Of the writers on his list, I haven't read the following (largely because they've always seemed like middle-brow hacks who sell books to Sunday readers), so I won't address their inclusion on the list: Amy Tan, Mary Oliver, Helen Vendler, Atonya Nelson and Junot Diaz.
Also, where the hell is Paul Auster? Pussy.
William T. Vollman
Shivani says: Encapsulates ethical vacuity of American fiction after the collapse of 1970s postmodernism. Any moral meaning is buried in indigestible compendiums of graceless sentences.
I say: I kind of liked one of those books he wrote about autochthonous North Americans, but I've gotten bogged down in just about everything else...
Shivani says: Displays sophomoric lust to encode postmodern alienation into form that embodies the supposed chaos of the mind.
I say: Poets writing for other poets to the Nth degree (and I used to write poetry!)
Shivani says: Infantilization packaged in pseudo-confession is her specialty.
I say: This one I disagree with. Even the sample sentence Shivani provides (as evidence of his victims failings) I quite like.
Shivani says: Would have spared the poetry world a lot of misery if she'd been able to get a job as a deconstructionist in the literature department—her actual skill.
I say: Poets writing for theorists to the Nth degree.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Shivani says: Debuted with harmless multiculturalism for the perennially bored in Everything Is Illuminated.
I say: I've actually come to truly disrespect the intelligence of former friends who recommended this book.
Shivani says: Never a good sign when the movie based on a writer's only novel (The Namesake) is better than the book.
I say: Seriously, who wants to read a bloodless movie treatment over 300 pages long?
Shivani says: Utterly humorless—a characteristic common to the other mediocrities on this list.
I say: What he just wants to say is "boooring."
Shivani says: Proves the point that to be successful as a fiction writer today, all you have to do is create facile pastiche assemblages.
I say: Speaking of movie treatments, you could just see Meryl Streep going over her lines on each of these daintily wrought book of the month club pages.
Shivani says: Imagines he is a container for childlike wonder, but actually exemplifies childish incomprehension.
I say: Though I did love his work in His Majesty, Mr. Brown.
Shivani says: Simply the worst book critic on the planet.
I say: Oh Mickey, you're so mean.