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Topic: What makes a book a gem?

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Subject: What makes a book a gem?
Date Posted: 6/14/2008 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I've just recently finished a book that goes with the handful of books that count as true gems.  If I'm lucky I usually add about 2 or 3 books a year to this pile.  The book was Boomsday by Christopher Buckley.  As I continued thinking about this book I realized it meets the same basic 5 criteria that all my "gem" books have met, which are...

  1. You're still thinking about the book 10 days after finishing it
  2. You wish you hadn't finished it so you could still be reading it
  3. You wish you could meet and talk to the author 
  4. You wish you could meet and talk to the characters
  5. You start casting the movie version of the book in your head

How do these compare with your criteria?  What books have you added to your hoarde of gems lately? 

Date Posted: 6/14/2008 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,196
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Oh, Vanessa, I used to feel like this a lot after reading something.  You really hit the nail on the head with your list, but especially You wish you could meet and talk to the characters.

But then, You wish you hadn't finished it so you could still be reading it...

Nice post.

Date Posted: 6/15/2008 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2008
Posts: 9,474
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A gem is a book I own and wouldn't think of posting.

If i talk about it alot--it'a a gem.

In the first criteria is THE POISENWOOD BIBLE

In the second criteria is THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN. It is about Gander, Newfoundland, where hundreds of planes were diverted on September 11th. A small town rises to the occasion of feeding, housing, communicating, etc. all the people that suddenly 'show up on their doorstep.' It is well worth tracking it down and reading.

Clara W.

Date Posted: 6/15/2008 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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What is so interesting is that what is a gem to one person may not be a gem to someone else! 

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 67
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I agree that you are LUCKY to find one or two gems a year if you are a fairly prolific reader, which is why most of the books I discuss on here are books I read years ago.  My only gem for 2008 so far....Blindness by Jose Saramago - couldn't get it out of my head for days, and I still think about it sometimes, and probably will forever.  I'm guessing I have maybe forty of those books for all-time.

Karen B. - ,
Subject: My gems
Date Posted: 6/17/2008 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2007
Posts: 32
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My gems are the books I have to keep forever - and if I've read it in paperback I often look for a beautiful hardcover edition to replace it - but I pick up extra copies to give to my reading friends.

All of Jane Austen's novels are on that list; some Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls is my favorite); pretty much anything by Connie Willis and Neil Gaiman; The Color Purple; and a big, fat unabridged collection of Shakespeare from my college days.  There are a bunch more, but I have to edit or you all will be bored to tears!