Matters of Taste

I’ve probably not been particularly discreet when it comes to my feelings about a certain extremely popular erotic trilogy that began its life as Twilight fan fiction. (And if you don’t know which trilogy I’m talking about based on that description, lucky you!) Although I have not read the entire trilogy, I have read enough of the first book to have formed a solid opinion about whether I like it or not. I know many other people, including people I respect and like, who feel differently about these books than I do, and although I can’t claim to understand what they see in them, I certainly don’t begrudge them their enjoyment. This is a matter of taste. And taste is largely subjective. Which means no one should get their undies in a bunch when someone else fails to share their taste, even if they fail to share it in a loud and even snarky way.

There’s been a recent brouhaha that I won’t rehash surrounding “reader-bashing” and The Trilogy That Shall Not Be Named. I agree that in some cases, the snarking of the books has become snarking its fans. BUT…and this is a huge BUT, I kind of think, “So what?”

Look, I am not suggesting that personal attacks on readers are a good thing; however, I think people take this whole thing WAY too seriously. As I said, this is a matter of taste. Just like, say, food is a matter of taste. For example, I happen to love sushi. Like, I-would-eat-it-for-every-meal-if-I-could love it. Plenty of people I meet, however, think sushi is the most disgusting, foul comestible known to the hand of man. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “Ew, you like sushi? That is SO gross. How can you eat raw fish?” I’d be able to buy a LOT more sushi. But I have never once felt attacked or bashed by such a comment. I just shrug and smile and say, “Yay, more for me!”

Why can’t we have that attitude about books? Why do we have this book culture in which disagreeing on matters of taste has become a kind of us vs. them mentality? I don’t see sushi vs non-sushi lovers lining up for a rumble, but when it comes to liking or disliking particular books, I half think it’s going to come to knife fights in dark alleys. Instead of arguing about who is right about X book, why not be happy that we’re talking about books at all? That there are books to talk about!

I’m never going to like certain books. I might even want to talk about why I don’t like them (just as I sometimes like to talk about why I liked a book). But if you liked that book, I promise you, my dislike of it is not a personal attack. It’s just me doing the equivalent of “Ew, sushi. Really? I don’t get it.” In other words, it’s not about YOU; it’s about ME and my tastes.