…one would probably find a positive review for every four or five negative ones, which seems perfectly justified when you consider how much trash is being offered on stage and screen, and only a little less so in literature. But that would not be viewed as a legitimate proportion by the typical reviewers, who find it more profitable to gush than to discriminate, of which, in any case, they are rarely capable.
I prefer to review books that I have enjoyed, which is why I turned my book column into a recommendation column. But I've certainly written my share of pans. The problem with reviewing a book you don't like is that you still have to read the whole thing. I remember calling Peter Handke's The Left-Handed Woman the longest 89-page novel I had ever read.