The thing that fascinates me most (maybe – books are endlessly fascinating) is the question of taste. I’ve lost count of the number of award-winning, rave-reviewed books that I’ve thrown across the room. Whatever the award judges found in the book eluded me entirely.
Meanwhile, books that I love and praise to the skies and push on friends and relations with the assurance that they, too, will adore it come back with a pulled face and a lukewarm, “It was all right, I suppose…” (words intended to spare my feelings rather than provide a genuine opinion, I’m sure).
I suppose this is no different from taste in other areas – we don’t all like chocolate (really?), or brussel sprouts (quite) or the colour indigo, after all. But I am fascinated by how these preferences come about. Science has discovered why some of us love brussels and some hate them (it’s genetically dictated by the number and type of taste buds you have, apparently), so I wonder if one day we’ll know why I sighed and tossed aside that Waterstones’ Prize-winning novel while my friend has read it seventeen times (and counting).
Am I alone – or does anyone else scratch their head at what other people saw in an awful book, or why no-one else adores your all-time favourite novel?