Taste: It’s All Subjective


I just read two YA novels by two well-known authors.
(Note: these authors are not on LiveJournal).
I’ve read and enjoyed other novels by these authors.

But I did not like either of these books.
At all.

The first was filled with repetitious interior dialogue,
as the narrator told the reader about his thoughts/feelings four different ways.
The second was based on an unbelievable premise that required a light touch
but instead was handled with a sledge hammer.
My jaw dropped when I read the final page because I couldn’t believe an editor let it go.
Then again, the entire book was written that way.

But you know what?
I did a quick online search, and discovered that all sorts of people enjoyed those books.
Books are a matter of taste,
and I need to remember that as I work to get my stories published.

Thomas Jefferson advised "In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." 

That’s probably good advice, Tom.
But while I won’t argue with people’s taste regarding these books,
I’m not jumping in to swim alongside popular opinion.

That’s a reader’s right.
A right shared by those editors reading my manuscripts.

14 thoughts on “Taste: It’s All Subjective

  1. I know how you feel. I’ve read some very popular books that I couldn’t for the life of me see the merit in (one fairly recent example was quite toxic in its views and because it was a YA book quite worried me) then I wonder why that should surprise me because I don’t enjoy the majority of popular movies, musical artists or TV shows either. It does make me wonder how I can expect to find a readership for my books, whether there are enough people out there who are on my wavelength.

    I can’t really separate my taste from what I’m trying to do with my writing; it’s all coming from the same place. So while Tom’s advice may be prudent insofar as it means not knocking other peoples’ taste I’m definitely not jumping in to swim alongside popular opinion either, going to paddle along in my own direction.


  2. I’m not very good at swimming with the current, either. But I do take heart from the fact that there are places at the table for all kinds of books. (And sometimes when I come to a book a second time I see things in it that I completely missed before — so even my own tastes change.)


    • Yep, “places at the table for all kinds of books.” That’s what I tried to remember as I read those two books. They weren’t my cup of tea but they do appeal to others.


  3. Yes, it sometimes amazes me when I hear of other readers loving something I really hated — but it’s a great reminder that we are all so different in our tastes 🙂


  4. i have come across such books that the masses love and i shake my head. i just can’t wrap my brain around it. but hey, there are books i love others will use as a paper weight. it’s all subjective. or as my grandmother used to say, “there’s a lid for every pot.”


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