I know it happens occassionally, that one person’s tastes won’t line up with another’s. Whenever it happens with me and books, however, I always feel embarrassed and wrong-footed.
There is an author in a particular genre that I used to read heavily but now only read occasionally. (Rediscovering the joy of epic fantasy has really eaten into the time I once gave elsewhere…) In conversations with other genre fans this author’s name has come up repeatedly as a sterling example of the genre exceeding its mandate. Whenever people write off the genre as “just Genre fiction” the ardent supporters reply with this author’s names and one or two of her titles that back up their claims.
I hadn’t read any of her stuff–see above re. epic fantasy–but then when I needed a genre break a few days ago I took the plunge and downloaded samples of the two titles everyone raves about.
I find them to be horrible. The samples I read were difficult, mannered, overly-constructed. They sounded like something a novice writer in the throes of adolescence would churn out after a steady diet of soap opera viewing.
So now I’m disappointed on two fronts. First, I’ve saved these books for a rainy day, as it were, thinking “well, if I’m ever in the mood for a good read in that genre again, I can always count on Book A and Book B.” Now I feel my secure wall of TBRs shifted by the loss of two sturdy bricks. Worse, however, is the feeling that I’m missing something. There must be some gene I don’t have or some day of class I missed that keeps me from loving these things that everyone else just adores.
I know that every book I love unreservedly has its detractors. Reviewers on Amazon complain about Patrick Rothfuss’ Name Of The Wind being too long, spending too much time on plotlines the reader doesn’t care for. My husband hates everything that flowed from the pen of Charles Dickens in spite of the fact that A Tale Of Two Cities is one of the greatest books in the universe. I read it first as a young girl and was indeed Recalled To Life.
So yes, I know that there’s always a hold-out on even the most wondrous of literature. I guess I’m just embarrassed when that hold-out is me.