February 20, 2008



Flick Lit - Novels require you to turn the book around or over to follow/continue the story (See Revolutions)


9/11 Lit: see Safran Foer, Updike, McInerney, DeLillo.

david m

[sic] Lit - The literature of intentional misspellings, missing punctuation, and broken-down grammar (See Only Revolutions, Blood Meridian).

Click Lit - Novels built entirely on one "a-ha" moment (Syn. - Detective Fiction)

Clique Lit - Novels published by the friends of last year's best-selling novelists.

Elizabeth McCullough

Tick lit: Wilderness works (Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, Krakauer's Into the Wild, Theroux's Mosquito Coast

Tic lit: Novels featuring characters with Tourette Syndrome: Motherless Brooklyn, Icy Sparks, The Baroque Cycle

Nigel Beale

Dick Lit: Detective novels that feature investigation of sex crimes :)

james kidd

stitch lit: any memoir that refers to doctors or emergency workers

slit lit: suicidal memoirs

bit lit: vampire books

mitt lit: baseball books

ditch lit: books about dumping a significant other

ick lit: any celebrity memoir or Donald Trump book


Bic Lit: novels written in longhand (e.g. Updike and Rowling)

Frick Lit: novels about painters and/or artists (e.g. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lust for Life, Moon and Sixpence)


Wik Lit, books actually or apparently written by a committee (see anything that's come out of a creative writing workshop).


Funny you mention this, because I've been waiting for the right time to unfurl "douche lit" -- which seems to be in abundant supply these days.

Steven Augustine

McLit (definition obvious)


Grit Lit: See novels of Larry Brown (1951-2004). His characters have "grit" which helps them survive.


Twit lit: featuring characters in a constant state of befuddlement (anything by Wodehouse)


Legitlit: Something actually written by the person whose name is on the cover, detailing experiences that are genuinely his/hers.

Antoine Wilson

Sorry, Laurie, but I'm going to arm wrestle you:

Flick Lit: Novels optimized for film adaptation (Jurassic Park, No Country for Old Men).

Brett B

Crick Lit: Southern "rafting" novels (Huck Finn, Deliverance)

Bic Lit (disambiguation): Books about book-burning (Fahrenheit 451, 1984) or burnt books (Satanic Verses, Harry Potter)

Patrick Stephenson

WELL now, we know which authors you don't like.


Hardly! Love Banville, Russo, Lolita. Taxonomy casts a wide net ...

Richard J. Anderson

Electric Lit: Literature that's published online, often Fanfic.


Is Infinite Jest a look-at-me book?

Peter Sutherland

Kick Lit-- addiction recovery memoirs; on the surface inspiring tales of hope, but really concerned w/ establishing author's (often exaggerated) partying credentials. (e.g., James Frey, Alison Weaver, hair-metal guitarists)

Pick Lit-- subgenre of chick lit; young-woman-in-big-city-working-glamorous-job-looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places; has darndest time "picking" the right man. (e.g., Plum Sykes, Lauren Weisberger, Katherine Taylor)

Wick Lit-- concerned with, ahem, tales of 'rekindled' romance.

Trick Lit-- plot contains one or more significant misdirectional elements; genetic cousin of more commonplace mystery tome. (e.g., Anthony Powell's "What's Become of Waring; Whitney Terrell's "The Huntsman")

Glick Lit-- for devotees of the Martin Short character.

--and, finally, a bone for the indie kids:

Jick Lit --nerdtacular paeans to the Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) band, the Jicks.


Tick-Lit: Outdoorsy novels, Jack London etc.


Please remove the ethnic slur "Mick"--I notice you very conscientiously avoided "spick." Respect the Irish as well and don't repeat a term that is used to degrade them.

A Happy Mick

Oh comeon ... Sarvas is talking about both his favorite novelist and a personal friend. The whole list is obviously tongue in cheek, and the reference here can only be read as affectionate.


If "Mick" is such a slur why do thousands of Irishmen and women name their children "Mick" each year? Maybe they were drunk...


This entire post is beneath the usual quality of this site. Sure, people who developed the slur *used* a common Irish name perjoratively--same with "Paddy." The Irish didn't stop using the names just because others tried to twist them for their own uses. I'm just pointing out that not everyone sees this term as affectionate or humorous. Sure, to use it can be a controversial inside joke, the way African-Americans sometimes call each other by words others clearly cannot use. Anyway, I don't like it.


As a Mick following this exchange from Ireland - or 'The Auld Sod' as we call it - I'd just like to say that we do not take offence easily. Knowing when to take offence is a skill hard-learnt on this island and in lamentably short supply all over.


Icke Lit: Conspiracy theories about 11 foot reptiles ruling the world.

Patrick Stephenson

Though I'm a red-haired, freckled person full of Irish blood, I'm not the least bit offended by "Mick." Just for the record. So, CKH, please calm down.


I think everyone who reads this site is very fond of Mark (whether they know him personally or not) and knows any possible insensitivity was completely unconscious and unintentional. But that's my point. Mick is a word that's losing it's punch, but perhaps not quickly enough. It belongs in the ash heap of history with a number of other terms we no longer use. Sorry to be a dog with a bone, but I really can't give up on this one.

Drop the Bone

"any possible insensitivity was completely unconscious and unintentional"

Or completely nonexistent. Move on.

Lisa R

Click lit – tales of computer capers, computer geeks, and web wanderings

Trick lit – books that seem to be one genre, but are really a million other little things

Risk lit – works that risk losing readers from page one with bizarre devices and plot lines. Having never read any of these past page two, no examples are available

Trip lit – Eating, loving and praying one's way around the globe and onto the shelf

Knit lit - books about the redeeming, healing properties of needlework

Brady Westwater

Shit Kick Lit - Cowboy memoirs


Twix Lit- memoirs about candy bars. Rulers on wrappers, measuring strictly optional.

Schlitz Lit- Like Hick Lit, but specific to the Upper Midwest.

Nicht Lit- German-language nihilist fiction.

And anyone can call me a Kraut if they like.


Good to know you love Russo. Was worried there for a second. Nice post (and as a more-than-50% Irishman, no offense taken at all).

Big applause for all of david m.'s contributions, especially (sic) lit. Brilliant.

Sheila Ryan

Non-stick Lit: Shiny-coated novels purchased at the airport newsstand, only to be left behind on the plane and forgotten for evermore.


Dadalit: literature that deals in excretion funneling devices.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."