What Makes You Love a Book?

What makes you love a book over just liking it? For me, I have to connect to the main character on some level. The book also has to say something. One of those will make me like a book, but for me to truly love it deeply I need both.

What Makes You Love a Book?

How I connect to the character doesn’t matter. I don’t have to find them wonderful, or fall head-over-heels in love with them. They don’t have to be just like me, or have problems that I can relate to. All that matters is that I care about what happens to them next. For that, they can be a despicable villain, and I keep reading because I want to see them to get their comeuppance. Most of the time, I want to see them win. I want to be pulled along toward some emotionally satisfying closure.

As for meaning something, this probably carries a bit more weight than character. People give me grief because I can talk about theme and symbolism and allegory all day long. Some people just want a fun romp, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy those, too. But a book that I love sticks with me, and it sticks with me because there was some idea explored. The human condition, the power of falling in love, the cost of ambition, it can be anything. It’s why I’ve been leaning more and more toward “literary” fiction than genre stuff. It’s why the genre stuff I still enjoy tends to be more literary. There’s a deeper experience waiting to be had when the book has something worthwhile to say.


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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