Liver and onions, books, and a matter of taste

My mom loves liver and onions. I know this because she cooked them for us more than a few times when I was a kid, making our house smell like a dirty penny.

I, obviously, do not love liver and onions. I know this because I ate them when my mom cooked them. Sometimes the flavor made me cry because I found it so abhorrent.

See above comment about dirty pennies.

At one point in my life, I questioned my mom’s soundness of mind. How is it possible for someone to actually love liver and onions? Had her tastebuds been damaged by some freak hot coffee accident?

I believed with the whole of my existence that something was dreadfully wrong with her to make her adore such a vile meal.

Now, though, I’m not so sure that it’s a black and white as that.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think liver is one of the most horrific food items. It’s up there with cow tongue and bologna. But this is an opinion, not a fact.

A fact is something that is true and can be proven. An opinion is how I think of, feel about, or perceive something. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of preference.

It’s a matter of taste.

De gustibus non est disputandum. There’s no accounting for taste.

In other words, matters of preference are not debatable.

The other day I finished listening to an audiobook that I didn’t care for. The writing was good, the imagery vivid, the literary elements spot on. But I just couldn’t manage to care about a single character.

It wasn’t my flavor.

But, I noticed on Goodreads that several of my friends LOVED it. They gave that book rave reviews.

It obviously WAS their flavor.

For a minute I wondered if I’d missed something. If maybe I was wrong in my opinion. But then I remembered that there’s no accounting for taste.

See, authors can’t write books that everybody will like. That’s just not possible. So we focus on a specific type of reader. And, in writing for those people, we offer the very best book that we can.

We refine the flavor of what we serve, happy when it’s to the liking of our readers.

And just like I let my mom have all the liver and onions she wants, filling my plate instead with the white meat of a turkey (which she’s not altogether fond of), I leave my reader friends to books they love while I enjoy stories I can adore.

In doing so, we all get what fits our needs most.

Happy reading!

3 Comments on “Liver and onions, books, and a matter of taste

  1. Susie,
    We were subjected to liver quite a few times while I was growing up, too. Ew, I can still taste it as I write that. I got to where I could eat it without gagging, but I can’t say I ever crave it at all, and I have never made it for our family. Such a good analogy when thinking about what appeals to readers. I’m glad your books “taste good” to me! ~Robyn


  2. I had the opposite happen this last week. I finished a book which I absolutely adored! Only to find a number of reviews from people who couldn’t stomach it. I had to stop and think about what I loved. But, for me, the characters were real and relatable and the book touched me deeply. P.S. My mom loves liver and onions, too. (Nasty stuff!)


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