You know what I'm talking about.
You're lying on bed, after shimmying yourself into that pair of jeans, and sucking everything in. Your back is pressed tightly against the mattress, your stomach could rival the poster of a supermodel's, and you're not breathing.
Because of one little button.
You push and squeeze; you close your eyes and pray.
Pray for that button to slip in, to lock, so that you can sashay your butt out of your house and go on your merry way.
And then the moment arrives. You've managed to secure that damn, bloody button. You stand up, feeling triumphant, like a queen, a siren, a goddess.
Then you look in the mirror.
The jeans don't look good. They're tight... they don't fit... and well, they bring back the 1980s fashion in a bad way.
So, how does this relate to writing? How does this relate to reading?
You get a book. Supposedly a really good book--one that your friends have raved about, one that critics have raved about, hell, even one that Mrs. Giggles has raved about. And well, you've been waiting for this book because maybe it's the start of a new series, the end, or just it's the author you heart to death.
But you read the book.
And suddenly it feels like those pair of jeans.
Because no matter how you're reading and squeezing and hoping that you'll find a glimpse--a scene, a sentence, hell, even a period to like the book.
While you can force yourself to try and make the book fit... trying to make you like the book, you just can't.
So what makes us love certain books, like others, and hate the rest?
What makes one friend love one book and the other look at her like she's become Medusa?
Is reading totally subjective?
Or is there a core of stories we're all ingrained with? I think of the highly popular and much loved Lisa Kleypas and her recent release, Blue-Eyed Devil. Everyone who I've come across on blogdom has pretty much kow-towed to this awesome book.
Because in a word, it's awesome.
So what does Lisa Kleypas have that others don't--or merely what does she do that make those jeans fit? Let's just say that she does everything that a great writer should do in her book. She has characters you care about, she has conflict that is tension-filled, and her writing is flawless.
Yes, it's true... we, as readers, come across books like Lisa Kleypas but mostly, we don't. And if we're writing, we hope to have those books that are more of Lisa's ilk than... well, I won't name names.
But basically, what makes a good book "good?"