I occasionally will read a big novel, such as a “classic”, because I think that it is a mark of a reasonably intelligent person to be on nodding terms with some of the high points of our literature, although I often wimp out and pick up an old R. A. Heinlein or the latest John Varley science fiction novel instead. But I certainly do accept that there is nothing more tedious than plodding through acres of text as if it were somehow proof of moral virtue or literary stamina. Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a bit like climbing the North face of the Eiger – more of an effort than I think it worthwhile making right now. And James Delingpole thinks the same. His article on the late John Updike is caustic, if not disrespectful.