Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #5

Published April 5, 2014 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER FIVE – CHICK LIT: For or Against?

Beth,

I’ve been analysing my reading recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t enjoy chick-lit as much as I used to. As you know, it used to be pretty much all that I read. I’m not knocking it, I have read so many good chick-lit books, but I’m wondering why I don’t enjoy it much anymore. I’ve only found one author that I continue to adore. My old favourites are no longer favourites anymore! Do you think it’s because I’m reading more widely and opening my mind to new genres?

Now, I know that you really detest chick-lit! I want to know what it is that puts you off it so much? I know I don’t read it as much as I used to, but have you ever given chick-lit a chance?

Chrissi 
x

Chrissi,
Oh dear, I just knew this chick-lit question was going to come up sooner or later! For anyone that doesn’t know my sister is slightly more of a fan than me of this particular genre and we enjoy teasing each other about it. I am quite surprised that you aren’t enjoying chick-lit as much as you used to but I have just a teensy tiny smile on my face as I hope that I have opened your eyes up to some exciting new genres! I think this is probably why you aren’t enjoying it as much as you did, that used to be the only thing you would really read – were you scared of trying something new and did you prefer to stick with your comfortable chick-lit that you knew you would always enjoy?
For me, chick-lit just doesn’t float my boat. I have no problems with people who do read it as I think people should be encouraged to read whatever they like. As long as people are actually reading books who cares what the subject is? Why do I have a problem with chick-lit. Well…. (braces herself)…. I just don’t think it has much “substance?” It always seems to be the same old story, and I just don’t think there’s enough excitement or thrills in there to get me going. I have read some Cecilia Ahern and enjoyed it, and one of my favourite authors is Jojo Moyes, do you think they are classed as chick-lit? What does the word chick-lit mean to you?
I would certainly always give a book a chance (even if you see me screw up my face at a particularly slushy cover), do you think there’s a chick-lit book out there you could recommend that I could possibly enjoy?
Beth 
x
Beth,

I think you’re right, it is because I’m reading more genres. It just feels a bit sad to not enjoy it as much as I used to. I definitely need to find a good recommendation for you out of the many chick-lit authors I’ve enjoyed. You need to try one! I’ve tried Stephen King… it’s your turn now… Mwahahahaha!

I think some chick-lit can be a bit samey and happily ever after. But there are some exceptions to the rule.

I define chick-lit as something that is aimed towards females. I definitely think Cecelia Ahern fits into that mould. I’m not so sure about Jojo Moyes. I know Goodreads defines her as ‘women’s fiction’… well isn’t that chick-lit? Maybe there should be a new sub-genre…chick-lit-with-depth. She’d fit into there nicely.

Chrissi 
 x

Chrissi,
I now set you a challenge! You must recommend to me a chick-lit book that I promise faithfully that I will read and then let you know my opinion. Do you accept this challenge? I may have proved you wrong with Stephen King maybe you will prove me wrong with chick-lit?
I agree that chick-lit is something that is aimed towards women, although don’t you think that’s such a sexist category? Like we could only read those types of books otherwise our brains may implode?! And what’s the difference between women’s fiction and chick-lit anyway? Maybe the former appeals to women but isn’t necessarily as easy to read as chick-lit?
Beth
x
Beth,
 
I totally accept your challenge. I must now think hard about the book that I’m going to recommend you.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but you’re right, it is a sexist category. I’m sure both sexes would enjoy a lighter read.

I always assumed that woman’s fiction and chick-lit were the same thing, but I’ve recently seen it categorised as two different things. Maybe woman’s fiction might be more directed towards those that don’t fit into that Young Adult age range and as you say it’s not as easy to read as chick-lit. I kind of have a problem with putting an age limit on books though. Adults enjoy young adult and i’m sure some Young Adult fans like chick-lit. Again, why should it be easier to read if you’re a ‘chick’? We’re not stupid, and it feels like that term is dumbing down our reading choices.

So I don’t know the official distinction between woman’s fiction and chick-lit, but our chat has given me lots to think about.

Chrissi 

x
So now it’s over to you! We’d love to hear some of your comments and ideas about chick-lit, are you in my camp or Chrissi’s? Am I totally wrong about chick-lit and if so why? Please feel free to join in our little debate.
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23 comments on “Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #5

  • Hmm…I don’t read chick-lit (unless you include Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, both of whom could fit in there quite happily I think). But I don’t really have a problem with it either – and don’t totally agree that it’s sexist. If guys want to read books with a female protagonist falling in love – fine; and if women want to read books about football and cricket – also fine. But I’m guessing the latter would mostly appeal to men while the former would mostly appeal to women. But I’ve never seen why feminism should result in sameness – as a generalisation, I believe men and women are different and tend to have different tastes, and I don’t have a problem with that unless someone else forces us into a box we don’t want to be in.

    Oops, sorry! I’ll get off my soapbox now! It’s your fault for posting such an interesting post anyway! I look forward to hearing how the challenge goes… 🙂

    • Hi, thank you so much for commenting! No that’s great get on your soapbox all you want, it’s good to have a discussion about these kinds of things. I completely get where you’re coming from but I think labelling it as “chick-lit” with the emphasis on the word “chick,” just feels like a bit of dumbing-down and that annoys me! And I’ve never read any Georgette Heyer, should I? Chrissi is trying to find me a chick-lit book at the moment and I think she’s finding it quite a challenge! Of course I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

      • I totally agree about the terminology, but it seems to be the done thing nowadays – boys’ toys, lad-lit etc. One I did like though was for the ubiquitous vampire novel genre – fang-lit! I love Georgette Heyer and dig one out any time I’m feeling under the weather and need an easy read – they’re just romances set in the Regency period, but there’s a lot of humour in them and her heroines are usually good fun – not too soppy. It’s usually the feisty girl who gets the man…and most of the men are OK too. Old-fashioned – no sex or swearing, of course. If you fancy them, try Cotillion – very funny, and I love both the hero and the heroine in that one… hmm! I feel a re-read coming on… 😀

  • I really enjoyed this discussion and commented on Chrissi’s blog yesterday. I was going to post much the same as Fiction Fan in that men and women do tend to have different interests so I don’t think it is sexist to have fiction aimed at women, after all nobody stops a man buying the books if that’s what they enjoy. As a second point I’m unsure what constitutes ‘chick-lit’ as I read women’s fiction but generally this isn’t just a fluffy story but about deeper issues too… Where would you categorise Lisa Jewell, one of my must-read authors?

    • Yes thank you Cleo for commenting on both our blogs, that’s really kind. I do enjoy women’s fiction a lot, but it generally has to have a bit more depth to it I think. But hey, I may be eating my words if Chrissi manages to find me a “chick-lit” book that I enjoy! As for Lisa Jewell I’m not certain as I’ve never read her (should I?) but I completely agree about Jojo Moyes which you said over on Chrissi’s blog, she’s one of my favourite contemporary women’s fiction authors. Chrissi told me today that her new novel is slightly “chick-litty,” would you agree? It’s coming up soon on my list and I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

      • Yes The One Plus One was more chick-lit than her previous books, however I still loved it as her writing is very observational. Lisa Jewell is a brilliant writer and I would definitely say her more recent books have far more depth, The House We Grew Up In was amazing and deals with really big issues. I would definitely recommend you check her out the covers are deceiving!
        I have to admit I’ve cheated on my categorisation for my blog and put both types under contemporary fiction as I don’t really know where the line is drawn 😉

      • It’s quite a fine line, isn’t it? Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll definitely check that out – I know her name but have yet to read any of her work. I agree, covers can be very deceiving, I remember screwing up my face at the cover of Me Before You and then being proved completely wrong as I fell in love with the story inside!

    • Hmm.. I’ve read a few of Lisa Jewell’s and she does edge towards chick-lit in my eyes, but I haven’t read any of her most recent pieces of work. Perhaps she is going towards women’s fiction. It’s such a fine line, as you say! It’s why we thought this discussion would be so interesting.

    • As far as definition goes, for me ‘chick-lit’ means a romance – there might be more to it than that, but fundamentally the heroine will end up with her man at the end, and they’ll all live happily ever after. Women’s fiction/contemporary fiction might have a romance in it too, but it’s not the main point of the story and the romance is just as likely to end badly as well.

      Hence why I reckon Jane Austen could count as chick-lit (though I’d never admit that to any men of my acquaintance!) – though she also easily fits into literary fiction and in her day was of course writing contemporary fiction. Phew! It’s complicated, innit??

      • Thank you Fiction Fan, that is a good definition. In that case Beth, The One Plus One is definitely more chick lit than women’s fiction and The House We Grew Up In then definitely is women’s fiction (along with the last few Lisa Jewell books.
        I couldn’t call Jane Austen chick-lit though, she would be literary fiction in my world 😉

  • Thanks guys, Fiction Fan you really made me laugh with the “fang-lit” comment, I love it! Cotillion sounds good I think I may have to add it to my TBR list – I definitely like the idea of the fiesty girl getting the guy.That’s also a really good definition of chick-lit, am dying to know know which book Chrissi is going to pick for me…preparing myself….eeek…. Cleo, I’m reading The One Plus One pretty soon so I’ll let you know if I find it chick-litty and will definitely check out The House We Grew Up In. Thank you both for such brilliant comments! 🙂

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