What makes a good read??

What makes a good read??

reading 3

Reading has remained an all time favorite past time of mine. Though I love the feel of a book in my hand, I am not finicky. I would not mind an e book, a magazine or any pamphlet that I can lay my hands upon! According to me, reading has not only made me happier, but has also helped me gain friends, get a sense of belongingness with a community of book lovers (whom I can immediately relate to anywhere and everywhere), loads of information and an increase in self worth. Apart from this, as I am a psychiatrist by profession, it has helped me enormously in building a rapport with clients of various age groups and different mental make ups.

Till quite recently, my taste in reading was based on the weekly bookseller lists available on the internet, supplements of newspapers or what others rapturously mentioned on facebook! Lack of good bookstores in the town which I live in, would make me buy books which were totally unappealing, but sounded great on the back cover, when I went to Bangalore. And then, there was this problem of being branded. The choice I made would be based on the author I had heard a lot of intelligent and well read people quote. I did want to be in the elite group of the well read, and spout book and author names which I had difficulty in pronouncing.

reading 2

Needless to say, I had to struggle through a few books waiting for things to end as fast as possible, and even in the end, would not know what the book was all about. Why would I not stop in between?? Partly because I was too proud to admit I did not understand and partly because I would keep feeling that I may understand somewhere along the way and grow a taste for it. Like cheese, which tasted vile to begin with and then gradually tasting better.

After some years of doing this, I finally came to the question – what decides that a book was good?? Was it the level of complexity, was it the fact that at the end, much was left to your imagination, or something which made things stir inside of you- in a good way or bad! Something, which after reading,  would make you more stimulated, happy or disturbed enough to want to change something!

Case in point, some books which have gained a lot of attention but failed to impress me in the least are – Ayn Rand’s books—which took me a while to read, but left me confused. What was it all about? This is the first time that I am confidently quoting that I did not understand the profoundness of writing in those books. Haruki Murakami’s books. They cost dearly, but were quite difficult to be pleased with. Another example would be the Lord of the Ring series. Too long, tiny print and all the patience in the world(which sadly I lack).

On the other hand, there were also several  books that I really enjoyed reading, but were considered condescending by the true blue book readers, writers and critics alike. Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat, Anuja Chauhan and Preethi Shenoy fell into this category. After a gruelling day at work, these were fast reads and gave me a sense of joie de vivre after which I could tackle another hard day.

I got the courage finally to write about my feelings only because I recently read an article from the New Yorker(apparently a hi fi newspaper) comparing E.L James of the fifty shades of grey fame and Haruki Marukami. And how there were a lot of people who did not understand Marukami. I finally felt normal. And read about Chetan Bhagat’s book sales. More normal.

To end with, I feel I have made accepted that the fact that I am really not one to read complex situations and unfinished endings. Books to me are friends. Some very close, and some others whom I talk with but do not really relate to. I take good reads to mean a good fit. The first few pages should make me want to never keep the book down, make me want to still time, and something which invigorates me. I have learnt never to judge a book by the cover. The style of writing, the pace and the content are what makes me hooked and that is my good read.

Do you agree?

5 thoughts on “What makes a good read??

  1. Sin October 22, 2014 / 12:06 pm

    I agree with you on a lot of your points, although I am a huge Murakami fan and I find myself feeling annoyed with Chetan Bhagat. (I never judge him without reading his books. I have read every single one of his books except the newest one. I just feel like his books lack a depth and character development which are very important to me.)
    The thing is, I am a student which gives me a lot of time to read. Maybe I will find myself turning more and more to light reads as I become busy with my career and come home exhausted everyday.
    What I need is a healthy balance of light reads and heavy reads, though of course Murakami isn’t for everybody, as he uses magical realism which is quite mind-fucking, though I do enjoy that. (Pardon my French)
    Somebody like Hemingway would be classified as a heavy read, I guess, but his writing is easy to zip through. I really loved For Whom the Bell Tolls by him. Do give it a read if you get time. 🙂


    • preethishanbhag October 23, 2014 / 4:04 am

      you are right.With Chetan Bhagat,as you rightly pointed out, after reading the whole book, I feel as though some eseential ingredient is missing from the dish- its right, but not quite so type.I will go with your suggestion and try Hemmingway and get back to you. Till then,:))


      • Sin October 23, 2014 / 4:35 am

        It was nice talking to you. 🙂 I hope you like Hemingway.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah Serfozo December 9, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    I would like to use the photo of the woman reading (from this post) – is it your own, and would you give me permission to use it on a flyer and bookmarks to publicize our public library bookclub? If not your own, can you tell me where you found it so that I can contact the owner for permission to use? Thank you!


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