Bookish Musings: Why Having Different Taste in Books is a Beautiful Thing

 
 

This is one of those things I think about A LOT but have never tried to put into words before because I don’t even know to explain it and because most people just give me weird looks when I try to talk about these types of things.

But you all, the book community, get me! At least when it comes to books and reading and all the wonderful things related to the two. And that’s kind of what this post is about, celebrating our similarities, our differences, and the people who understand us :-)

 

 

We all love finding our similarities. Hell, that’s one of the reasons many of us blog—we like being able to communicate with like-minded people who share a passion for books. We also love finding people who like the same books as us. Even when we read, we love finding characters we can relate to.

But it’s our differences that make the world go round.

Some people are passionate about science, and that’s why we have technology and medical advances. Some people are passionate about cars, and that’s why we have people to help us fix them when they break. Some people are passionate about teaching and great with kids, and that’s why we have teachers—the list goes on and on. We’re all passionate about different things, good at different things, have different personality traits, etc. It gives us variety, it fills in all the gaps that would be there if were all the same, it challenges us, and it keeps things interesting.

But this also applies to books.

See, I sometimes think about how oddly specific my taste in books can be, but then I think about how the reason I’m able to have that taste is because there are authors out there who write it.

And the beautiful part of this is that this goes for everyone. No matter how weird or common or specific or stereotypical or out-there someone’s taste is, no matter what genre or genre mash-ups they like, no matter what types of characters they like, there will be books out there that suit them. And no matter how weird or common or specific or stereotypical or out-there an idea an author has, no matter what genre or genre mash-ups they write, no matter what types of characters they come up with, there will be readers out there who want exactly what they’ve written.

So even though I obviously love finding readers who have taste similar to mine, I also appreciate everyone out there whose taste is different because it’s the differences that give us such a diverse and wide range of books to choose from and that give us the opportunity to try new things, to find what we love, to be ourselves and to actually put passion into it. I also love finding out the little nuances in people’s taste, the specific, random, strange things, because it reminds me how unique and interesting each person is. If we all had the same taste, that would be boring.

And to me, this thought—that there will always be a book that fits exactly what you want or a reader that wants exactly what you’ve written—is comforting. Not only does it mean you’ll always have another good book to discover, it also means that even though we’re all different and ourselves, we’re still never alone because there’s always someone else out there who understands at least this one part of us.

 
 

Talk to me!

What are your thoughts on everyone having different taste in books?
Do you also find it to be a comforting or beautiful thing?
What are some of the specific things you like in books? (I'll start: I love broken, truly flawed characters!)

 

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  1. Daniela Ark

    YUP! That is exactly what I just said in my last review which was another fan fiction mega success like FSoG that I don’t understand BUT I’m happy that there is market for all kind of books because that is what keeps writers writing! So I kinda feel guilty sometimes when I joke about FSoG because well… people are entitled to like crazy things like THAT book [ LOL I did it again!]

    The specific things I like in books? well you know I’m a sucker for good writing and world-building so I can pretty much read anything with god writing and innovative well-developed worlds. And of course as you said, there is the characters too. LOVE BROKEN CHARACTERS. As long as it is not Christian Grey [LOL Damn! I can’t help it :)] Great post Kristen

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly! But since people are entitled to like things like Fifty Shades, we are also entitled to not like them lol.

      Yes, we do both like the pretty writing! I’m confused on how I feel about world-building though. I feel like I don’t care for and don’t even like when there’s too much… but then I seem to end up liking it when there’s great world building? But YAY FOR BROKEN CHARACTERS. But no, not Christian Grey lol. If you’re going to be broken, I don’t care if you do BDSM, but don’t abuse people and try to make it something sexy lol. Thanks :-)

  2. Lola

    Beautifully written Kristen! And I totally agree, while I love finding similarities with other bloggers, I also like seeing the differences, I like finding out what specific things other bloggers like.

    Also I think you’re really good at that point, a few of your comments on your or my blog make me feel like even thought we know each other for a short time you already figured out a few of my specific things I do or don’t like. Like how I don’t like dark scenes like torture or stay away from too emotional books usually.

    And even if a blogger reviews a book I would never read I still enjoy hearing their point of view and getting to understand why did like that book and it makes me happy for them they enjoyed it. With the risk of sounding like a weirdo, I’ve always find people interesting (hence why I studied psychology) and getting to know them and hear what they do and don’t like is one of my favourite things about blogging. I like seeing how everyone is unique and their likes and dislikes.

    Also when it comes to finding similarities, I think it is often the little things. Blogger A and me both like series X for example. Or both like specific thing X. or both read a lot of genre Y. Or how you and I both like flawed characters. Even with our differences there are also thing we have in common. That’s also what I like about reading reviews hearing which specific things someone did or didn’t like and based on those try and form an idea whether I would like it or not. Like with your review of Artificial and your mention of how well done the world building was, that’s one of my specific things and just that mention convinced me I had to read the book.

    I’ve also had book bloggers with a different taste than me who reviewed a book convince me to give that genre or book a try and try things out of my comfort zone, even better when it ends up being a book I like. Cozy mysteries are a genre where that happened to me, I had a few bloggers I know who reviewed them and I eventually decided to give the genre a try and now it’s one of my favourite genres.

    I think it’s amazing and beautiful that we are all so different and indeed the world would be boring if we were all the same. And I think it’s also so true that for every book there is written there will be reader who like exactly that. It’s a beautiful thing to think about that for every book there will be someone who enjoys it.

    Some of the specific things I like in books are flawed and broken characters just like you, as I think it makes them feel realistic. And that brings me back to the point you make in this post, getting to know other bloggers and their little nuances, I also like doing that with characters. Oh and I love romances where the characters really get each other, those little signs or scenes that show they know exactly what the other needs, I love that! Or people with fears who still go through even though they are afraid. World building that’s so well done it feels like a real place and everything makes sense, it’s amazing when authors can pull off world building like that. Or settings and countries described in such a way that I can vividly imagine what it looks like. Or foreshadowing, those hints beforehand that slowly fall into place, I love that moment when everything makes sense and you look back and see all those little hints that eld to that moment. Okay let’s stop here as else I just keep writing and my comment is already way too long and rambly.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you!

      It’s weird because some bloggers I feel like I have a good handle on their taste whereas others I have no clue even after following them for a while lol and others I just kind of know some things here and there. But I like getting to know and understand people and am kind of good at it I guess, maybe because of my INFJ-ness? Lol. But not in a psycho-analyzing kind of way, just an understanding people kind of way. So I don’t think it’s weird at all that you find people interesting, I do too. It’s one of the reasons I love reading so much. And it kind of blows my mind how unique everyone is, so the likes and dislikes are just so fun to learn about people.

      It’s definitely also great finding people who like the same strange, little things, rather than just general genre or something. And yeah, that’s why I pay attention specifically to the things people talk about liking and disliking in reviews rather than general ratings or something. I’m not quite as open-minded about new genres as you though.

      I think I like characters a little more flawed than you? Because I know you don’t like things too heavy or emotional, like you said, and I do, so I like to get into the nitty, gritty, realistic kind of flaws. But I also like those characters who are flawed and broken but still swoony and good people. You know, the tortured hero kind. And I was saying to Daniela that I say I don’t like world-building but I think I actually do lol. Or maybe I’m starting to really appreciate it. And gah, yes foreshadowing! Lol so we do have some of those random things in common :-)

  3. Kate Scott

    Love this! I have an “oddly specific” taste in books too and it’s always exciting to find someone who shares that taste, but if everyone read what I did it would be kind of boring. It’s also great to break out of my comfort zone every now and then because another blogger or Goodreads friend recommends something new that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I think the weirder and more specific your taste is, the more excited you get to find someone who shares it lol. I’m not so great at going out completely out of my comfort zone, but I can do baby steps sometimes :-P

  4. Paula Berinstein

    The reason we have this choice, Kristen, is self-publishing, because as you know, many (most, even) publishers want guaranteed successes, which means they tend to repeat what’s been done before. It’s only in the last few years that we’ve been able to be so different and specific.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s a great point. But I guess that’s why I love self-pub books so much. The popular books from big publishers often don’t reach the extremes of my taste. And I’m sure there are lots of other readers and authors who must feel the same way. But I wonder how many people out there don’t even realize there are all these self-pub books out there that they could be loving. I mean, I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t started using Amazon a few years ago!

      1. Paula Berinstein

        You know what would be a cool post, or even a great feature on some site? The ability for people to list the kinds of books they’d like to see published. Perhaps there’s already something like this, in which case please mention it. But wouldn’t it be interesting to see what people want to read *specifically*? “I like detective stories with monkeys.” “I like circus stories with trapeze artists as the protagonists.” “I like stories set in Antarctica.” Might help writers come up with these things.

        What do you think?

        1. Kristen Burns

          Ooh, I want a story with a trapeze artist as a protagonist! Actually, I’m pretty sure I have some on my TBR. But I’m getting a little sidetracked (that’s what happens when you mention circus around me lol). I don’t know of any sites like that, unless you count Tumblr and Pinterest where random ideas like that are kind of always just floating around. In one way, I think it’d be a good idea because maybe readers could actually get some of these stories they want. But in another way, I think writers maybe shouldn’t worry about what people want and should just write what *they* want, what calls to them, etc., because you can feel when someone pours themselves into something, you know? But I suppose the ideas could end up calling to the author just the same or serve as inspiration to other ideas.

          There’s also the area of GR where people ask for recommendations that’s kind of similar to what you’re talking about. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you go to your profile picture and find “recommendations” in the dropdown, then from that page you go to “recommendation requests.”) That’s probably less about ideas and more about genres or books similar to other books, but it could be somewhat helpful.

  5. Barb(boxermommyreads)

    You’ve presented some great thoughts. I usually find myself pondering on this when I read a book and don’t care much for it that everyone else has seemed to love and rave about. I always wonder if there is something off for me, but even when I provide a review, I always mention that just because I didn’t like it, I am sure someone will because with so many books in the world, there has to be something for everyone. I love finding people who love to read the same things, but I also visit blogs so I can find new things which might interest me as well. I adore horror and it’s where my love of reading started (thank you Mr. King) but I also love my pups so much that I am drawn to animal related books, especially with cute dogs on the covers, which aren’t for everyone. I love finding hidden gems and being able to share them with others and I also like reading out of my comfort zone from time to time. What a great, thought-provoking post!

    Barb(boxermommyreads) recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday (54)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks :-) There’s definitely nothing wrong with you just because you don’t like a book everyone seemed to. Though I do sometimes read reviews and think to myself, “Did these people read the same book that I did?” Lol. But I do also like to mention in my negative reviews that just because I didn’t like the book, that doesn’t mean other people won’t. Like, I’m never trying to talk anyone out of reading a book, just expressing my own subjective thoughts for other people to then decide whether it fits their tastes or not. Finding hidden gems is the best feeling ever though! That’s one of the things I love about self-pub books, finding those hidden gems. I’m not so great about reading out of my comfort zone though :-/

      I’m glad you liked my post and that it got you thinking :-)

  6. Lee @ Rally the Readers

    I loved flawed characters as well; they’re so much more intriguing to me than overtly heroic characters who never make a mistake. While I love gushing over my favorite books with other bloggers who love them, too, I also appreciate the fact that we all have different tastes in books, which can lead me to discovering a great book that I might otherwise never have known about. :D

  7. AngelErin

    Great post! I fully agree. I LOVE finding someone who has similar book tastes, but then we always have our differences too and that’s amazing. It’s also fun to discuss why we have different opinions. I like a good discussion like that about books where we can talk about ones we have in common and ones we don’t.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It *is* also fun to discuss things when you have different opinions! Like, having different opinions can make for the best conversations. I like being challenges sometimes, seeing things in a different way, even if I don’t actually change my mind.

  8. Kazza

    Nice post, Kristen. Glad you wrote it :)

    I think reading and taste in books is governed by mood, at least it is for me. Mostly it’s dark, edgy, psychological reading, with some wonderfully flawed and ambiguous characters, on my personal TBR, but fluffy and sweet does enter my world… on occasion. Then there are times I want historical, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, kink, taboo….and so it goes. I don’t read other reviews until I’ve finished a book so I’m not thinking from anyone else’s perspective as I review, but like you say, it’s nice to have different viewpoints. If you are diverse in your reading, which it appears you are, it’s great to have so many genres and worlds available to you when you’re looking. There’s pretty much something for everyone’s tastes. Clearly ‘bookworms unite’ is pretty true, there are a heck of a lot of us out there.

    What I’d like to see more of is very dark paranormal LGBT (G) books available, specifically vampires. They are as rare as proverbial hen’s teeth.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Dark, edgy, psychological? We actually have the same taste! Which is probably how we ended up becoming friends on GR, but I’m forgetful about stuff like that and sometimes can’t keep track of who likes what lol. And as soon I saw that you wanted dark M-M vampire books, I immediately checked GR to see if you had read Beckoning Blood, and it turns out we both gave it five stars lol. But yes, light and sweet sometimes sneaks in and ends up also being enjoyable :-P

      I wouldn’t say I’m all that diverse in my reading, but I still love that there is so much diversity out there so that everyone can find something they love :-) Plus, for example, I didn’t even know I liked dark books until last year, so you never know what you end up liking in the future!

  9. Greg

    That’s a great point, no matter how niche our interests or out there or not we might be, there is an author with something to offer us- or a reader to want it. And I agree- even when people have similar taste in books, they won’t like ALL the same books. Everyone has their own personality and likes- and it’s amazing to me when you think about it, but all the books- how we always find something- that’s pretty amazing itself.

    As to what I like- I would say complicated, nuanced characters. Characters who struggle with moral choices, who may have to do the wrong thing for the right reason- to struggle with expediency and consequential choices. I love those moral dilemmas, those tests of the soul that challenge someone’e sense of who they are.

    The other thing is being a mood reader I always seem to find something. I mean I read fantasy but I read YA or other stuff too and yet I always seem to find something that works. That’s pretty cool too. :)

    Greg recently posted: 12 Monkeys S2x03

    1. Kristen Burns

      Niche, why didn’t I think of that word when I writing the post? Lol. These kinds of things really do amaze me though. Like, in this kind of overwhelming, I feel so small kind of way. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you lol, but it’s the kind of thing I don’t know how to explain.

      Ok yeah. I guess I don’t exactly seek out those types of characters, but that is the kind of thing I like about sci-fi, the moral dilemmas and all that.

      That’s true too. Having all different types of books is great for us mood readers!

      1. Greg

        Yeah I think it makes sense. I mean think about before you started blogging- did you know this communiy existed? I had no idea until I stumbled on it. And it is amazing- some of the blogs I visit are people who don’t read anything like I read- but we still visit and like to hear about each others’s reads, even if we’re not gonna read em lol. It’s like when you go to a con and it’s a bunch of like minded people with the same interets- such a great feeling. :)

        Greg recently posted: 12 Monkeys S2x03

        1. Kristen Burns

          I had no idea this community existed either. And yeah, I also visit some blogs even though we different tastes just because we all still have a taste for books in general :-)

  10. Got My Book

    I am grateful for a diversity of opinions/tastes; since if we all had to have the same one, it wouldn’t likely be my current one. When someone likes something different than me I try to take a moment to appreciate the fact that I am allowed to like something different than them. This probably all sounds very preachy, but I have some moderate extremists (is that a thing?) in my family and have had to think about the right to disagree.

    I like characters whose decisions flow naturally from the background and details we have been given (rather than who seem to do things, “because the author said so”). I also like characters who grow and change over time.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think it sounds preachy. Moderate extremist does sound like an oxymoron, haha, but no, I get it. I’m glad you’re able to appreciate your right to disagree :-)

      Yes, when characters actions don’t match everything else, it does feel forced, and that just throws you out of the story. And character growth can be fantastic when it’s done well!

  11. Annika @ Hiding Books

    I love love love this! Essay time (sorry):

    The similarities are wonderful – it’s so nice to find someone who loves the same things you do – and then you can swap recommendations because you understand each others’ taste in books! But finding people with really different tastes from you is so good too. It’s really interesting when you come across a review someone’s written for a book you really love, and they think SO differently about it. They might hate your favourite character, they might think the plot is contrived, they might think it’s boring. And at first it’s kind of like they’ve actually physically just stabbed you. But then you realise that it totally makes sense for people to like different things, and not everyone is going to love your favourite book in the world. And THEN you realise that you could maybe try out their favourite books to see how you feel and then you might just find some really amazing books you haven’t bothered with before because you didn’t think they’d be your bag.

    I definitely agree with you – it’s so wonderful to have all kinds of people with different tastes because we do have authors who write such diverse things and ALL DIVERSITY IS WONDERFUL.

    I like characters who are motivated for a good reason. Also I like magic. Just a little bit of magic of any kind and I am a happy reader.

    Annika @ Hiding Books recently posted: Bookish Confessions: I love YA (too much?)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love essay comments!

      My first thought when I see someone have a completely different opinion than me about a book is actually more along the lines of, “What book did they read? Because it could not have been the same one I read.” Lol. But you’re right, once you take a deep breath and calm down :-P it is interesting to see the different perspectives, the different ways people saw or interpreted or felt or whatever the same book that you read. Except I must admit I don’t generally run out and try the favorite books of people who hate the books I love lol because I assume we probably just have different taste.

      And yes, all diversity is wonderful! All magic is wonderful too ;-)

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  13. sjhigbee

    A great post and very apt. Being a fan of science fiction means I spend a fair amount of time being told by people they hate it – and in the next breath will mention how much they loved ‘Brave New World’ or ‘1984’…

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you :-) That’s unfortunate though that you’re often told by people they hate the genre you love >:-( Especially since they’re contradicting themselves.

  14. Bookworm Brandee

    Hear, hear! Thanks for taking the time to put this into words, Kristen. I completely agree. I so appreciate the variety – that’s the spice of life, right? I have a confession for you…until 2009 and Twilight, i read nothing outside of literary fiction. Nope. Not one thing. Then my daughter asked if she could read Twilight and wanting to screen it first, i read it. While it’s not the finest work of literature ever, it opened my eyes to ALL the book world had to offer me. Or reminded me as I’d once read books off my mom’s shelves as a teen. Anyway, i love reading everything. And reading bloggers’ reviews and seeing their passion for their preferred genres introduces me to more and more. I love it!

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: #ShelfLove Discussion ~ Literary Vacation

    1. Kristen Burns

      :-) If we’re doing confessions though, I actually don’t read a very wide range of books, at least not a wide range of genres. Well, I suppose that’s not much of a confession since I include in my bio that I mostly read SFF lol. But anyway, even though I stay within those genres, I still appreciate that all the other genres exist and find it so interesting to see what other people like. And even within those genres, there’s so much variety, you know? I’m glad you had a good experience when you read Twilight though and had your eyes opened to new stuff that you liked :-)

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s awesome :-) I think a lot of people get more open-minded with their taste when they start blogging, but my tastes just happened to get more narrow since I started figuring out what it is I really like. But I do still think everyone’s range of taste is wonderful, and I’m glad you agree!

  15. Cilla

    This is a great post, Kristen! I think it’s great when people have different taste in books, as long as no one makes fun of the other for their preferences. :D I don’t have a specific taste, I think, and so I love reading other bloggers’ reviews of books I’ve never heard of before. I do enjoy seeing characters grow though, whatever the story!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! Oh, yes, making fun of someone else’s taste is definitely crossing the line. I know I have my own weird quirks when it comes to my preferences, so I think finding out other people’s is fun, and we should all respect that :-) And character growth is always good in a story!