What Makes a Book “Unputdownable”?

Today I want to know the good. Tomorrow will look at the opposite end of the scale. So, what elements of a book make it so you don’t want to put that book down? We all read for a variety of reasons, some of which have a bigger draw for us than others. Is it character, plot, setting, voice? Of course when all of these elements are done well, it’s very hard to say no to a book. Often though, it is one of these things that clearly shines over others. Authors have their strengths and weaknesses. Some may craft superior villains, while others write amazingly hot sex scenes.

For me, it’s voice. The author’s voice has to hit the right note in me to make the book unputdownable. Usually I can tell within a page or two if it’s going to do that. The last book I had this happen for was Tana French’s “In the Woods.” She could have written about making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I would have been captivated. So, what is it for you?

Tomorrow we’ll see what makes some books “throwagainstthewallable.”

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6 responses to “What Makes a Book “Unputdownable”?

  1. Books that are unputdownable for me, have a good voice as the others have said, but they also have characters that i care about, and lately some humour mixed in, even if it’s dark humour. I especially love books that make everything seem real and make it possible for me to feel like I am part of the story.

  2. Tension. It’s tension that will grab you by the throat and make you read until you feel comfortable again. Happened to me while reading “In Cold Blood”. Ended up reading it in 30 hours.

  3. Okay, so fiction itself is “making shiz up”…and spec fiction even more so. But what really endears me is when the author makes their spec sound somewhat scientific, and therefore more realistic. I can suspend disbelief, but only so far, so make me believe and I’ll respect you all the more for it 🙂

  4. I think the biggest draw is certainly a combination of character, plot, setting and voice, to one degree or another. And I prefer writers that don’t make me notice something like that. A magical book I think combines all the elements.

  5. Voice won’t hold me for longer than about 10 pages. After that, I need an engaging plot, a sense that things are escalating and that I’m interested in finding out what happens.

  6. if i buy a book via bookstore, it’s because of the voice. it pulls me in. the characters keep me there. you can have an awesome voice, but if the characters are unbelievable or inaccessible, it’s a turn-off for me. I have started to read several books because i liked the style and the voice, but the characters didn’t do it for me, so i ultimately put the book down.