the point?
  • Do I have an idea as to what the story/book is about without having to read the blurb? How much information about the narrative/story can I deduce from the first couple of pages.
  • Do I believe the stage of the narrative has been quicky set?
  • How quickly does the story move forward? Does it quickly introduce new or necessary information for me to have an idea as to where the story is heading.
  • Do I constantly think about the book when I am not reading it? With the eagerness to get back to it.

S these are what I use in determining whether or not I should continue reading a particular book. I do not believe they all have to be available. However, if a handful of them are, then it is an assurance to me that I am on to a winner.

Can you relate to any of them? If you can please let me know.

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