I actually had reading time this weekend, mostly during a couple long car rides. Managed to finish one book, read a second all the way through and start a third. Wonderful!
But something I read is still bothering me. In one of these books, the author had one of her characters take a couple nasty swipes at another author, slamming her writing style and questioning her popularity. The character making the comments was not a sympathetic character so perhaps her comments where meant to be dismissed but, at the same time, no other character defended the second author or challenged the comments, so they were pretty much allowed to stand.
I’ve read a number of books where the author mentions another author or a character from another author’s work but this was different. Since the author in question (the one being slammed) is well known and extremely successful, the comments struck me a bit like sour grapes. As an “aspiring” writer I don’t know what the unwritten rules are for this sort of thing, so I’m wondering – as a writer, is making negative comments about another writer’s ability or popularity within one’s own story considered acceptable or even a compliment (as in, there's no such thing as bad publicity) or is it considered bad form? As a reader, what are your thoughts?