I have been seeing posts recently about not naming the books we're reading, in case we don't like them, because we don't want to upset an author or agent. Here's a link from Janet Reid
And here is a wonderful response that I agree with
I don't think we should be afraid to have opinions on books. They're just reviews. It's not bashing.
Anyway, I'd be interested in the discussion.
Hopefully, others will speak up on this topic as well. As I was thinking about it, two considerations came up. First, ethically, I think writers should feel free to name books and to discuss them as they see fit. The culture of fear we encourage and reinforce among ourselves in the hopes of getting published is, in my opinion, responsible for the monotonous writing we can often encounter in contemporary books and literary magazines. If we are afraid to give our opinions, then no one will hear our opinions, and no one will know what readers and writers are truly feeling about the direction of our art and which writing is truly affecting.
You had mentioned Janet Reid's post on invisibility. I'd bring up that she has another post saying that the discussion of art, whether good or bad, is a great thing. For me, this is a bit hard to accept, but I really do believe that any publicity is good publicity, if you are trying to get a readership. If someone writes a fair critique of your book, meaning they are able to discuss what they liked and what they didn't like, chances are it will help you see your work in a different way, and it will make readers curious about your book. If someone reads a bad review about a work, there is still a chance that he or she will read it. If someone has never heard of your book, there is no chance. If, on the other hand, someone writes an unfair critique of your book, whether it is all good or all bad, chances are, the review will end up revealing more about the reviewer than the original writer.
The second part of this discussion is the business side of things, or rather, the side where we are managing our images in the hopes of staying in everyone's good graces. Sometimes, writing a critical review of a book can offend an agent or an author. In that case, yes, you may end up hurting your chances of collaborating with a couple of people. And, perhaps you are hurting your chances with someone that really means something to you: a favorite writer, or an agent whom you want to represent your work. That's something for you to decide. But, I'll bring up that, though you may offend one person, you may also gain one or more fans who admire your courage, your intellect, and your taste.
What does everyone else think?