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February 2012
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My First Short Story! – The Pink Sweater

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“Bad Books”

Besides a dog, a book can be man’s best friend. Books provide an escape from reality, a break from our thoughts and our everyday lives. We read books to our children, before we go to bed, during lunch breaks and on the beach. But what is the purpose of a book? What makes a book worth reading? What makes it a “good book?”
Novels are not only a source of entertainment, like movies or television shows, they also are a way for us to learn. The purpose of a book is to more or less teach a lesson, have a purpose or moral and show emotion. I think the best books out there are the ones that have an overall message for its readers. A good book has relatable characters that accompany you along the journey of discovering this moral or lesson. This journey, the plot, takes many twists and turns and surprises you along the way. Not one element of a novel should be expected or predicted.
When characters in a novel are more realistic, they are more relatable. I love feeling like I’m in the book along with them, experiencing what they are experiencing and feeling the emotions that they are feeling. When finished a book, one should know the characters like they are their closest friends, not like they are just a person formed out of words printed on paper. The reader should feel happy or sad for them while reading their story. Books like Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini offer an insight into their main characters’ minds, which helps build them up as such realistic characters.
Plots of a book should be totally unique, complex and completely unexpected. One should never be able to predict the ending of a book. The plot should twist and turn and go in a direction that one would have never thought of themselves, a direction that is utterly unanticipated. This creates the novel to be more enjoyable than a story lacking any surprises. For example, what made Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters and Fight Club such great novels were their surprise endings and plot twists that kept their readers surprised and on the edge of their seats.
I personally love discovering a beneficial moral or lesson while reading a novel or book series. I feel that when a book teaches something valuable to its readers, no matter the age, it is an exceptional book. After all, the main reason children are read fairytales and fables at such a young age is to teach them life lessons and have them actually learn something while still enjoying a fictional story. This should be the same for adult and young adult novels; for example, the ever-popular Harry Potter books, which encase great life lessons and morals – like love and true friendship – in a magical fictional world.
There is one type of book that I cannot stand, and that is the romance novel. I don’t think there is anything more boring than reading a book about a cliché “loser” guy or girl chasing after someone who is “out of their league”, as some teenage romance novels go. And while books like Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen may be entertaining, could you tell me one thing you have learned? As for books that go against the cliché, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is the perfect example. It consists of action and adventure and has a little romance in there, too, which is the perfect mix, in my opinion.
I love books that make you think: what would I do if I was in that character’s situation? Would I make the same choice that they did? I love books that teach me something, whether about history or even something about myself. I love books that go against the cliché and the stereotypes. I love books that are inspirational.
So, while you are reading, keep in mind that what may seem like just small details that the author whipped together is actually what helps determine between a “good” book and a “bad” book.