It is always amusing to read that a critic believes the internet will ruin the world of literary criticism.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading what literary critics write about the books they read. I do find it hard to ignore what they say about a book, good or bad. It is hard to ignore the voice of the critic, especially when they write a good arguement for or a against a book. A persuasive arguement is always hard to ignore, but when it comes to reading a book, for some odd reason, I feel a reader should wait until they read the book before they read what a critic has to say.
I had a college professor that told the class to read the end of a book because you can tell more about a book by the ending than you can from the beginning of a book.
I won't lie, I read the ending of a book before I read the whole story. If you think about it, you do that when you read a newspaper, but in the world of journalism they call it the "inverted pyramid." I know a good writer can hook you with a good beginning, but the ending doesn't match the beginning, what is the point of reading the whole book?.
But, the point I am trying to make is that reading criticism of a book before you read it is a bad idea. You should read the book and then read what a critic has to say about the book. You need to have your own opinion of the book before you read it.
When The Da Vinci Code was so popular, and everyone was talking about the book. I refused to read it, because I thought that everyone talking about the book would influence the way I appreciated the book. I do this a lot when it comes to popular authors, and I refuse to read the book until people stop talking about it. It is neurotic, but it helps me enjoy the book.
I won't say that I don't take recommendations from friends and family when it comes to books to read, but I don't let them tell me their thoughts on the books they recommend.I don't consider myself an elitist, however, I do know from past experience that waiting until I read a book and than listening to their thoughts is lot better--I blame it on my desire to argue.
It is just my belief that a reader needs to wait until they are done reading a book before they listen to outside voices that might prevent them from reading the book in the first place.