I get really impatient with people who ridicule people's taste in books, music, and art. You know what? If (to grab a particularly apt phrase from the Quakers) it "speaks to your condition," it's good. Never mind if I don't like it. You do, and that's that. If I like Nickelback and your tastes run more to Tchaikovsky, that's just the way it goes.
(Nota bene: I do not, in fact, like Nickelback. Put away the damn pitchforks.)
(Nota bene again: I also do not particularly like Tchaikovsky. Put away the damn pitchforks.)
Anyway, it's an interesting question as to why different people like different works of whatever. My favorite painting, for example, is Édouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère:
[Image is in the Public Domain]
On my other blog, Skeptophilia, I've dealt with the issue of musical taste, in particular how specific music effects people's brains -- resulting in the feeling of chills we get when we hear music that moves us emotionally. Of course, showing that this happens and showing why a particular person resonates to a particular piece of music are two different things -- and the research into the former isn't getting us any closer to finding the reason for the latter.
That said, I thought it would be interesting to return to the literary, and see if I could come up with my ten favorite books. I limited it to fiction (although there is non-fiction I love as well; maybe I'll deal with that in another post). Here's what I came up with, in reverse order:
10. The Lathe of Heaven (Ursula LeGuin)I'm sure if I sit and think longer, I'll go, "Wait, I forgot ______!" and revise the list, but this was my first pass at the task. These are all books I keep returning to over and over, some of which I first read a long time ago (my first reading of And Then There Were None was when I was twelve, and it hooked me on murder mysteries for life -- and Christie's approach to a whodunnit significantly influenced my own mystery series, The Snowe Agency Mysteries).
9. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
8. Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)
7. And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
6. Good Omens (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman)
5. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
4. The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco)
3. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
2. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki (Haruki Murakami)
1. Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco)
So -- those are my top ten. What are yours?