In times of uncertain fashions it is natural that those possessing an authoritative sense of taste should be approached for guidance by those lacking one. My mailbag has been bulging since the 'Richard and Judy' brouhaha, in which the popular book-club champs complained of criticism received from certain quarters for their promoting books written by 'authors' such as Dan Brown.
The enquiries fall in two perfectly orthogonal categories: those from everyday members of the public, worried they might have to stop reading Dan Brown; and those from high-brow types, worried they might have to start reading Dan Brown.
Let me say at once: both concerns are equally understandable.
Let me say next: worry not. There is no need to change your settled reading habits, however mean, shallow, low-brow, contemptible, vacuous, pretentious, overblown, arcane, puffed-up, self-important, affected, showy, fustian, or otherwise Austentatious they might appear to me.