Should a good book be a challenge?

@shizuoka (352)
United States
April 21, 2008 5:52pm CST
When you read for entertainment, are you looking for something light and easily consumed, such as a romance, or do you prefer to be challenged? I'm not referring to extremely difficult classics such as "Dante's Inferno" or "Bleak House", but rather well-written page-turners that give readers that little bit extra. Do you enjoy books that can teach you something about a particular profession? Patricia Cornwell? John Grisham? Would you like to read a mystery that contains literary quotations or passages in French? Dorothy L. Sayers? How about something based on historical fact and filled with thought provoking themes? Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code"? What do you think makes a book a really Great book?
1 person likes this
4 responses
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
23 Apr 08
Hello shizuoka!:-) I love reading in general and have taste for many subjects. I love to explore different realities and facts about life and humans, their minds, methods, cultures, styles and capabilities as well as abilities to turn the course of time and history. For that very reason, history, psychology and science and philosophy are among my most favorite subjects. I am not much into novels per se, not into English novels at least, but I have read and liked Agatha Christie and Jeffrey archer both satisfying my different tastes. I have read many in my local languages though, not too many even there either. I love it when I am mentally challenged and I love to take it up. I find pleasure in opening the knots and 'knowing' more! And, when a book provides me with such opportunities, I call it good/great book! :-)
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
23 Apr 08
Hello Kamran! Nice to see your hand again. When you read about history, psychology, etc. do you mainly read non-fiction? Is it not entertaining to read a novel which contains information on these subjects? or perhaps you are looking for more detailed information. I myself like to read computer repair and programming manuals. I don't consider these entertainment, however. I have books for studying language, spirituality, etc. that I read to learn and broaden my mind, but novels are purely for enjoyment; better if I am learning something as I read, but not absolutely essential. To me, a really great book is one that leaves me thinking about the story and the characters long after I have finished reading it.
1 person likes this
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
23 Apr 08
Yes, shizuoka, it is mainly non-fiction, but you are right it is more entertaining to read a novel which contains information on these subjects, that's why I liked Jeffrey's novels that cover history and politics, basically he writes on political intrigue. In my own languages, again, I liked novels which contain some historical facts, theories, psychological issues and dilemmas and light philosophical discourses with some fiction! I do like, however, in-depth accurate details, for which I read non-fiction. It's nice to see the cap, too! :-)
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
23 Apr 08
What are your languages? French? and?
• United States
22 Apr 08
I want something that makes me think but it can't be too hard to read. I like scandal,true stories and just plain entertaining reads. Sometimes I'll even read something informative like a travel book or almanac.
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
22 Apr 08
What makes a book too hard to read? Is it vocabulary, philosophy or just boring prose? I will read almost anything in a pinch, but I lose interest when the characters are shallow and the dialogue predictable.
22 Apr 08
To me a hard book to read has dialog that doesn't flow well. I tried to read Anna Karinina by Leo Tolstoi (sp?) I tried to keep up with all the characters. Any book that requires a diagram to follow characters is too involved for me. I also get irritated when an author goes into too much detail on a scene or subject to increase suspence. Dean Koontz does that from time to time. I don't like self help books. Anything that is a quick read with good dialog is ideal for me. I like a book to be a LITTLE challenging and be thought provoking. If I can't have a good discussion afterwards, it feels a little bit like a waste of time. Recomend something and I'll let you know what I think! I could use a new suggestion.
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
22 Apr 08
Hi Karawro, Do you like mysteries? I am a huge mystery buff. Some of my favorite authors with great series are D*ck Francis (themes involving horse racing), Faye Kellerman (tough LA cop married to spunky Jewess), Elizabeth Peters (independent Victorian? woman who takes up archeology and travels to Egypt) and the authors I mentioned in my original post. I read other genres as well, but mysteries are my true love, especially the English cottage variety. Authors like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh just can't be beat. *Sorry about the little star in Mr. Francis' name. Terms of use, you know.
• United States
22 Apr 08
A good book to me can include a lot of different things you mentioned above. I love a book where the language just flows and is more like prose; I really good example is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. The characters have to feel real and for me I have to either want them to succeed or hope to god that they fail! It's very important that they are life like and that you can find qualities within them that you have in yourself. A good book to me is one that I want to keep reading no matter how tired I am! They don't have to be filled with suspense, though I enjoy those too, but the plot does need to keep a faily decent pace. I have a fairly good vocabulary and I hate books that use obscure words. I feel like they're trying too hard! A good author is one that write in a complex manner without using words that only someone with a doctorate in English can fly past. As for the literary quotes in french I don't mind them too much but I always appreciate a translation shortly thereafter :) I absolutely love reading and have acquired quite a library of both very good and, in my opinion, very boring books that will soon be donated to the library!
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
22 Apr 08
I love reading, too, and will read almost anything but my favorites are always very well-written with characters that I can relate to, even if they aren't just like me. I don't have to learn something when I read fiction, but if I acquire something new; an insight, a glimpse of a life that is different from mine, an unusual word, it adds to my enjoyment.
• United States
22 Apr 08
I like to learn something when I am reading even if it is for entertainment. So learning about a profession, having something with some accurate historical information incorporated, or some scientific information is a great thing. I also like books that keep me guessing as to what is going to happen, I like when I think I figure it out then I keep reading and you change your mind about what's going to happen and you keep going back a forth up to the every end. I love getting sucked into a good book!
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
22 Apr 08
Oh, yeah! You've just described a really good book.