My literary taste in fiction writers has run to Joseph Conrad, William Burroughs, Nelson Algren, Graham Greene, and John Le Carre. But their books are not necessarily what I’ve been reading lately. As a former theater reviewer, I’ve lost my taste for theater. As a biographer of William Wyler, a great Hollywood director, I’ve been spoiled by his best movies. As a former film reviewer, I don’t know why most of today’s film critics bother. If I had to pick a movie critic to read over the long haul, it would be the late Roger Ebert because he was such a fluent writer — not because I agreed with him or liked his taste. Ditto for David Elliott, still very much alive, and the best wordsmith of the lot.
Favorite literary critic? Clive James, though I don’t agree with his political views. Favorite television critic once upon a time? Same guy. Favorite music critic? The late Martin Bernheimer.