What makes a book better than another?

I haven’t read too many breathless books in my life. That’s because I have a very high standard when it comes to the quality of a book. I always expect the unexpected from it, something that lets me perplexed or meditating at the end. Or the reverse. If the ending is not a shock, at least bring me an amazing adventure and breathless moments during the story.

I don’t need 15 years old teenage lovers committing suicide and I don’t want to read a whole book about how you make a soup and how you ridiculously describe every vegetable you throw in it.

Unless that soup is the key of the story and a revolutionary potion or machine gets out of there.

Seriously now, don’t write about ordinary people living their ordinary lives without doing something mind-blowing with them at the end.

Okay, let’s get back to the point. The point is that I don’t really know what to read anymore. This year was mediocre and still no book can beat “Papillon” by Henri Charriere. A life of an innocent man who has exceeded his limits trying to escape so many times from the numerous prisons he was convicted to live in for life. Amazing suspense, tricks, and bright minds.

What’s this year’s pulse so far?

I’m not talking here about the books released this year, it’s just a top of books I’ve read during this year. Some of them were great, others good, and others… well… I could have skipped reading them.

  • Amphibian-man by Alexander Belyaev. A good book overall, the Russian surely had a convincing imagination and came with a great script. The book had a handful of suspense moments, aroused my curiosity as much as the story went further, and amazingly described the oceanic world, with all its wonders and ingenious creatures. The story is short, you will enjoy it.
  • Muertos incomodos (The uncomfortable dead) by “El subcomandante Marcos” and Paco Ignacio Taibo. This is an easy-to-read book with great humorous passages about the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the strikes that took place in Mexico City about 10 years ago. The story has nothing strong from a historical perspective but comes with delicious humor from time to time. Had a great time reading it.
  • Cujo by Stephen King. Suspense at its best. Nothing surprisingly here, I just said it was written by Stephen King. This guy is the master of thrilling and scary stories and he surely knows a lot about the human psychology. You’re just a toy in his hands. In this case, in his writings. He’s twisting your mind the way he wants.
  • The 13th juror by John Lescroart. A good book overall, which had a complex story about everything happens in a courtroom and how a difficult and apparently without salvation case can be treated and planned by a smart and rational lawyer. A little bit too long, I’d say, but in the end it was worth it. Good read.
  • The currents of space by Isaac Asimov. One of the fathers of science-fiction. This book is the 3rd of the “Empire” series and takes you to another dimension and level of imagination. Seriously, this guy is amazing. And there’s no joke, the future next generations will surely live exactly what he says in his books. Asimov is one of these writers whose books I will never refuse to read. And yes, he has mind-blowing endings. His stories have both a great journey and an amazing destination.

These are only the good books I’ve read this year. Let’s talk (just) a bit about the bad ones.

Not all the books amaze you

You can’t just have it all. Due to a big lack of inspiration, I bought some books that looked promising in the beginning. But aren’t all the movies interesting if you judge them by their trailers? These books’ short presentation looked interesting, but they were all a disaster. I’ll just list two, which really made me lose my time doing nothing. Nothing productive of enjoyable.

  • A week in December by Sebastian Faulks. Never try this at home! Or anywhere else. It’s boring from the beginning to the very last page. All that happens in this book is absolutely nothing. We have a couple of people having various jobs and all that Faulks could do with them was to just describe their very boring and miserable lives. No ups, no downs. The story had a straight line until the end: wake up, go to work, do silly things at work, come back home, play computer games and sleep. Or something like this. It had a big potential, that’s why I took it in the first place, it looked like something massive was going to happen to these people together. But no. The author decided not to complicate the things THAT much.
  • They do it with mirrors by Agatha Christie. I was never attracted by Agatha Christie’s books because their stories never sounded like something I’d like. This is the first I took and I still don’t know why. I thought that I should break the no-Christie rule and try something. Well, not as boring as Faulks’ so-called story but still nothing great. It was just a shallow novel about a murder, which put the obvious as the end.
  • Darkly dreaming by Jeff Lindsay. I bet you’ve heard about the famous TV series called Dexter. Well, this is the book the series is based on. And I think that, for the first time in my life, I must admit that a movie is way better than the book. Of course, Dexter was a TV series, but still. The book looked shallow and couldn’t cross the barrier to the reader’s mind and heart. Just like the movie did. Dexter series is one of my favorites ever, still give me chills when I watch again. The book left me as cold as the main character.

Lord of the flies keeps me busy right now

I’ve heard so many times about how great Lord of the flies is. And I thought I should give it a try. It’s not so bad, I read more than a half, but I’m still waiting for something memorable to happen. For now, it’s nothing more than a mediocre book.

I don’t know why, but I feel like something terrible is going to happen here. I hope I’m right. Otherwise, the disappointment will be too big.

After this one, I’m getting ready for Dean Koontz. Hope this guy will make things right and get in front of the others.

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