What qualities do you look for to determine if a book is “good” or not?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

Thank you for the A2A, Riddhiban 🙂

Back in the days, I relied heavily on my gut feeling to decide if I would like a book or not. This was before the advent of the internet age. I would look at the synopsis at the back of the book or I would go by my judgement about the author’s work, if I have already read other works by the same author.

For instance, one of the first books of Jhumpa Lahiri that I read was ‘Unaccustomed Earth’. I loved her style of writing and I didn’t even think twice before buying ‘The Namesake’ and ‘Interpreter of Maladies’. I just knew that they would be good. When you pick up a book written by stalwarts like Lahiri, you know what to expect. Well…more or less. I have the same level of trust for other authors like Kavita Kane, Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni, Khaled Hosseini, Paulo Coelho, Anuja Chauhan, Anita Nair, etc.

These days, thanks to the customer review system on sites like Amazon and GoodReads, I get to have an overall idea about the book before I purchase it. If it is a book that I have not heard anything about (the author, the story line, etc.), I rely heavily on the info provided on rating sites. I didn’t do that for books like the ‘Game of Thrones’ books or the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books, because I knew what they’re all about. I trust Amazon ratings a lot. And I spend a considerable length of time browsing books on Amazon. Typically, I read the synopsis and reviews of one book, and then I read most of the synopses of the ‘related’ books section on the same page. So when I visit a bookstore, many of the titles are known to me as I would have already read about them online. Decisions are much easier.

What qualities do you look for to determine if a book is “good” or not?


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