Today's Booking Through Thursday asks: Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments at BTT—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
1. Everything must ring true. (I'm sure there is a literary term for this, but I am unable to come up with much but mush after an afternoon at the pool.) Authenticity. Believable dialog.
2. Fully developed characters. I despise stereotypes and vast generalizations. I want richly painted characters, and truly I prefer likable main characters. I specifically despised The Shipping News, for example, because I couldn't stand the protagonist. I'm not saying all the characters have to be likable, but I want to root for the main character.
3. Lyrical writing. I love descriptions that take my breath away, language that simply flows. I generally do not like writers who try to be clever or witty. Scout saying "Pass the damn ham" is the kind of humor that I love.
4. Evocative. I want to experience an emotional response to a novel, but I don't want sentimentality to be forced upon me.
5. Theme. As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun," and so it is with themes. I love to discover a novel through which the theme is richly and skillfully woven but is not overtly preachy.
6. Redemption. I love for something good to come out of the novel--for both the characters and the reader. I'm not saying the ending necessarily has to be happy, but a redemptive moment is essential.