Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
One should, of course, avoid literature that is lewd or that promotes the impermissible. How would you define “lewd” or “promoting the impermissible”? In other words, by what criteria should one judge whether Novel X should be avoided while Novel Y need not be (in terms of objectionable content, hence leaving aside the question whether it “has an acceptable worldly or religious purpose or benefit”).
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
The words of the scholars entail a differentiating between works containing the reprehensible, and works whose very thrust and subject-matter is reprehensible (such as a book on the struggles of a homosexual couple to gain recognition), where the latter is to be avoided, unless there are genuine secondary considerations.
And Allah knows best.