Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writers’ block

If you could read Midnight’s Children in a cramped mini bus, it’s least likely that you spend your Sunday afternoon on Chetan Bhagat and feel full at the end of the day. If you are a literature snob, you are most probably nodding your approval for such a sweeping conclusion. But literature snobbery is a thing of the past for publishers, who are just discovering the profits of the acknowledging the varied tastes of readers across the country. Consequently Indian English writing yielded to the lure of chick lit, crafted out a whole new genre – campus fiction, and finally addressed the reader who wouldn’t mind flipping through a book, but would probably not be inclined to read between the lines or swim in a opulent sea of surreal metaphors.

While Chetan Bhagat can well be called the mascot of the sub-genre, Penguin Books India has gone ahead and given it a name in its new series devoted to the ‘reader on the go’. Called Metro Reads, these slim volumes priced at Rs 150 are targeted at the general reader who probably doesn’t have the time to go through a complicated novel. “They are no different from regular novels. The concept is to provide the reader who finds it difficult to read heavy tomes, either because of lack of time or reading habit, with books that have engaging storylines, simply to read and are not very lengthy,” says Vaishali Mathur, senior commissioning editor with Penguin India.

Full report here Indian Express

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