Underscoring the statement of post #4 that taste is acquired, a reader must, indeed, be exposed to the classics and various authors first. Then, after reading one work by a quality author, so often a reader turns to others.
Often, too, it is necessary to read several works by certain authors before the reader truly comprehends the messages and style of these authors. (e.g. William Faulkner). Amazingly, sometimes it is later on that one reaches this understanding, perhaps even when reading another work by a different author. Suddenly, something clicks and comparisons, etc. are made that lead to understanding.
One way in which a student can expand his/her knowledge and understanding of literature, in addition to reading copiously, is to read criticisms of literary works. Such reference works as Contemporary Literary Criticism are, indeed, helpful.