#SummerThrowdown: Day Three

20 Jun

An update on what I’ve been reading for the #summerthrowdown reading challenge. Gooooooo #teamteacher!

Camp by Elaine Wolf


Let us allow my above utterance to encompass the entire book. I can’t say much about it here because I have a review pending. I’ll post more on that later (I’m super excited about that though).

Seriously, I was so heartbroken. I liken it to Mean Girls meets the Auschwitz camp. O.M.G.

I started the book Monday and only got about 30 pages in before I had to stop. I spent all of last night (two and a half hours, approx) reading the last 206 pages. I could not put the book down. At times I’m not sure if it was because I liked the book so much that I had to keep reading, or because I wanted to know what happens that drove me to keep reading. That’s something I’ve been debating in my head for much of this morning and I’d like to open the floor for discussion. Allow me to state my point (note that the following does not necessarily have to do with Camp:

What exactly makes a book “good”? Sure, it’s a good book if you can’t put it down. No one ever keeps reading when it’s a bad book. What if the writing is subpar or even downright atrocious, but you want to know what happens to the character, how she resolves a particular conflict, if she makes it home alive, if she kicks that dude’s butt? (Again, not necessarily referring to Camp) So if you keep reading because you’re really invested in the character, even though the book is not well-written, is it still a good book?

What is more important to an author: praise for excellent wordsmithing or high involvement with character?

I’m leaning more towards the reader’s investment in the character. If you are so engrossed with the character and are following her every move, I believe that book is a good book. What good is a book that has amazing writing if you don’t care jack about the characters?

The reason for this post? I keep thinking that “good writing” is intrinsically linked to my ability to enjoy a book. I recently read a book in which I paused multiple times and criticized the author’s rhetorical choices, but kept reading anyway. So it would seem that I have answered my question…(I think?)

What do you think? What makes a book truly great? Which matters more – writing or character development? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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