What Distinguishes Great Books

Great books have a substance that sets them apart from pulp fiction. I like pulp fiction, I read a lot of it and it’s always entertaining, but somehow not memorable.

I don’t exactly know how to label this characteristic of great books, perhaps that’s because it is more to do with what they don’t include. Tom Clancy’s descriptions of war machines are impressive and are impeccably researched, but J.D. Salinger’s descriptions of people resonate long after reading and probably didn’t involve any research beyond drawing on his own experiences.