10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read: Lots of people love reading, but few know how to analyze and understand a book in its truest sense. Here is a list of ten things you should always be on the lookout for while reading and trying to understand a literary text. These are the elements of fiction, and they are the tools a writer possesses in order to make his or her miracles work. Understanding and deconstructing these helps understand a work holistically.

Continuity of Plot

A good book always has a continuity of plot. It doesn’t seem like a series of detached episodes strung together but a whole, holistic story in itself. This means that some things that happen in the beginning or middle have a connection to the end and vice versa. Similarly, this manifests itself in the form of loose strands that get tied together at the end. Foreshadowing is a great marker of continuity of the plot, which gives it cohesion.


The pace of a book is utterly important in that it sets the mood and tone of the story. Now, the pace greatly depends on the genre of the book. For thrillers and mysteries, a fast pace usually works well. On the other hand, in character-driven literary fiction, paces are slower. It’s important to remember that the pace feels fast when a lot of things happen at once. When there are long stretches of reflection where not much happens, the pace is slow.

10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read
10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read

Character Development

One of the main markers of a great book is how attached the reader becomes to the characters of the book. For instance, don’t you feel like Harry, Ron and Hermione are your real friends? Haven’t you cried when Dumbledore or Dobby died? Didn’t you rejoice in Harry’s victory at the end? This is because J. K. Rowling creates masterful characters, with flaws, strengths and unique characters. You automatically empathize with them.

Dialogue Delivery

The dialogue of a book may not seem that important at first, but it is through this that we get to know the interior lives of the characters. If the characters speak long, winding, eloquent sentences that people don’t speak in real life, the scene probably falls flat and you feel disconnected. On the other hand, if the characters speak too colloquially, you might just get bored and feel that the writing is terrible. It all depends on dialogue delivery.

Thematic Success

Every novel sets out to do something. In order to do it, it makes use of thematic elements or the core ideas and questions represented in the book. Themes could be general like love, loss or grief or more specific like cultural appropriation or a specific war. Whatever the themes are, whether the book makes you think about them demonstrates how successful they are. If you ponder them or debate them with someone, it’s a good book indeed.

10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read
10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read

Suitability of Language

Every writer has a particular way of writing that depends upon his or her creativity. This could either be heavy, flowery writing or lilting, lyrical writing. It could be a matter of fact or it could be jargonized. Whatever the case is, it should serve the purpose of the story. If you feel that the language has succeeded in conveying the point of the book and that you feel what the author intends for you to feel, a book succeeds.

Immersion in the story

The classic way to tell if a book is really good is to see whether you’re immersed in it. A truly good book will make you snap out of your critic’s mindset and envelope you entirely. You will feel so engrossed in the plot and its happenings that there will be no time left t to analyze it harshly. If your book makes you abandon your instinct to be objective and passive, you can be sure that it is a truly good book.

Perspective and Voice

The perspective the author chooses to tell the story in – first, second or third makes a difference. Depending on what the author chooses, the reader gets access to the whole reality, the partial reality or no reality of the story. Plus, it determines how a reader gets attached to the character. As for voice, every author has a distinct one. And it is the uniqueness of this voice that determines the goodness of the book.

10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read
10 Things to Keep in Mind While Analyzing a Book You Read

Setting of the Story

The setting of the story comprises not just the place and time it takes place but also the historical, social, political, economic and other contexts. This setting dictates the mood and tone of the book, as well as the language and pace. Paying close attention to the setting reveals its effect on the book’s perception. A haunted setting makes you scared, a historical setting makes you curious, a grey setting is boring while a natural setting makes you calm.

Allusions and Symbolisms

A good writer always layers his stories with deeper meanings. So look into the book for hidden meanings. The allusions could be historical, allegorical, biblical or otherwise. Symbolisms, too, could take the shape of colours, motifs, words, recurring objects or otherwise. Whatever it is, it conveys a special meaning and adds to the colour of the work of art. Thus appreciation of this as a critic is very fulfilling.

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