How often lately have you begun to read a novel, only to discover that you didn’t like any of the characters and didn’t care two nickels what happened to them?  It’s not just that they lack admirable qualities.  They even lack interesting faults.

Do the authors care about these characters?  Why do they think their readers would?

But the standards of judgment are also changing.  Not long ago I read a book review in one of the great, gray national newspapers which praised the novel in question for -- can you guess?  Clue:  It wasn't the plot, the characters, or the concept.

It sells; it’s easier to write; and it keeps people reading what they wouldn’t read otherwise.

If you can call it reading.