GreenLit: Ten Non-Book John-Green-Approved Things

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

So, GreenLit. That’s a thing, according to the New York Times. Sometimes it gets used to define writers who are purported to write in the style of John Green, and sometimes it’s about the writers that John Green celebrates and who have, as a result, seen career benefits. So there’s the literary style of GreenLit (the New York Times gave this title to Winger by Andrew Smith this weekend), and then there’s the cultural phenomenon of some writer being GreenLit (people sometimes gesture to Maureen Johnson here). Both of these kind of suck because, like, MJ does super interesting things independent of the Nerdfighteria sphere, and Smith might want his book evaluated on, you know, its own merits. So some bookish people get a little upset because, well, there are huge problems with the fact that the mainstream press can’t seem to talk about Young Adult Literature with any kind of nuance or range. Writers write like John Green (good), have been mentioned by John Green (good), or neither (bad, probably not reviewed).

I got a sneak peek, actually, at the New York Times’ next big story — they’re going to do an exposé of new trends outside of publishing that have the John Green seal of approval. The paper of record will be sharing with you some of the exciting things John Green has GreenLit (as in publishing, the only requirement here is that John Green walk by, or near, or gesture towards something to make it happen). Anyway, I know you’re anxiously awaiting exactly this kind of thing, so I decided to leak it. So without further ado, I present to you a future NYT listicle: “GreenLit: Ten Non-Book John-Green-Approved Things.”

Remember: as far as the New York Times is concerned, none of these things were cool, or even really existed, until the New York Times noticed that John Green had noticed them. You can like these things now! Go forth and enjoy…

1. Dogs


2. Food

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Oscar party summer rolls made by Sarah. #nofilter #delicious

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3. Grass

4. Chalkboards

5. Flowers

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Guess where we are…

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6. Sunsets

7. Swing Sets

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Swinging with Hazel and Gus.

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8. Baseball

9. Games

10. John Green (I think this one might really catch on!)