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Author Topic: Perfect Books  (Read 1046 times)

Offline isos81

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Perfect Books
« on: August 07, 2019, 11:08:36 AM »
I sometimes read phrases such as "nigh perfect", "near perfect". So, I wonder what is the definition of a perfect book? What are the perfect books you read?


Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline Matthew

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 11:13:26 AM »
Not found one yet.

Don't get me wrong, there are a whole load that are nigh perfect, but not one that could qualify as perfection.

Offline isos81

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 11:28:19 AM »
Not found one yet.

Don't get me wrong, there are a whole load that are nigh perfect, but not one that could qualify as perfection.

Can you tell me which ones are nigh perfect and why do you classify them as so?
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline Matthew

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2019, 11:43:45 AM »
I'm a huge Pratchett fan for one. He had characterisation down to an art, everyone with their own voice. The plots were almost always excellent (to the point where they were successful even after the very English humour was translated into all the different languages). The world building across dozens of books was fantastic. I do tend to take the work as a whole though, rather than individual reads.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is one of my top choices. I have, more than once, picked up the physical book (that I bought after having it on both ereader and audiobook), turned to a random page and not put it down until I had to eat. It seems to be a very love or hate book for most people, I think the words just flow so well and it transports you to a totally believable alt history. I'm a sucker for mysterious magic too, the folksy stuff.

The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia are far from perfectly written, but they are close to perfect in their weight class, light and action packed with a well developed arc. Fun reads.

It all depends what 'type' of read I'm in the mood for really...

Offline Elfy

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2019, 12:05:50 PM »
John Eales (Australian rugby captain) at one point had the nickname of Nobody, because nobody is perfect. Perfection in a book is almost near impossible to attain. The closest I’ve read is The Lies of Locke Lamora, Tad Williams The War of the Flowers had a good go at, as does nearly everything written by the incomparable Catherynne L. Valente, most recently Space Opera.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline eclipse

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2019, 12:21:42 PM »
I sometimes read phrases such as "nigh perfect", "near perfect". So, I wonder what is the definition of a perfect book? What are the perfect books you read?

The ones where I had a blast reading the story

Any book I give five stars too.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2019, 12:56:43 PM »
I sometimes read phrases such as "nigh perfect", "near perfect". So, I wonder what is the definition of a perfect book? What are the perfect books you read?

The ones where I had a blast reading the story

Any book I give five stars too.
This.

And of course, a "perfect book" when I read it in month X might not necessarily be perfect if I re-read it a few years later... it all depends on how it fits my mood and disposition and life situation at the time, too.
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Online Peat

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 01:04:35 PM »
For me, perfect - or nigh-perfect - means that for the duration of me reading the book, I'm pretty much only thinking about reading the book and how much I'm enjoying it.
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Offline S. K. Inkslinger

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2019, 04:02:37 PM »
Anything on my favorite shelf and what I've given 5 stars too. And well, I'm speechless. Pretty much what everyone here had said already.

Offline Neveesandeh

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 12:35:27 AM »
My opinion is that the 'perfect book' is like an asymptote on a graph. The better a book is, the closer it will be to it, but it can never really reach it.

There's only one book I remember thinking was perfect, 'Monsters of Men' by Patrick Ness, but I read that when I was a teengaer and I wasn't that hard to impress.

Offline cupiscent

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Re: Perfect Books
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 01:44:21 AM »
I feel called out by that inclusion of "nigh", so I guess I'd better respond. :D

I'm going to start by saying that for me to give a book five stars, it needs to perform well in three areas: I have to enjoy it while I'm reading it (this usually, but not always, means it does things with language that make it a delight to read on a line-by-line level); it has to be very satisfying to have read / as a whole package (this usually means doing well at arc resolution for plot and characters); and it has to have hit me emotionally (which usually relates to resonance / emotional arcs).

Not every book that I give five stars to is one I'm going to talk about as "nigh perfect". Usually, books I talk about like that are ones that I've enjoyed so much that I've gone back and re-read them with a keen eye for how the writer is achieving all that stuff, and having examined the craft behind the story, I am even more impressed.

Perfection is always going to be a subjective thing.
Spoiler for me blathering about Lies of Locke Lamora:
Lies of Locke Lamora is the book I most often apply the label to, and while I think it's a masterpiece of character, plot, pacing (GOSH the pacing), worldbuilding and magnificent prose, there are heaps of one-star reviews on GoodReads that hate each of those aspects. But for me, tLoLL is nearly perfect because it gives us complex character, entwined in intriguing relationships, with a plot that grabs fast and cranks up regularly and ruthlessly until it is at absolute fever pitch. It absolutely revels in delightful language use, including humour and juxtaposition of the polysyllabic and profane, and it has a luxuriantly detailed world.

I call it "nigh" perfect because of a couple of little niggles that Scott Lynch himself recognises as weaknesses: treatment of Sabetha and overall inclusion of ladies (it's not as bad as some, and he does great work on this in later books in the series), and some discrepancies in structuring the later backstory-interludes that make it not quite as taut as it could be. These are pretty small niggles.
Thinking about other books I might apply the label to... well, Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay is a magnificent book on all the same bases, though probably the work of his I admire most on a craft level is A Song for Arbonne (it's so theatrical in the blocking! it does so much through reference and allusion!) but the first time I tried to read it I didn't even make it through the prologue. I'm not sure I'd call either of them perfect. And NK Jemisin's The Fifth Season is an astonishing and inventive book, but would I say "this is perfect"? I don't know. But still, I'm not sure I could come up with ways it could be better.