It’s late and life stuff has happened so here’s a random idea that I vaguely intended to write about ages ago but didn’t. Can we all agree that there’s no such thing as an objective, comprehensive standard for ranking the quality of books? Like, there’s no such thing as an objectively good book.
There are a few things that are, arguably, universal standards, but what makes them universal is that they’re a really damn low bar. Like, consistent spelling and grammar. Beyond that, there’s a slightly larger group of things that most people would agree are probably important, but exactly how important any one of them is, is a matter of personal preference.
Like… I tend to enjoy characters with idiosyncratic ways of speaking. “Characters should have unique, memorable voices” is a good general principle, but the line between “unique and memorable” versus “weird and distracting” is entirely subjective. I know that lots of people think characters that I personally like are too distractingly weird, and I don’t think they’re incorrect on the one hand, or that my enjoyment of those characters is indulging a guilty pleasure with objectively bad writing, on the other hand. It’s just a different preference.