Yeah! I agree. If you picture it literally, a reader astonished by a book looks mentally unstable. Maybe if he found he was a character in it, it would be astonishing.
Queenan's high-profile mocking of "astonishing" should put the word off limits. Now, reviewers will have to think of another word for -- let's face it -- good. You can't just say "good" or "really good." You can't use "amazing" or (especially) "awesome." Too teenagery. "Great" got ruined quite a while ago. I think "great" got fatally overused by people who had their vocabulary severely diminished by marijuana. (It was the only word of praise you could think of other than "wow," back in the days before the discovery of "awesome.") "Grand" -- I think -- was dead from overuse half a century ago -- along with "swell." "Terrific" is just too casual, despite its root in terror. I guess there was a time when saying a book was terrific would call up a mental picture of a reader who seemed ridiculously mentally unstable... unless, of course, the book was about him.
So get out your thesauri, reviewers. You pathetic praise-slatherers.