Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA: Genre Fiction

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
Because of birthday celebrations over the weekend and last night, I'm only just now finding the time to write about the second topic for today - genre fiction. These are the books that the snooty English majors wouldn't be caught dead reading, you know, romance, sci fi, fantasy, horror. All that good stuff. (Please note: I know not all English majors are snooty. I know several and they're lovely people with interesting reading tastes. So please don't hate me.) I don't read any of those genres but I do love one that is constantly being ridiculed: chick lit.

I love chick lit and I'm one who doesn't mind calling it that. True chick lit lovers know there's more to the genre than bubblegum pink covers adorned with shoes and cupcakes. Personally, I'm glad the covers are all so bright and distinctive as it's immensely helpful when sifting through books at a used book sale! (True story. Recently I snapped up a copy of I Heart New York because the pink stood out against the books.) Back to what the books are all about...when I think of chick lit, I think of funny, feisty, and occasionally flighty, heroines. They could be in their twenties or their forties. They could be single or married. They could have kids or they could stress about even looking after a plant. They're your every day woman and could easily be your friend (Let's not get into the whole "likeable" debate right now, k?). A romance is usually present, that's true, but it's not really the main point of the book. There could be a career issue, family drama, or backstabbing best friend. Or all of the above. The story is usually light but that doesn't make it mindless.

I've written about chick lit before, on a few occasions, so I don't really want to repeat myself. A year ago I wrote a post about the genre in honour of International Chick Lit Month, which is just wrapping up. The post, which you can read here, talks about why I read the genre and why I don't make excuses for liking it. A week or so later I wrote about the "queens of chick lit" - the authors who immediately come to mind when talking about this genre. For a recent Top Ten Tuesday post, we listed ten books we turn to when in need of light reading. Seven of the ten authors I chose are chick lit authors.

You can see many authors in the links I listed about but I'll give you a quick list here: Emily Giffin, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner, Cecelia Ahern, Carole Matthews, Beth Kendrick, Heather Wardell, and Talli Roland.

What genres do you like to read? Do you ever find yourself defending your choices or judging genre readers?


  1. I loved your post!! And I agree. Always nice to read books that are relatable to us as women - that help us understand the way we feel, that articulate the issues we are going through. I do think that chick lit is a spectrum with sillier books on one end (that don't have to apologize for being light and fun) and weightier Emily Giffinesque (my favorites) on the other end. I personally think that's where the distinction between chick-lit and women's fiction is ---- both relate to women and show what we're going through but it's the difference between being very light and being meatier and dealing more with issues. Anyway - love your blog. Keep it up!! -- Susie Schnall, Author of ON GRACE @susieschnall

  2. These posts are so fun! We should seriously try to work out going to BEA together next year - I promise I won't be getting married or buying a house during that time ;) HA!

  3. I absolutely love chick lit, and I'm not afraid to admit it, they are such fun books, and they I can always count on them to put me in a good mood. And I love that you mention Cecelia Ahern... she is one of my favorite authors of all time. Great post!

  4. I shared my opinion on another site, we should just be happy people read and not judge what genre they choose. Labeling anything, people, groups, cities, books etc is a dangerous practice and an unneccesary one.


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