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message 1: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyjm) | 310 comments I am curious. what aspects of a book make it fun for you folks? For me, it can be a number of things, humor, a sympathetic character or characters. In some cases, an especially interesting situation although for me most of the interest and fun lies in characters. I am really curious about this, because it is so clear to me that tastes vary so much.


message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Thats a really good question. For me its a couple of things. Good characterisation, I mean I have like the guy, or gal, then the situation. My favorite book this year Anatham had that. Really good character, then the situation. Presently I am reading Elric, but Elric is a hard to guy to like, most of his modivation is revenge or personal enrichment, it was hard to read because most of the good he does is not on purpose


message 3: by Charles (new)

Charles (charliewhip) | 141 comments Several things for me. I would say believable, evolving characters, a good story with lots of mysteries and surprises, and a painstakingly constructed world with systems that are credible yet truly different from earth. Then there is the emotional payoff at the right point in the story -- but that depends on the other atuff.


message 4: by Jan (new)

Jan (janoda) Besides the obvious like good world building and non-flat characters, I think what really does it for me are character relationships and their emotional impact. Stories where a character has to beat the big evil,or solve a quest and so on, don't often do it for me, because the focus is on the quest instead of the characters.

For example I love Lord of the Rings, but I actually prefer the Silmarillion, because so much of those tales are driven by the relationship characters have with each other


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I often sit there and wonder, when I'm reading a book that I'm ho-hum about, what it's lacking. When I read similar types of books - why do some capture my attention, and others fall flat?

As many have said, character plays a bit part. I have to like and/or relate to the characters - or, failing that, they have to at least be interesting or intriguing. Characters and their relationships. I want a story to make me feel something.

For me, I also like some action and suspense. It goes along with characters because I have to care about what happens to the characters for the action or suspense to really capture me, otherwise I may be interested in the outcome of a story in a general sense, but not really caught up in it.

Also, I like the world and the ambience, but, again, it's how that world and the ambience effects the characters and characterizations.

Jan wrote: "Besides the obvious like good world building and non-flat characters, I think what really does it for me are character relationships and their emotional impact. Stories where a character has to beat the big evil,or solve a quest and so on, don't often do it for me, because the focus is on the quest instead of the characters."

I think this is one reason why I love Harry Potter. It deals with beating the big eviling and solving the quest, but the focus is still very much on the characters and their development and growth and relationships. Of course, this also might be why I prefer some of the earlier stories to the latter ones, as the focus started shifting a bit.


message 6: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (last edited Aug 30, 2010 06:58AM) (new)

Kathi | 3085 comments Mod
First off, there's a difference for me between "fun" and "satisfying". The Harry Potter books, or Pratchett's books, are both fun and satisfying, whereas GG Kay's books, for example, are satisfying but not usually fun. Ditto for what I've read so far of Janny's books (although The Curse of the Mistwraith is my first book by her). I guess a fun book has that element of humor and a satisfying book doesn't need that, but they both should have characters with whom I can get involved, enough action to actually tell a story, an interesting world, and ideas that I think about even when I'm not actively reading the book (although that last bit is more important in a satisfying book than a fun book).

Ken wrote: "Elric is a hard to guy to like..."
That's one reason I stopped reading the books about him.


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine | 593 comments As I read these comments, I think about The Hunger Games which I read after joining this group; I definitely cared about the characters and the world in which they live. I'm thinking this isn't about "fun humor" as much as it is about enjoying reading a particular book ...say the "can't put it down" kind of story.


message 8: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2120 comments Mod
Kathi wrote: "First off, there's a difference for me between "fun" and "satisfying". The Harry Potter books, or Pratchett's books, are both fun and satisfying, whereas GG Kay's books, for example, are satisfyin..."

Kathi, I totally agree, and I like the way you put it. Some of my favorite books are satisfying but not fun - Kay's books, and Janny's books, like you mentioned - Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos are another example. Some are both. I also have some favorite comfort reads that are fun without substance -- Mercedes Lackey comes to mind, or David Eddings. There's nothing to them, but they're entertaining.

So what makes a book 'fun' to me, I guess, are characters that I enjoy spending time with, worlds that are interesting, and plots that end relatively happily (not that there can't be dark moments - the Harry Potter books are fun without being all sweetness & light all the time).


message 9: by Christine (new)

Christine | 593 comments Shel wrote: "Kathi wrote: "First off, there's a difference for me between "fun" and "satisfying". The Harry Potter books, or Pratchett's books, are both fun and satisfying, whereas GG Kay's books, for example,..."

Another series I would say is fun and satisfying is Anne McCaffrey's Dragon books; I've reread some of those just for fun


message 10: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Lewis (josephrobertlewis) Kathi wrote: "First off, there's a difference for me between "fun" and "satisfying". The Harry Potter books, or Pratchett's books, are both fun and satisfying, whereas GG Kay's books, for example, are satisfyin..."

Agreed. When I want "fun" I usually look for a movie where I'm more likely to laugh or at least relax my brain. A satisfying book is usually somewhat challenging, something deep and complex and personal.


message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments I was assuming Fun meant just a good book that brings you on an adventure and/or journey whether its metaphysical or actual.


message 12: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyjm) | 310 comments Ken wrote: "I was assuming Fun meant just a good book that brings you on an adventure and/or journey whether its metaphysical or actual."

I just meant worth reading and not all work. For me, most of the time the process is enjoyable not just some payoff at the end. Reading is fun, worthwhile, intrinsically for me usually.


message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Thats what I was thinking, The last Fun book I read, Anatham, A total pleasure to read from Start to finish. I can also add in Michelle West, Robert J. Sawyer, William Gibson. I have yet to read a dud by these folks


message 14: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3085 comments Mod
Obviously, defining a "fun" book or a "fun" read is like defining a "good" book--very subjective. I enjoy all the perspectives.

In my mind, "fun" is too light to describe many of the books I've really enjoyed. I like Ken's description of "a total pleasure to read" as encompassing that enjoyment and satisfaction.


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