The Weekly Debate (15): Is there such a thing as a "good" book?

Damnit. I am officially wrung dry of creative juices for these weekly debates.
Public Service Announcement: I apologize in advance for any weekly debates that seem more like weekly questions. No trauma is intended.

But onto the real issue at hand, does a "good" book really exist? In my IB Theory of Knowledge class, we have internal assessments due next week, in which we give a lecture on a "knowledge issue." Being the music fuh-reak that I am, I decided last week to question what makes music "good." And as I now sit down and begin planning my presentation, why couldn't that theory also apply to books?

The way I see it, the issue lies in whether "good" can be judged objectively. My opinion? No. I think there are obvious similarities between the books that are deemed "good," such as the strong heroine we all seem to admire, the tantalizing romance, and the enthralling writing, yet those don't necessitate that a book is good. A book can be appreciated for its literary features, perhaps being called "strong," "solid," "stunning," but would you say any of those words carry the same connotations as "good?" The greatest critics can call a book "the epitome of English language" and it still might not be "good." *coughHeartofDarknesscough*

I suppose all these quotations on "good" lead me to attempting -- keyword: attempting -- to define the concept of goodness. How much does the media or our surroundings affect us when we try to judge something as "good?" Is there absolutely no doubt in your mind that you can read a glowing Kirkus review, read the book, then review the book/give your thoughts on the book while honestly saying your opinion hasn't been affected by outside sources? I know that for all I try, I can't say that. And if we judge books by emotional appeal, don't even get me started on the subjectivity. So perhaps the key here is that "good" itself is abstract and not inherent; it depends on what standards you define something by.

Yet, if a "good" book is so subjective, what's the use in book blogs? For readers, I would say finding someone with similar tastes to yourself, but that kind of goes without saying. Don't go off trusting that 5+++ star review -- even if it's mine -- because it says a book is "good." For bloggers, that's exactly why I say remain true to yourself. It's not about mob-gushing about how "good" a book is, it's you and the book, then you sharing your opinions. And you know what? We get that. Or I at least hope all authors can.

Anyways, excuse my rambling. What do you think? Am I too pessimistic? Am I just stating the obvious? Do you disagree? Do I ask too many rhetorical questions? If you're wondering, the answer to the last one is a resounding YES.

All-in-all, even if this wasn't quite coherent, I think I have a good idea for where I'm starting my lecture on (definitely opening with clips of Justin Beiber and analyzing whether he's "good"). Now, as for you...

I ask: Is there such a thing as a "good" book?

**Note: Please be aware I am not under the impression that some author and books are not shoot-me-now, pure genius. This "good" concept just gives me an itch.