Re: What makes a good book to you?
Fiction is all about storytelling. Same principles -- hooks, balance, pacing, the payoff at the end.
Every writer understands the hook concept, the need to create interesting characters and situations and engage the reader early. (This goes hand in hand with the related problem, "can you describe your book in a manner that fits on a dust jacket or in an Amazon blurb, such that people you don't know will want to read it?") Balance and pacing are hard to do well but they're critical to writing a good book. I would describe balance as the right level of detail and backstory; it's essential to have enough but more is not always better. And pacing is just about keeping the story and the backstory woven together and flowing smoothly, and not tilting too heavily to the backstory early on or saving all the really interesting stuff for the end. The middle part of the book is where good writers really come to the fore.
Not all who wander are lost