Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Lit Lite

Thanks to Linda and her reference to the Independent article, I now have a grip on lit lite. Looking down the list of titles mentioned in the complete article, I think I have managed to avoid every single one. Now I worry - what does that say about me? Not well read? All through my life I've read widely on whatever caught my interest, but I've never done well on the kind of fiction that always figures in lists of 100 best reads. Still, I've enjoyed my reading life and it has given me a huge respect for the written word.

Ms Taylor's article says this of Lit Lite: "the kinds of books that are challenging enough to satisfy the little grey cells of the committed "heavy book buyer", but not too off-putting to the intelligent Richard & Judy viewer who might only buy five books a year. It's a subset that I'm calling "Lit Lite". And it is big, big business.
Lit lite is the kind of book beloved of the reading group: sufficiently approachable and gripping to engage everyone, yet still offering something - some stylistic quirk, some moral dilemma, some social issue - for members to discuss when they meet.

So what exactly is Lit Lite? Andrea Levy's Small Island, with its sassy dialogue and political-historical content (and sales of over half a million) is quintessential lit lite: a ripping yarn with lots of meaty issues to discuss. So is Yann Martel's Life of Pi, with its exotic setting and philosophical musings - and sales now nudging a million. Zadie Smith's Man Booker shortlisted On Beauty is another example."

Read the whole of Debbie Taylor's article here. And thanks, Linda!

1 comment:

Louise said...

Hi Jen - I couldn't get the link to the article to work, but can probably guess many of the titles -I think literary fiction is a genre which functions just like any other genre - it needs a certain plot, a certain kind of writing, and isn't really my thing. Neither are college essays but I'd better get back to them.