“As readers, we remain in the nursery stage so long as we cannot distinguish between taste and judgment, so long, that is, as the only possible verdicts we can pass on a book are two: this I like; this I don’t like. For an adult reader, the possible verdicts are five: I can see this is good and I like it; I can see this is good but I don’t like it; I can see this is good and, though at present I don’t like it, I believe that with perseverance I shall come to like it; I can see that this is trash but I like it; I can see that this is trash and I don’t like it.”
— W.H. Auden
“I can see that this is trash but I like it” constant mood
There’s a sixth, which I have had a few times: “I recognize that I dislike this too intensely to judge whether or not it is good.” (
… and come to think of it, I’ve definitely also had the reaction of “This is a work of tremendous skill and craft, and I have no idea if I liked it or not.” I suppose that’s a variation on the third.)
You can also always go with “I like/dislike this and I don’t feel any particular need to assess its quality”, because distinguishing between taste and judgment doesn’t require you to constantly use both – only to recognize which one you’re using at any given time.
there’s also: “this premise appeals to me so much that I can’t truly judge whether it’s actually objectively any good, but that’s fine”