Mar 5 2012 8:49am

It’s Not You, It’s Your Taste in Books

Andy Lau

We’ve talked how lucky we are to find a Reading Twin—someone who has the same taste in books as you, who can recommend something and you just know you’re going to love it—but what if a reading friend recommends something you try and you absolutely hate it?

Avid readers such as us can be very...territorial when it comes to our taste. Defensive, even. And so if someone we think has similar tastes doesn’t like what we like, it feels like a personal attack.

So what do you say if you didn’t like something? Do you admit it, or fudge it, or what?

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Tori Benson
I think I have been very lucky that my "reading twins" are all pretty sane and we are able to have reasonable discussions if any of us reccommned books that the other didn't like.

I have been on the recieving side of temper tandrums from people who belittled me and questioned my intelligence for not liking a book. I find it all distastful and juvenile. Not everyone is going to like the same books. Fact of life. When you go beyond the book and attack the reader, it just makes you look like a fool.
Jenn H
2. Jenn H
That's such a tough call. I've had a couple of cases recently where that's happened - both with Reading Twin friends and especially with the YA genre, where my students can be extremely passionate about their favourite books.
What I've tried to do is to identify the things that I know that my Reading Twin will love about the book, and ask them how they felt about those aspects. Sometimes it's great insight into what they are needing from their reading at that moment; at other times, it can be a jarring awakening ("Okay, since when have you been into multiple menage shifters who lean towards BDSM?")
With my students, they will often recommend books that they adore, and I have to stress the things that I DID like, even as I tell them why it may not have worked for me overall. As long as they feel that they have connected with me on some level, they are generally happy.
Myretta Robens
3. Myretta
As you know, I do not hesitate to talk about what I like and don't like. But it's never personal. Do you feel offended that I don't like paranormal? I didn't think so. It's just different tastes. As Jane Bennet tells Lizzy in Pride & Prejudice, we must "make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper."
Megan Frampton
4. MFrampton
@Myretta: I'm not offended when ppl don't like what I like, but I also don't tend to recommend stuff unless I know they are very likely to like it. I know you don't like PNR, so I'd never rec one to you. If you wanted to try one, I'd try to rec one, but would understand if you hated it.
Jenn H
5. Lege Artis
@Myretta - Well said, Myretta, I couldn't agree more. I don't judge other people's literary taste. I can tell you which book I love and why, I can tell you why I didn't like some book, but I won't pursue you to feel the same. I get teritorial and defensive when someone borrows book from my library and forgets about it, but literary differences I get, they are normal for me...
Vanessa Ouadi
6. Lafka
Just like MFrampton said! I generally don't recommand books to people around me, unless I know they'll like it or they're looking for new kind of books to read. A few times, they didn't like the book as much as I had _ or they hated it, period _ but I didn't mind. After all, I've been many times on the side of the one who is recommanded a book and doesn't like it eventually, so I really think it's no big deal.

None of the people I've recommanded a book to personnally attacked me for liking a book they didn't, though. I don't know how I would react if someone did so, I think I'll probably try to explain what I liked and move on _ and never, ever, recommand the said someone any book again! ;) It probably would bother me a bit to be reduced to one book I've read and liked though _ people are much more, IMHO, than the sum of what they read.
Christopher Morgan
7. cmorgan
You know unless actually cornered, and then only after I quiz the person about the last 5 or 6 things they've read, I tend to live by the "free advice is worth the price you pay" in terms of recs. Mostly because I have a bit more liberal sensibilities and tastes when it comes to books.
Nicole Neal
8. icecharm
I've noticed when I've reviewed a couple of books lately, I have said, " I wanted to like it, I really did." Knowing that, on one of them, the author was going to be reading my review.
9. nenssa
I'm extremely blunt when it comes to my reviews and I'll even admit that I come off as harsh most of the time. I never hold back when a family member or a friend recommends a book to me, and I got told plently of times that they appreciated my bluntness. I'm an artist, so i'm used to having my work ripped apart and have the remaining pieces be fed to the birds. As a result, i'm a firm believer that if an author can't handle my harsh reviews, then he or she should not be writing. Negative critiques is what makes your work better and accepting negative reviews will eventually set you apart from your competition.
Post a comment