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Yes, I’ve wondered about that. I think part of it can be environmental, e.g. right book, right time; it hits your current mood/outlook and generates a positive emotion/good time. And part of it is just the outlook of the characters match your outlook, or resonates with it because maybe it’s not your outlook but one you can ‘get.’

But I also think there is something about how much the author likes the book that improves the quality of the book. Does they author really get into the story? And can they successfully share that enjoyment with the reader.

You see this with really big name authors who end up churning out book after book for the money, not for the story. Often times such $ books seem soulless.

An example I like to go with is Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality. He clearly loved writing the first book, On a Pale Horse, and I can reread that again and again. But each successive book gets more and more soulless, like he’s just going through the motions to finish the idea, when he’s actually fallen out of love with the idea but needs to make the thing ‘complete’

This is also why I don’t mind waiting for someone like GRRM to finish ‘the next book’ (as long as he doesn’t die of old age first) because to make it good, he has to ‘feel’ the story and enjoy it. Now of course, that being said, I don’t know if it would be possible to reread all the Ice and Fire books a crap load of times, because one would die of old age oneself while doing so…