We often wonder why certain books got fame and certain books did not? Or why is it always that we get to comprehend the value of a writer after their death? Why do we still rely on and read Aristotle? So, what is it exactly that makes a book worth reading or considering as a best-seller? Today we will see what makes a good book and the reasons behind popularity of certain books.

It is no surprise that no good book ever goes unnoticed, perhaps after five years or perhaps after five hundred years, a good book will always receive its popularity and the recognition it deserves. Shakespeare died in the year 1616, and there is scarcely any human over 16 who have not heard of him in this century. Aristotle died in 322 BC but we are well aware of his name, there is hardly any subject in this universe where there is no sign of Aristotle – he is in philosophy, literature, mathematics, geography and, whatnot. The popularity of certain books depends on various things – it can be the century it was written in, it can be the revolutionary writing style, the political scenario, and many such things. So, let’s start with antiquity.

If we start from the era of epic – the time when the Iliad was written by the great Homer, around 750 B.C. The epic is still popular and will always remain popular because it not only speaks about emperors and princes; it talks about the struggle and fight of men for power and dominance, which will never get old. Humans will always battle for dominance, either wealth or power. If we wonder about Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) politicians, novelists, poets, philosophers, and scholars still rely on him because of certain principles and notions he has mentioned about the universe and human beings that were present and followed and during his era – and to judge the present we must be aware of the history.

What Makes a Good Book | Reasons Behind Popularity of Certain Books
What Makes a Good Book | Reasons Behind Popularity of Certain Books

Then comes the period of Old English and Middle English (450 BC – 1500 BC), this era and the works written in this era like – Beowulf and Canterbury Tales. These books are popular because it presents the concern of people and a text like Canterbury Tales presents the poetic power of Geoffrey Chaucer and also the various social classes of that century.

The Renaissance and Reformation age (1485-1660 CE) was a period of glory and modernization of art and artists. This era consisted of several geniuses like William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and more. This era was all about theatre and the importance of entertainment for audiences of all classes. Shakespeare’s works like Macbeth, Hamlet, or King Lear is popular to date – he was able to catch the crowd during that era because the royal characters, witches, or common people he created was all about the faith ad reality of the late Jacobean and Elizabethan era but he is still famous till date and will continue to rule the world of literature because his characters and words touch emotions of people – one could never hate Lady Macbeth or Macbeth, you can pick a bias but one cannot hate any character created by Shakespeare and that is the power he holds and that is why Shakespeare is important and will remain so. Shakespeare created his philosophy without neglecting the principles created during antiquity.

The Neo-classical Period (1660-1790 CE) commences with features opposite of that of Renaissance literature. Renaissance presented men as gods and presented similarities with Greek gods in both heroic and tragic aspects whereas Neo-classical presented men with flaws, common sense, and self-control. The notable Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is famous to date not only for the voyage and discovery that is presented in the novel. It is renowned because it took an opposite turn from the conventional literature and became more relatable to the common and present-day beings that care about their materialistic pleasure and desire a little more than their household and hometown as it works as a mental and self-gratification.

The Romantic Period (1790-1830), a period where the world turned subjective leaving the gods, myths, and strange non-relatable tales. In this era, writers started writing about themselves with the help of nature and the outside world. The most notable writers were William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Jane Austen, and more. The celebrated Pride and Prejudice which was originally published in 1813 is till date considered as one of the most romantic novels ever written. But why it is popular is because it presented the true nature of a household with several daughters in that era. It represented a true nature of a father, mother, sisters, and men from an aristocratic background and how all these people look at society. It presents a few kinds of ‘love’; people of different natures seek it in different ways which are why there is no true definition of that word.

What Makes a Good Book | Reasons Behind Popularity of Certain Books
What Makes a Good Book | Reasons Behind Popularity of Certain Books

The Victorian Period (1832-1901), this era is the most versatile of all as it had several writers and artists who explored every edge of art and human aesthetics. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman explored the sexual and on the verge aspect of humankind. Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge), and Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights) presented different human characters with different emotions like love, rage, and vengeance with justification. During this era, one of the most notable writers was Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist), he is famous to date because he wrote about a topic that was ignored by most writers is he wrote as poverty and poor people.

Then finally it is the Modern and Post-Modern Period (1914 – onwards) this fine period has explored every aspect of human emotions and left nothing unsaid, be it love, sexuality, death, politics, religion – they have praised and demeaned and did it all. Some wrote about their personal lives some wrote about the personal lives of others. The notable writers are Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Toni Morrison (Beloved), Gabriel Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude), and more.

Also Read: Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Writing An Autobiography

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