Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trashy Linguistics

As a student of English and Communications, I've been submerged in the world of literature.  I find it strange when I reference books and someone mentions that they don't read or read very little, when I read all the time: books, magazines, blogs,, etc.  The more I read, the more I have come to the question of what defines the term "good book"? 

I find this to be a subjective term.  Everyone is different and therefore has a different perception of "good".  However, what is it about some books that may them so appealing to the mass audience as opposed to just a select niche market; and moreover, even novels read by popular audience can still have the capacity to be filed under the "trashy" column.  Is there even a way to quantify what books are "good"?

Romance novels, like Soap Operas, are comsumed regularly in popular culture but have historically and in present day been given a bad reputation, whereas books that make it on the New York Times Bestseller List are automatically pulled from obscurity to be considered "good".

I think a good book is one that you miss when you finish.  One that draws you in and makes you invested in the characters in the novel, like as if they're your friends.  Words that take on a life-like feel instead of two-dimensional ink marks on a page.  I've read a lot of books that someone else has considered to be a great work of art, and completely missed where the "art" started and the "boring" stopped.  I am even willing to admit, sometimes I even read books that are historically complemented just to be part of the conversation.  I want to be relevant in the discussion.