I've often wondered what it is exactly that makes a book a great book and great read. Sometimes it is undefinable. I may read a book that I feel is great and others may not appreciate it at all or vice versa. I'm not talking about what makes for great literature, although that is definitely something to consider, but more about what attracts readers to any particular book or author compared to another. For example, I recently reread To Kill a Mockingbird as part of my local library's summer reading program. I loved this book as a teenager and appreciated it even more as an adult. Yet I know that there are other readers that either didn't get it or simply didn't like it.
There are books that seem to pull the reader in and make for a great and fast read while other books may push the reader away for awhile or make him struggle through with the story or characters before finally dragging them into the story. Some readers simply won't finish books that they find uninteresting or to be a slow read whereas others will slog through until the bitter end. This isn't always the "fault" of the writer but may simply be due to differing tastes in reading choices.
Personally I feel that any book that gets a person to read is somewhat worthwhile. No one should be denigrated because of their reading choices. Some may choose to read books considered modern literary classics as well as classic literature and others may choose to read graphic novels, ChickLit, etc. We shouldn't really care because these people are reading. I can recall my step-son's third grade teacher stating that she didn't care what her students read (with some caveats such as no porn, etc.) as long as they were reading. This was a great attitude to have. She didn't make any of her students feel bad about their reading choices. Perhaps the reading and publishing world should be as considerate. Don't tear down our reading choices, applaud us because we read!
Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading
"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor
“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen
"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde
"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller