I feel like I’m working with the whole chicken/egg dilemma today. My original thesis was, ‘does a book need to be good to be important’. And then I thought, well, what makes a book ‘good’? And the more I thought about it, the more intertwined the ideas became. So how do I broach this topic? Do I want to broach this topic?
Let’s start with an example. I recently read “Origin” by Dan Brown and “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. I did not consider these books to be particularly well written. I thought there were plot inconsistencies and gaps that brought me out of the story. I thought some of the dialogue was tedious and repetitive. I thought the characters were a little too stereotypical, yet behaved in illogical ways. I did not think these books could be defined as good.
Both of these books left me thinking about them after I had read them. I wrote a post about the main plot line of “The Immortalists” because it was so thought provoking. I have discussed these books with people and journaled about them. I have spent more time talking about these books than books that I labeled ‘good’. I think I’m going to remember these books. So, doesn’t that make them good?
Now think about this: can you think a book is good yet not like it? Can you like a book but think it’s not good? Or are like and good too intertwined?
I know there are books that I thought were well written but I did not like. (Handmaids Tale) And if I thought about it I’m sure I could find a book that I thoroughly enjoyed yet no one would ever call it a good book (my novel). But how many people differentiate?
So. here’s todays thought points:
- What makes a book good
- What makes a book important
- Do you think of these things when you are reading
Yes. I am asking you to write my blog for me this morning because I am in a quandary. What do we look for in a book, and why.
I recently read “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. This is not a review of the book, but rather a look at it’s main hypothesis. I don’t consider anything I am about to write in the spoiler category, be forewarned.
The basic premise of this book revolves around knowing the exact date that you will die. So my question is: if you knew when you were going to die, would you live your life differently?
I have given this a lot of thought since reading the book. How would I live my life?
I have a tremendous fear of heights, but mainly it revolves around falling. If I am in an observatory, I am fine looking down as long as the environment is enclosed. If it’s open, well, I’m twenty feet away from the edge. Some of you remember my summer lighthouse adventure, when I was felled by the 15 steps I had to climb down, and I actually considered moving into the top of the lighthouse. But really, I’m afraid of falling because I’m afraid of dying. If I knew that I was not going to die the day of the lighthouse visit, would I descend the stairs more calmly because I knew this was not to be my day?
Then you have the other side. One of the reasons I exercise is to keep healthy. I think exercise is good for the heart, the muscles and the brain. I think it helps you live longer. But what if i found out my demise would be early? Would I spend my time doing something I enjoy more, like laying on the couch reading? Would I spend my time being less healthy because trying to be healthy doesn’t really matter because it’s not going to actually effect my life?
Though I usually overthink everything, including trips to the dry cleaner, I am amazed that I have never thought about this idea. I guess the rational part of my brain knows that this kind of knowledge is not logical. This is not something even computers can predict with any great accuracy, and I don’t believe a Buzzfeed quiz would be helpful either. So rationally, I’m out.
I like to think I am open minded. I like to think that everything is possible until proven otherwise. But is it possible to predict the day of demise? And does it matter?
What do you all think? Is it possible to know? Do you want to know? Would you live your life differently?