Friday, June 21

What do you want in a book? by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

I was thinking, as I was sitting here with very little to say, about what I like in a book. Always. Even though I like all kinds of books, there are certain things I always want. I mentioned tenderness in a post once while back as a common thread that ran through all the stories I loved.

There are more.

I love when a book is smart, when I have to look up some words and reread some paragraphs because the way the author has turned her phrases is nothing short of genius. When I learn something beyond just entertainment. Not that entertainment isn't enough, but I learned about seasonal affective disorder from a romance novel by Jackie Weger called Best Behavior. I learned about American history by reading Americana historicals (still my favorites)--not only about the history but about living in a time and place that fascinated me. I've learned about wine from Nan's books (and from traveling with her 😊), about diversity from Kristi and her books, about the Amish Culture from Marta Perry and many others. About orphan trains, Harvey Girls, and boarding houses.

I always want to travel in a book. It doesn't have to be far--the Limberlost is less than an hour from where I live, and I loved going there with Gene Stratton-Porter. I've been to Bennett's Island with Elisabeth Ogilvie (the island is fictitious, but based on a real one off the coast of Maine), the Pacific Northwest with Muriel Jensen and our own Margie Senechal, and to the Mesabi Range with Kathleen Gilles Seidel. I've visited Regency England with Mary Balogh, Wales (and numerous other places) with Carla Kelly, and Scotland and Ireland with any number of writers.

Emotion. I'll say it again, because it's what I want most, and I don't always want it in the moment. I know backstory is a bad words to many editors and readers, but I love reading it--it's how the heroine got where she is. It's why she cries over commercials but not at funerals, why her prom dress is still hanging in the back of the closet in plastic with the price tag still on it, why there's a newborn outfit in her bottom drawer but she doesn't have any children.

I'm late, so I'll get this posted. If there are errors, it's's late. I have edits to do. And writing. And later, reading. Where I'll learn about something, travel somewhere. Maybe cry a little.

Have a great day.


  1. I want those things, too, Liz, and to be taken away. To forget, for a little bit, that I'm sitting in my favorite chair in my house. I want to be *there*, wherever there is.

    1. I love many of those things, too, Liz. But emotion trumps all for me. I want to feel something when I read, and I want readers to feel something when they read one of my books. I don't know if I always achieve that goal, but it's always what I'm working toward.

    2. Me, too, Jana. If I can't have anything else when I'm reading, sometimes emotion is enough.