The other day I mentioned to a writer at a "do" that I had enjoyed his book. "Aha!" he cried. "A fan." Now, call me an intellectual snob, but I don't really see myself as a "fan" of anything. A connoisseuse maybe, someone who appreciates, but not a fan. Fans are people with an obsession; people who go to conventions and talk about absurdly unimportant details of TV and movies while studiously avoiding talking about the real history, science or philosophy on which they are based. So no, I am not a fan. At least not in that sense.
I do, however, deeply appreciate many writers, artists, and musicians for their work, and I think there needs to be a word to describe that. Unfortunately many of the words which one might have used are actually pejorative terms like amateur (literally a lover) and dilettante (originally not pejorative). To describe oneself as a connoisseur seems unduly to claim extensive knowledge about it. So we need a word that means someone who appreciates something.