Well. I thought yesterday’s post was extremely informative, not least of which because hopefully people were reminded that J.D. Salinger is still alive.
It really was alternately fascinating and gut-wrenching for me to see all of the beloved books that people loathed. I’m sure everyone who read the comments had one of their favorite books stepped on in a big way.
I know in particular the skin on my neck prickled whenever I saw Faulkner thrown under the bus. I mean, sure, I can understand not liking MOBY DICK. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of whale lard. But Faulkner?? Really?? Say it ain’t so!
I know books are subjective, but it’s amazing to see HOW subjective. And what’s fascinating/horrifying to me about personal taste is the way personal preferences morph into a die-hard nasty Amazon review style slam. People don’t tend to say, “Oh, you know, I really couldn’t get into X, but I can see why others enjoyed it.” Run a personal preference through the Internet and somehow it becomes: “That book was AWFUL and I HATED IT and in fact I weep for the oxygen that was consumed by the author during their pitiful lifetime.”
I mean, just imagine if I rejected someone’s query with “This is a piece of trash and I wanted to gouge out my eyes while reading it.” And yet this is how people very regularly talk about books online? This is an ok thing to do?
Why is taste so personal? And not just personal as in subjective and individual, personal as in people take it personally when someone likes what they don’t like, or vice versa.
I mean, I’m guilty of this too — I get that pit in my stomach when I see my favorite authors trashed. I get actually physically angry! What is so threatening about a dissenting opinion? How does a personal preference turn into an ironclad judgment?