“In my experience, most people just pretend to have read lots of books. They get like a hundred pages in and then there’s a football game on and hey where did that book go?”
Ok, got it. You are very inexperienced. Who do they pretend to? Why would they pretend? Do people elaborate on other pleasurable pastimes? Do they exaggerate the number of Pizzas they've eaten? Are you SURE that you work in a bookstore? You appear to have never met a reader.
“…but no one really reads literary criticism.”
Only a non-reader could possibly believe that to be true. The purpose of criticism is to inform the reader, not kiss the writer’s ass. In all probability, more readers read the review pages than any other section. The New York Times book review section has one of the highest traffic volumes of any non-Social media site.
“I read Gone Girl in like a week. I hated both main characters and hoped something bad would happen to them both.”
It was one of two book I read one night when I couldn't sleep. I wasn’t rapt in it either.
“The more it reminds readers of something they've already read the better.”
Nope. It needs to remind them of a favoured writer’s style, definitely not of something that they've already read.