Today Jonathan Mayhew posted this handy list of four reading categories on his ¡Bemsha SWING! blog. He attributes them to the poet Guillermo Carnero and gives them in Spanish, which I’ll translate here:
I like it and it interests me.
I like it but I’m not interested.
I don’t like it but it interests me.
I neither like it nor am I interested.
What makes these categories useful, I think, is that they are both comprehensive and subjective. There is no pretense of objectivity—a pretense that leads certain literary partisans to attribute intellectual and/or moral failure to those readers who take no interest in their (the partisans’) heroes. On the other hand, the categories encourage thinking about the disparity between what pleases and what intrigues us—as Mayhew does in thinking about Miguel de Unamuno. and how that division might be operating in other areas of our lives.