Enough of didactic statements for us scribes; what about the ones on the business end of the writing food chain? They've had it far too easy for too long in my opinion. It's about time readers bucked up their ideas and obeyed some simple rules:
1. If you like a book, tell everyone. Get tee shirts printed. Give it five stars on Amazon. Write lovely things on Goodreads. Demand that your library stocks it and ask about it in a loud voice at Waterstones at least twice a day.
2. But don't lend your copy to anyone. Tell them to buy it themselves. Full price. No shirking.
3. If you don't like a book, don't ever ever ever tell anyone. Ever. Certainly don't post a bad review anywhere, because you will be personally responsible for the unhappiness of the author involved once their Google Alert picks it up.
4. If you're reading a book in public - for instance, on the tube - can you lift the cover up a bit? It's difficult for the writer sitting opposite you to tell if you're reading their book if you selfishly keep the cover in your lap.
5. Everyone is different. Everyone enjoys different things. If you didn't enjoy a book, try to bear in mind that it's your fault because you didn't understand it, and it bears no reflection on the writer. Who, by the way, worked really really hard on it and knows a lot more about it than you do.
As an aside, I hear there's a new punctuation mark available for sarcasm. I might have to invest in that.