Do you ever feel you HAVE to fall in love with a book?
Everybody around you loves it. It reached the top of the bestseller list. It won a prestigious award. It's considered a classic. Someone whose opinion you respect told you how wonderful it was.
And, yet, when you read it, you didn't love it. Sure, you liked it just fine, but it didn't find its way into your heart. And then, (if you're like me) you end up doubting yourself. After all, everyone else loves this book. Why don't I?
Start by looking at the context in which you read the book. I think this is a crucial factor that's often overlooked. See this post for a longer explanation of the who, why, where, how, when and what of reading a book.
And then, trust yourself. Recognize that it's okay to feel differently about a book than everyone else. Appreciate that you can still respect a person's opinion without loving exactly the same books that they do. Remember that award committees look at very specific criteria when judging a book, and you don't have to love every book that wins a shiny sticker. Everyone approaches a book through the lens of their own experiences. Since everyone has a different lens, it's only natural that everyone would have different reactions to books.
Above all, remember this. Your opinion is valid. It's just as valid as the opinion of your best friend, your mom, your neighbor, your book club, your favorite blogger, your professor, or the New York Times book reviewer. Maybe they have more experience or expertise in certain areas than you... but you don't have to love a book just because other people do. You should love a book because there's something between the covers that speaks to you.
So, don't doubt yourself when other people like different books than you do. You're the only one knows what books YOU love.
And, yes, it's okay if you don't like Harry Potter. I'll still speak to you.