Saturday, June 15, 2013

Top 3 Things: I Love in Books

Hey, everyone! Lately, I've been posting review after review, so I thought I'd add in some variety. Today I'll be listing the top three things I love in books.

The more I blog, the pickier I get when it comes to reading. (I think.) I can definitely say that I read more critically and analytically now than ever before. This could also be that it comes with the territory of getting older, but I think blogging probably has escalated the process.

But anyway, let's get started!

1) Relatable characters/Character development: I cannot stress enough how important characters are in a story to me. I have to be able to connect with or relate to the characters to fully appreciate a novel. Otherwise, I tend to enjoy it less. It doesn't mean that the character has to be perfect or flawless. In fact, I really like flawed characters. That's a tricky claim, though, because it has to be a reasonably flawed character. I understand that that is really subjective, but I guess I'll put it this way: I can like a character who makes rash decisions or is impulsive; however, I dislike characters who remain that way throughout their whole story. Layered, relatable, flawed (to an extent) characters are my absolute favorite, and in turn, make me love certain books.

Examples of my favorite characters: Tris from Divergent, Anna from Anna and the French Kiss, Percy from Percy Jackson and the Olympians/The Heroes of Olympus

2) Beautiful prose: When you read books, it's easy to notice different writing styles. Some are more direct while others are more poetic. I really love beautiful prose. You know--the kind of writing that makes you stop, reread the passage, and just revel in its beauty. Sometimes, what makes it beautiful is its relatability; other times, it's how "quotable" it is. It doesn't necessarily make for a better book, but it's definitely an enjoyable aspect of a novel.

Examples of authors who I think write beautifully: Lauren Oliver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Green

3) Complex romance: One thing that I usually must have in the books I read is romance. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a swoon-worthy boy! However, the romance has to develop fully for me to believe it. This means no insta-love! Instead, I love it when authors are able to weave together a layered love story with its ups and downs. Sometimes, this means creating a love triangle, but that's a discussion for another day! Seeing (or reading, I guess) two people develop feelings for each other and watching their feelings intensify is just a beautiful thing, and the authors that are able to capture that in their books are seriously amazing!

Examples of my favorite romances: Mia/Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went, Macy/Wes from The Truth About Forever, Hazel/Gus from The Fault in Our Stars

So those are my top three favorite things in books! Of course, there are so many other aspects of a good book: pacing, plot, friends/family, genre, concept, etc. But I think characters, prose, and romance are the things I love the most in books.

What'd be on your top three? I'd love to know.


  1. This is a great list, Sophia! Those three would definitely make up my list, as well. Characters are super important, I completely agree. Sometimes a book is just completely ruined for me if I don't connect with the characters, even though the plot and story-building might be phenomenal. It's only when you grow to like and empathize with realistic characters that you fully immerse yourself in a novel. :') AAAAH you could not be more right, John Green writes so beautifully! I have no idea how he does it, it must be a God-given gift. <3 Fabulous list, Sophia! Thanks so much for sharing. :) x

  2. This is a great list, one I totally agree with, Sophia. I don't like inst-love but I get insta-attraction/lust, and I must have romance in my reads! Rare occasions where I'm okay if there isn't one. Character development is huge to me and if I'm frustrated or can relate to the main character I rarely enjoy the book. Great post! :)

  3. Great list! I agree with everything but I also think I'd add believable side characters to my list. I hate having characters that are just there to give answers or be the person to talk to when there's no cute boy around. I like side characters with meat and their own stories and problems.

  4. I completely agree with the character development. If there's not a character that at least goes somewhere, I cannot stand the book. But, I don't have to have romance for it to be a good read!

    Come visit my blog

  5. I'm with you on characters -- without characters I care about, the most beautifully written book doesn't interest me. Good writing is important too, and I like a well-crafted plot.
    Fun discussion topic! Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  6. Relatable characters and a complex romance would also be in my top 3 things I want in a book. The other would be strong worldbuilding. If it's a dystopian or fantasy novel and the worldbuilding is weak, my rating just goes down.

  7. ooh love your list! beautiful prose certainly helps with me, even if a book is dead boring i'm like BUT THE PROSE IS GREAT. i like a fully developed romance as well! i'm not sure what my top three would be but i'm pretty sure prose would rank high on my list.

  8. I agree with all of your points Sophia. I always need some sort of connection with characters in books, I usually find that when this is lacking, a book usually ends up being really disappointing for me. I always love when an authors writing blows me away, I will have to check out some of your suggestions! Thanks for sharing such an insightful post with us! :)

  9. Great post! I'm really big on characters as well. I want a character that I can enjoy -whether they are a good guy or not. I think it's really important for them to grow though, you're right. If they are annoying in the beginning, that's fine, if they grow and change by the end.

    I don't need a romance in every story but I do want it to be realistic. I don't like insta-love or love triangles for the most part. I'm sure it can work okay in some stories, but for the most part, I'd rather not see it. It just doesn't seem real for me and I love "realistic" stories a great deal.


  10. These three things probably top my list of favorite things in books as well! Relatable characters are SO important for me, and I really do love when the grow and develop throughout the story.

    Honestly, when I first started our reading, I didn't quite notice the writing style. But now I've come to really appreciate beautiful prose. Lauren Oliver is probably the best example I can think of when it comes to this. It's just something that enhances the story so much, and can take your breath away.

    While I'm not the biggest romance fan out there, I do love a good, complex romance. It's great to see when these aren't perfect- because which romance is? I'm not a fan of insta-love or love triangles, I think true romance doesn't need to happen instantly or need 3 people to create tension. I mean, Percy/Annabeth (*pauses for moment of fangirling*) have such a complex romance, and there's no love triangle- Riordan manages to create tension in other ways (like chucking them in specific places *cough*Tartarus*cough* or keeping them separate for 2 FREAKING BOOKS). Ahem.

    Lovely list, Sophia!! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  11. Oh good, this is excellent. I'm also totally with you. Except for maybe romance because I don't NEED romance in my books. But when it is present, complex and realistic is the way to go! I also really, really enjoy some stellar world building in my books.

  12. I love that you posted this! And I agree that these are all really important to a good book. I also like all of the books you listed above, so I'm with you on those same elements. Character growth is so important and gorgeous prose is one of my favorites. I'm all about the swoon too! Have you read Lovely Dark and Deep? That has such beautiful writing, great character development and serious SWOON.

  13. I absolutely love books with characters that are relatable and develop a lot. Characters have to develop because in real life people change, so they should change in books too. Thanks for sharing. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  14. Another vote here for number 1 in the list. I can read a book about almost anything if the characters are strong and well developed throughout the story. Most recently I read Bennett Coles Casualties of War and it really was the perfect example of good character writing and development. I can't praise this book highly enough. If you enjoy reading sci fi and/or military fiction, this has to be a candidate for book of the year in it's genre.

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