X-Factor in Books

Reading can mean different things to different people. One may flip through the glossy pages of a bridal magazine to look for what’s new and trending in bridal attires or one may read a sci-fi based book because no inexplicable creatures walk around in their localities.

These all are reasons for why we get so absorbed in a book that we can’t keep it down, or so disappointed with it that we can’t continue reading! In this post, we list the very specific X factor that we look for in a book, for why we love it and can’t stop talking about it.

  • Narration

The Book Thief: How often do you come across a book with brilliant storytelling? Often, I agree. But how often do you come across a book narrated superlatively by death? Yes! Death! Creepy and curious at the same time. The Book thief, a historical fiction (I know I know! Me and my love for historical fiction!) based in Germany during World War II era is a good read. First, it is narrated by death. Second, the main character, who is a little girl, loves books and tries to save them from burning during rough times. Quite offbeat I must say. Get yours now!  

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There was a movie based on the book a few years ago. Here is the movie trailer:

A Dog’s Purpose: Ever heard of dogs narrating stories? Well these days, its becoming a trend (animation movies and what not), but W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose is something which handles this narration quite tastefully and authentically. Utterly sweet and heart warming, while staying true to a dog’s character traits. Remember how dogs hate baths?

“…since I was then subjected to the indignity of what Ethan informed me was a bath. Perfumed soap was rubbed into my wet fur until I smelled like a cross between Mom and a tomato. I had never been so thoroughly humiliated in my life.”

The book is full of giggles with such moments and more, along with a dog’s search for its true purpose in life .. being loyal to its owner, no matter what! I haven’t gotten around to watching the movie yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s amazing. It surely looks that way! Watch the trailer here and grab these feel-good books as soon as you can, which are bound to put you in a happy mood!

  • Storytelling

Mysteries have always intrigued us, and so has mysterious story telling. Twists and turns, and twists within twists, stories within a story keep on mystifying the story plot of The Shadow of the Wind: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The Spanish background, the creepy killer with no face who kept on destroying books (?What? Why would one destroy books?? — doesn’t make any sense at all..!!), young love, age old dogmatic societies — what’s that gotta do with a small boy reading a book?  And how does it all relate to a ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’?? What does that even mean??

Questions upon questions is what you will have (I know I did) .. And is what that will make you turn pages after pages, getting more and more intrigued. I promise, things will make sense. Attention to detail and characters is unbelievable and story telling is superlative. Allow yourself to get sucked into the mysterious world of Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

  • Writing Style

 The Tudor series by Philippa Gregory

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It is difficult to imagine strong willed and opinionated women in the medieval male dominated world. Be it the Mary, Queen of Scots or Queen Elizabeth I. Apparently rules for royalty were not same for both genders. Putting across their strong personas with the mighty sword is not an easy job and one person that does it superlatively is Philippa Gregory. I love her historical fictions. Be it the power games or the sensitive female emotions, she captured different layers of the characters and showed them like normal people, well as normal as they could be given the royalty and reign conflicts. There are multiple books in the series but the first book I recommend to read is The Other Boleyn Girl. If you want the whole drama being unfolded on a TV series, I will highly recommend the Tudor TV series. Have a look at the trailer:


If you are more into Queen Mary of Scots, check the TV series Reign. The trailer is here.


And if you think you could be one of those smart queens, let’s check out which Tudor queen will you be on this fun test from Playbuzz

  • Genre Justification

How deeply unsatisfying and off-putting can it get when you pick up a sci-fi based book and all you read is not only unimaginative, but flawed as well. When reading The Martian by Andy Weir, you don’t have to worry about either of these things. A brilliantly detailed book that is absolutely true to its genre. Andy’s attention towards space techy techy goes onto show his well-preparedness while working on the book and clarity of the methodologies and questions involved (viz, landing on Mars, taking off, human survival instinct, life on Mars, what can the human race expect from Space Science in the near future and so on). The movie adaptation is equally entertaining as well, though I would say, the entertainment quotient is a bit high here. But then, one can’t expect a movie full of science facts to break box office records. Hollywood charms (in the form of Matt Damon 😉 ) has to be added! 

I would highly recommend reading the book as well as getting some popcorn ready while watching the movie. If you need a nudge, here’s the trailer.

  • Background Detailing

For an author who is obsessed with European cities and their history, Dan Brown does his home work well. He treads a fine line between using a European city’s archaeological/architectural/historical facts and entwining them with his story’s fictional plot. So much so that a layman reader finds enough background knowledge to go about the book, without getting lost in the background noise (i.e., too much attention to the background). He does his research well and his Robert Langdon series has paid him off well as he has risen to the ranks of the best selling authors!

Angels and Demons and without a doubt, The Da Vinci Code are amongst his best published books with their movie counterparts having huge fan following. Another must read and must watch!

  • Character Description 

Last year I read this extremely incredible book named A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and God bless that man for writing this beautiful piece of Literature, for I would have never gotten to know a grumpy old man, who gets annoyed when cars and cycles aren’t parked correctly, doors aren’t locked or morning routines aren’t followed. An exceptionally adorable character created by the author with whom you can’t help yourself from falling in love with. The character’s deep sense of commitment to his wife, his dedication to his self-proclaimed rules of the society, his annoyance with four legged creatures of the cat kind, his constant mutterings, his troubled past and his unwaveringly honest and straight-faced persona — add layers upon layers to a character that felt so real and tangible to me that I wanted to clap out loud for the author. 

Ove (pronounced Ova in Swedish) is one of a kind, and your heart would be overflowing with love for him by the time you finish the book. The book is rightly titled by his name. Hence, I for one, would highly recommend reading it with a plate of cookies.

Its movie adaptation is available as well, though in Swedish.



What factors in a book qualify for it to be your favorite? Tell us all about it. And what is that X factor that keeps you hooked on reading? 

This article was written for the “X” prompt for the #AtoZChallenge. Find the other articles in the series below:

8 thoughts on “X-Factor in Books

  1. Some people are of the opinion (and not wrongfully so) that nearly all plots are a variation of others. I believed it too, cos no matter how different, each book reminded me of another book, whether genre-wise or character-wise. This was proven wrong by The Book Thief, and Markus Zusak’s other book, I Am The Messenger. I’ve never read anything that’s like either of these, and I can’t even point out how very unique it is. The poetic prose, the beauty, it’s so mesmerizing.

    1. I absolutely agree with you. I kind of find it hard to difficult to imagine about how a book is a plot variation of another, but I get what you are saying. Maybe when I read a thousand more (heh!), I would be able to have a big enough database to compare and evaluate (listen to the researcher in me bragging 😀 )!

  2. Hi. Dropping by from the AtoZChallenge. I know, I know, it’s finished, but I have so many blogs I still have to visit, like yours.

    Pity I didn’t find you during the challenge. A challenge about books is always my cup-o-tea 😉

    What always get me in a book is the characters. If I love the characters, I’m likely to like the book even if all the other elements are not as good.
    Storytelling is also very important. A fresh kind of storytelling will always get me, because that’s what drags me intot he story and doesn’t let me go easily.
    You mentioned some good example up there 😉

    1. Hey fellow A-to-Zer..thanks for stopping by, and I totally understand. I’m kinda catching up with reading blog posts that I couldn’t during the challenge. I’ll make it a point to drop by yours as well. It certainly looks intriguing and interesting!! Thanks for your feedback on the article 🙂

  3. I think mostly for me, it’s whatever make me want to continue reading the book and sometimes there really isn’t anything specfic, maybe I just like the story without any reason. isn’t there any book that you love but isn’t sure as to why?

    have a lovely day.

    1. Well, I kinda see your point. We tend to be biased towards certain books just because! For me, it has to be the romance and humor genre. It’s just the feel good aura of it!
      Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by!!

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