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Good or Bad... Thinking Makes it So...

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Have you ever finished a book and tried to decide if it was good or bad, and you cannot decide which or why? I had the experience recently, and after some thoughts I found that as many as a tenth of the books I read I would struggle to describe to my wife “I liked it because…XYZ.”

I have found it a fun exercise to start telling her or my friends who will let me regale them with it, the reasons I like individual chapters as I go, or why I didn’t. When nobody else is around, they just don’t want to hear it, or don’t want spoilers, I have taken to telling myself about it. I am going to make the recommendation to you to do it too. Two really good reasons come to mind.

If we find an author we LOVE, and we want to recommend them to other people we need to be able to say “I like this because…, and you will like it because….” Do it for the author you want to plug. But also, and perhaps more importantly, do it for you. If you can be specific about what you like in a story you and not only enjoy the book as you read it more, like rewinding your favorite scene, you can also start to see connections in the piece you didn’t see before. This is a modification of my advice to “Slow down,” the reading, but in this case, it is more a “Slow down enough to know why you liked it.”

If you are also a writer you can use it to find what attracts you to reading for what you can emulate, expand on, and bring your own spin to. If you can’t verbalize it, you can’t emulate it.

You can also lastly use it to try and understand what other authors you might like and which ones you don’t. It is better to say “I don’t like books where XYZ happens. Or “I don’t like when the main characters are like ABC.”

Give voice to your likes and dislikes, you will be happy that you did.

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