What makes a GREAT book?
I was asked this recently.
My answer: When the world and characters of that book invade my dreams.
I know that there are a lot of answers to this question, like…
Great characters that I can relate to.
One that makes me cry.
A plot that surprises or shocks.
All good answers, and a great book would probably need all of these things, but when I’m reading a book, and those characters come to life in my dreams, I know I’m reading a great book.
The book (books, rather, all 15 of them) that this is most true for me is The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan [& Brandon Sanderson]). I love these books. I first read ‘The Eye of the World’ when I was about 14, and quickly went on to read the remaining books available, which at the time only took me to book 8, I think. As each subsequent books was released, I’d re-read all the proceeding books in preparation. That wasn’t just because I love the books – it was something of a necessity, as these are very complex books with more plot threads than I would have thought it possible to keep a track of. I love the plot, I love the range of characters, the rich and complex world they exist in. But most of all, I love that when I read these books, these very long books that consume the mind, my dreams also take place in the world that Robert Jordan created. While I sleep, I become the characters and face the same terrible challenges and choices that these characters have to deal with. I love it, and these are the first books that come to mind when I am questioned about truly GREAT books.
So, to you, ‘What makes a GREAT book?’
I’d love to hear your answers.