n. A literary genre that features books written by men and focusing on young, male characters, particularly those who are selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment.
So far, however, booksellers say, none of these books have lived up to their industry buzz, and some publishers and book industry watchers question whether "lad lit," as the genre has come to be called, will ever have a natural readership.
The only offshoot that's flopping, Hensley said, is "lad lit," or books about men in their 20s searching for Ms. Right, like Jim Keeble's trade paperback original, Men and Other Mammals (Hyperion, May). "Unless you're Nick Hornby, it's a small sliver of an audience," she said.
Fifteen years ago, versions of these boys' lives might well have appeared in print, but they would probably have been apprentice novels, featuring similar, but more impressive young men, with made-up names and sexier girlfriends. Ten years ago, they might have used travel writing as the pretext for some disarming revelations about gamily male behaviour. Today's adventurers prefer to let their fingers do the walking, staying at home and burrowing into the past. The result is what publishers celebrate as 'the new non-fiction', or what Bill Buford, who, as editor of Granta, started this vogue for blokeish narrative, chooses to call 'lad literature'.
With recent hits such as The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank and Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, chick lit (1993) is a thriving publishing genre. Further proof is the eyebrow-raising number of offshoots that chick lit has spawned, including hen lit (2001), mom lit (2001), lady lit (2003), Latina lit (2001), and bridal lit (2003) or, less charitably, bridezilla lit (2003). For men we have not only lad lit, but also bloke lit (1999), geezer lit (2002), and dad lit (2002), as well as loser lit (1999) and gangster lit (2001).