Why do I like a novel while someone else might find the same book boring or awful? We all bring our personal biases and interests to the material that we read. For instance, I read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan recently, and found some of it difficult to handle because of the outrageous spending practices of the characters. I live on a modest budget and would never dream (nor could I afford) to spend $200,000 on a dress. I found the book entertaining but probably would have enjoyed it even more had I not been so sensitive to the blatant consumerism (I kept thinking about the starving kids in . . . America).
The movie Gone Girl is opening this weekend. I believe that the book on which the movie is based is polarizing; some readers love it, others hate it. I don’t like it, because of the ending. But here again, maybe my dislike of the book stems from my preference for stories with happy endings, or at least with endings that leave the reader satisfied. Without giving away the ending, for those who may not have read the book, it didn’t satisfy me because it seemed not to resolve anything.
Not one book can appeal to everyone, but some do a pretty good job of appealing to a lot of us. As a writer, I would love to produce a bestseller someday. For the meantime, I work at writing material that pleases me first. If I don’t like it, who else will?