Not because they’re written by a man or a woman,
Or by a non-white or a person of a particular ethnic group,
Or written by someone from a specific country … or not THAT SAME country, yet again.
Or because someone else has told us that we MUST read it, or it has won a big award. (Awards are not always the best indicator of the quality of the writing.)
Why not read a book that’s from a different genre than you usually read?
Or non-fiction instead of fiction (or vice versa), poetry instead of memoir, children’s books (to recapture your childhood!) instead of academic and scholarly.
Or how about choosing a book with a different setting, one you’re not familiar with, or possibly a setting that doesn’t exist in this world at all?
Or read a book about people and events you don’t relate to in your life, but instead one that introduces you to new experiences and new people, new possibilities.
Leave your comfort zone behind … Read dangerously!
Don’t read a book because you’re told it’s the next Gone Girl or Girl on a Train. Harry Potter or Twilight.
(You do realize that these are marketing ploys dreamed up by publishers to encourage more sales, right? That’s what bestseller lists are all about. Or “If you liked this then you will like that …” all to convince you to try something you may not have otherwise picked up, simply because it compares favourably to something you’ve already enjoyed.)
Why not read a book BECAUSE it’s unique, it’s different from what you normally read, and is written by a new-to-you author?
What’s so wrong, or scary, about that?
I’m suggesting you reconsider your criteria for choosing what to read next and go with a book you have heard is simply well-written instead of for the reasons listed above.
Perhaps you’ve heard that the author has told the story well (fiction) or has handled the material in an expert manner (non-fiction) so the book is convincing and a pleasure to anyone who may read it.
And that the book is well-written regardless of who may have written it – no matter what their background, how many bestsellers they’ve published, or their writing experience.
If you only read traditionally published books, read a book written and published by an indie author. If you only read print books, read an eBook. Mix things up a bit. Discover something new!
When we judge a book by the quality of its writing, we are giving that author their due. We are giving them credit for all their hard work in mastering their craft of writing, because they’ve managed to use that craft to entertain, enlighten, and possibly even educate us in a way we might never have realized was available to us before as readers. That book has opened new doors and convinced us of more that can be available, if we just open our minds to the possibilities.
As for where you may find these well-written books … The more you read and and the further afield you explore what’s available to be read, the better you will recognize what is good writing – for you! What YOU consider to be a well-written book. Because, in the end, it really is up to you, the reader, to decide.
If, after you begin reading, you realize the book is not as well written as you hoped, give yourself permission to set it aside, knowing that at least you gave it a try.
But always be adventurous! Check out some of the books I’ve recommended on my other blog, Reading Recommendations. Read some of the books that the authors I’ve promoted on the site have in turn recommended. Talk with your local librarians and other readers you trust.
Eventually you will become the best judge of what is a good book FOR YOU.
And now, please excuse me while I go back to reading a few well-written books!
(This rant was brought to you by my having read yet-another article “telling” readers that we MUST read more books written by this particular group of writers [insert nationality, ethnic group, gender here] … with no suggestion in the article at all about the quality of their writing being a factor. Harrumpf!)