If you’ve read my review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, you’ll know that I enjoyed reading it but thought it lacked substance (especially given how long it is).
This brought me to thinking about something that has been in my head for a while now: the idea of ‘liking’ versus that of ‘appreciation’. What I mean by this is that there can be a difference between liking something and appreciating its literary merits. Studying texts in a school environment for the past few years has made me more aware of this and now I think that I can form and articulate some cohesive thoughts on the subject.
What is ‘liking’ and what is ‘appreciation’?
In my mind, these two terms have distinct meanings and ideas associated with them.
‘Liking’ is when I enjoy something, regardless of whether it has (in my opinion or in anyone else’s) literary merit.
‘Appreciation’ is when I can understand why something is respected or liked by other people, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed reading it.
And on the topic of definitions, I used the term ‘literary merit’ above. To me, this means that a text has inherent value that can be seen by reading critically
Is there a difference between ‘liking’ and ‘appreciation’?
In terms of dictionary definitions, there most certainly is a difference between ‘liking’ and ‘appreciating’ something, but dictionary definitions aren’t the point of me thinking about this question. I am more interested in asking whether a distinction can be made, and, perhaps more importantly, if one needs to be made between these two terms. The latter question is very much subjective, but I think one that is still useful to ask.