I like Nick Hornby, but was anyone actually waiting for his permission to read whatever they want? I’d say: Read what you want and develop a thick skin. I like literary fiction, but it doesn’t really ruin my day when Hornby makes a reference to “prose that draws attention to itself, rather than the world it describes.” People aren’t always going to like what you like. Get used to it. Grow up. This Kumbayah it’s-all-good school of criticism doesn’t help anybody; it patronizes half the readers in the world and irritates the shit out of the other half.
I believe there is room for actual negative criticism in the book world without delving into snarkiness for the sake of snarkiness. The belief that negativity “ruins” reviews frankly seems lame. No one wants to get trashed in a review but there is such a thing as healthy criticism. Maybe I just hate all this be nice crap. Or maybe I just don’t want to be told what how to react to what I read by the Believer, who besides their weird “we want one corner of the world where writers don’t get kicked around” stance (Nick Hornby’s interpretation not mine), produce a great magazine.
Thoughts anyone? Disagree?