Friday, July 12, 2013

What Makes a Book Memorable

Oh, how I love summer. After doing a little house cleaning, a little shopping, a little weeding, I picked up the book I had started reading, my sunglasses and headed for the pool. I only had a few chapters left in the book so I finished it quickly. I had intended to leave the balmy water and start dinner when I finished the book. But I didn't.

You see, I do a lot of thinking in the pool. I retreat there when I'm stuck in a scene or even to plot out the next book I intend to write. So I finished reading this particular book and thought I was disappointed. It was a strange book, kind of a mystery, lots of sadness and not one light moment in the entire novel. At the end, the mystery was rather run of the mill but it was what was happening in the background that stayed with me. So I floated about in the pool and thought about it the story. Then I thought about what the writer had intended. Of course I don't know exactly what he intended, but if it was for the reader to wonder how they would have behaved in the situation he created in his novel, it certainly worked for me.

For an extra hour of sun that my skin does not need, I imagined how my family and I could survive physically and psychologically in that fictional scenario created by the author. I'm not going to forget that novel anytime soon. It was memorable to me because I couldn't help but insert myself into one of the fictional roles. I usually don't like books that are filled with hopelessness and where every character is flawed do deeply they need professional help. So this author did a lot of things right. And while I floated in that pool, I wondered if the books I write are memorable to readers even if only for a little while.

Speaking of memorable, don't forget to check out Jeffrey Beesler's blog tour for the release of his latest novel, Optical Osmosis.

What makes a book memorable for you? Have you ever had a book stick with you even though you weren't sure you even liked it? Have you visited Jeffrey?


  1. Hosting Jeffrey Monday for his tour!
    A book I don't like won't stay with me like a movie does, but mostly because I won't finish it. I have read some that were uncomfortable and made me think, and those stuck with me.

  2. The more memorable the characters, the more memorable the book - even if I didn't love the book. If that makes sense.

  3. I love books that stay with me and the characters are like real people I don't want to lose track of. And then what is memorable to one reader is forgettable to another!

  4. If you can get me to care about the characters, I will never forget it. It's also true that some might care for a character more than others, so a book's memorability may just be dependent on the person reading it. :)

  5. I've had books stay with me long after I finished reading them, and usually it's because of the characters. I read a book a few months ago - IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch - and the characters are still hanging around in my head.

    I do a lot of my best thinking in water, too - pool, shower, bath. :)

  6. Not just books, but plays/movies too. It's a good sign when someone else's creation makes you think!

  7. The characters have to elicit an emotional response. (They also can't do really dumb things.) I need to connect or it won't matter what happens in the story.

  8. I love it when a book sticks with me. I have to identify with a character on some level.

  9. Characters stick with me the most, and then great plots and world building. There have been a few that I didn't particularly like, but I found myself thinking about long after. I think the author has done her job if the story manages to do that.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  10. I will take "don't like" to mean "ends not the way I want." Yes. Sometimes, those books stick longer. Like you, I spend MORE time trying to figure out what the writer was thinking. I really spend time with the characters to see if it could have turned out differently.

    In other news, I tagged you in this week's Thursday post. I hope you like it:)

  11. jealous of your thoughtful pool spot!
    i see what you mean, wanting to be memorable.
    characters, scenes, stories... hmm
    great post to make me think!