Besides writing and editing, I spend a lot of time reading.
I review novels for Suspense Magazine, and just finished judging books for a contest put on by Oklahoma Romance Writers. I also try to read books that I choose myself, just for enjoyment.
What makes a good book? For me, a good book is one with heart. Many of the books I review are not ones that I would pick up on my own. I recently reviewed Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder. A theme in this book is auto racing, not anything I know or care about. But the book has heart. It is well-written with enough complexity to keep a reader totally involved.
Another one I read was The Comet by Miriam Newman. Set in England at the time of the Norman Conquest, this is one I would have grabbed off the shelf, since I love British history. I was not disappointed. Newman tells a romantic story filled with enough historical details to keep the most dedicated history buff happy. And the story has heart. It is not just the romance between the Norman knight and the Saxon woman, but the story pulls you into the heart of a suffering land, and the suffering of a people who have been conquered by invaders.
What do you think makes a good book? What are some authors or titles that have drawn you in?