January 16, 2012


Cousin Sam commented yesterday. He still hasn’t deigned to comment on the Sommerer Family Website, but baby steps. In his honor, today’s post.

Ever since high school Sam, Brad and I read, more or less, the same books. This was useful because paperback books could cost as much as $1.95 each and we certainly couldn’t afford to spend that much on books as often as we would like.

Before high school, I don’t remember ever buying a book (except books to play games: D&D, Star Fleet Battles, Car Wars…). All the books came from the library. In Concordia Missouri I can’t remember ever going into the library. I can’t remember if there was a library. But there was a book store, and there were always 3 shelves of Science Fiction and Fantasy books there.

My recollection is that I mostly purchased Science Fiction and Brad mostly purchased Fantasy, but that we all read all of them. Brad was a little paranoid about his books, and we had to learn to read with the book open no more than 40 degrees, lest we break the spine.

But none of that is what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about taste. It seemed like we all read and enjoyed the same books back then. Not so much anymore. We still like some of the same books, but just because one of us likes a book is no guarantee that the others will.

I’m assuming that everyone’s tastes change over time. I know mine have. Back then my favorite authors were Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffery and Robert Heinlein (actually, I think Piers Anthony was Brad’s, and by some obscure rule, we can not have the same favorite author at any given time). Now I think that most everything that Piers Anthony has written is only fit for teen age boys, that Anne McCaffery  hasn’t written anything worth reading in 25 years and that Robert Heinlein is still The Man.

So, given that Brad and Sam’s taste in books have also changed, how can I tell which books to recommend/give/loan to them? Sam sent the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne back with us when we were in Missouri over Christmas. I was reading something else (I can’t remember what) at the time, and so Lauren read them before me. She had some LOL moments, and seemed to enjoy them. I just finished reading them today (and finishing the main quest line in Skyrim — thanks MLK).

I liked them. They were witty, the world the author created was interesting and (this is increasingly important to me) internally consistent. I’m glad I read them, but I don’t know if Sam thinks they are the best books he’s read in a long time, or just a good read. I would like to know the answer to this, but I would like to know it because I understand his taste in books – not because I had to ask him. I want to know this, so that I know what books to send back to him. I also want to know this about Brad for similar reasons.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a comment for this post, Favorite Author(s) and why would be legit.

About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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15 Responses to “Taste”

  1. Mary Ellen Said on:

    Jane Austen because of her wit.
    Flannery O’Connor because her stories make me both laugh and gasp.


  2. Gretchen Said on:

    I read mostly non-fiction. Malcolm Gladwell is one of my current favorites. (Outliers, the Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw…)


  3. Brad Said on:

    The best book I’ve read in recent memory is “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. I finished “Snow Crash” shortly after Christmas. I didn’t like it as much.

    Now that I’m down to three or four books per year, I don’t really have as much to go on.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      See, I’m glad to hear that. I liked “The Diamond Age” more too. I used to think that, if I liked an author, I was obligated to like everything that he/she wrote.


  4. Lauren Said on:

    I am losing the ability to pick out books on my own. I rely solely on recommendations from others or else I ask Lloyd to get one from the basement that I’ll like. My reading time has been narrowed to the ten minutes before I fall asleep and the five minutes I take to dry my hair. We need to lose electricity around here so I’m not so distracted.


  5. cousinSam Said on:

    Well let me tell you- Erotic Space Poetry Novels (ESPN)
    I get most of my reading material these days from a former student. He says I have to read something and since he’s 6’5″ 280 I do as told. He suggested these. I did enjoy Iron Druid and was also appreciative of the consistency of the world without Kevin going all masters degree about every little thing. Almost all of my other reading has been re-reads.

    -you said deigned- hehehe


  6. Beth Said on:

    I like Biblical historical fiction. Paul Maier, Francine Rivers. It’s a very narrow genre.

    And I like books I read as a young adolescent: Wrinkle in Time series, Narnia books, Agatha Christie.


  7. Kristi Said on:

    I’m re-reading the classics that I read years ago, but didn’t really understand at the time.

    My new read is Suzanne Collins “The Hunger Games.” I MUST read Books 2 and 3.


  8. Peggy Said on:

    You would think being in a book club would give me all kinds of comments, but no.

    I think Frank McCourt is a very good writer.


  9. Deborah Said on:

    I read whatever Macy checks out of the library. Mostly historical fiction.


  10. Christina Rowland Said on:

    Did you enjoy the book you borrowed from me? I enjoy Elizabeth Haydon’s writing style.

    I started picking out series to read in San Antonio based on the number of books in the series. I was tired of trying to find a new book….I read all of L.E. Modessit Jr’s Recluce books (16 books) and most of them were good.

    I miss the 1/2 price book store….it is so much easier to find fantasy books when they are all there together instead of mixed in with the rest of the fiction books at the library.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      I haven’t started it yet. I think it will be the next book I read (unless I read Lauren’s Tina Fey book).

      I really liked the Recluse books too, but the last few seems like they get a little repetitive. Or maybe formulaic is the word.


  11. Todd A. Peperkorn Said on:

    This book is a riot, fun blowback to many of the stuff in of the 80s. a must read.



  12. Steve (Former LL student) Said on:

    If you liked snow crash and aren’t too opposed to mysteries or Dan Brown, you should read Digital Fortress, there is even a code in the book to break, and I seem to remember a code breaking club in Junior High (does that show my age that it was still Junior High when I was there)


  13. Mom Said on:

    I read something out of my auction box occasionally. Finished Answer As A Man by Taylor Caldwell.
    A novel about depression era good vs evil.


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