Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lit hits

Book lovers used to talk about things literary but now the literature word itself is being chunked down into 'lit' genres... as in chick-lit, that disparaging little term used for lightweight reads aimed at women. No attention is ever paid to how hard it is to actually write an engaging, lightweight read. Never mind, also, the big money such books make for the publishers. Women are, after all the major buyers of books and popular fiction does best of all. Despite that, chick-lit is considered by critics to be fluff and therefore mockable. I hear farm-lit (also known a rural-lit)is very popular in Australia, where they love novels set in places where there’s lots of open space, grass and animals. Dinner at Rose’s – written by New Zealand vet Danielle Hawkins is a case in point, just published in Australia and new Zealand. And the other day I got introduced, via Bitch Magazine to priv-lit – standing for self-help books. Priv-lit, suggest Joshunda Sanders and Diana Barnes-Browooks, is a first-world kind of con-job because poor people in real need of help don’t have time (or money) for reading about self-help; they’re too damn busy trying to survive. Good point, gals! In other words, it’s only the privileged who have the luxury of taking time out to spend money on 'finding themselves'. For an example of priv-lit look at the immensely popular memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which Joshunda and Diana suggests could just as well have been called Wealthy, Whiny, White. Interesting that these 'lit' genres are all books for women. Nowhere yet have I seen mention of footy-lit, fish-lit or auto-lit. 'Bout time, isn't it?

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