Chick Lit Fallout

Based on the many recommendations and the word of people who have read a lot more chick lit than I have, I now realize that there are plenty of chick lit novels out there that don’t feature stupid, broke-ass conspicuous consumer heroines. I gladly concede that I was talking out of my ass on that issue, and that I just had a streak of bad luck in my initial choice of chick lit reads. (And hey, like I said, it took me SIX YEARS before I found a romance novel I loved.) Thanks to all of you who recommended lists of books for me to try, by the way. My TBR shelves, on the other hand, are cussing you out soundly—seriously, they’re even calling your MOTHER names, that’s how rude they are—for consigning them to carry even more weight. (And speaking of my TBR shelves: I just noticed the other day that they’re actually curving from the weight of the books. What the hell?!? My shelves are now medium-density fiberboard versions of Deenie, only without the masturbation and… wait, it does hold books featuring masturbation. Help, the ghost of a Judy Blume novel has possessed my bookshelves!)

One thing, though: For those of you who think that I hate all chick lit, that I think all chick lit is stupid, that romance is somehow a far superior genre (which, given the endless, tiresome bitching I indulge in about this particular genre, is a truly odd conclusion to draw), or that I’m even somehow trying to dissuade people from reading chick lit by bashing it—you seriously have the wrong end of the stick. I’m not even trying to dissuade MYSELF from reading the genre. Re-read the rant. Pay close attention to the disclaimer. Please. Will nobody think of the poor, lonely little disclaimer?

OK. Back to bashing only romances for a while—that is, until I read and review the first chick lit book I don’t like for the site. I might very well get “666” tattooed on the back of my head just for that blessed occasion. It’ll only confirm what some chick lit readers/writers already think about me, anyway, hee!

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Ranty McRant

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  1. 1
    Gabrielle says:

    No, I knew you didn’t hate ALL chick lit but that you were only reading a PORTION of the chick lit offerings.

    So now you know it’s not all about the shoes (which is now an official stand-in for anything shallow and consumer-crazy). Yet there are some books about “the shoes” that I really like. In Lee Nichols’ “Tales of a Drama Queen,” her heroine, Elle, is a fashion junkie unlike any other. But Nichols takes that convention and turns it on its ass, so that by the end of the book, Elle’s gone from someone who makes you want to beat your head against the bar top to a force to be reckoned with. Plus she gets to wear cool shit along the way ;-)

  2. 2
    FerfeLaBat says:

    Actually, The Cage dwellers forgave you for the Chick Lit hate, but are completely baffled by The Outlander dislike.

  3. 3
    Nicole says:

    No, the Outlander dislike is entirely justified, imho. Dry and dull.  :-)

    I never got out of it that you hated all chick lit, more that you tried the better known authors and found they all sucked big time.  And those of us who had read chick lit and read different books that were actually good felt we needed to set you straight on what to read next time.

  4. 4
    Candy says:

    Outlander dislike? Whuh? I haven’t even read them yet (though like everything else, I have it TBR). I do admit I feel hesitant because I know there’s a Long Separation at the end of one of the books, and I want to wait until the final instalment of the series came out before plunging in.

    Now, if you’re talking about MAILI….  :lol:

  5. 5
    HelenKay says:

    Ummm, did the folks who are complaining not see the disclaimer at the beginning of the chick lit blog entry?  You know, the big ass thing in CAPS and bold that says, uhh, disclaimer? 

    Candy – sorry you got your butt flamed but happy, for once, it wasn’t me. That will teach you to speak your mind on your own blog….

  6. 6
    Maili says:

    I agree, I didn’t get the impression that you hate CL. Just that you were talking out of your arse. :D

    No, seriously – I’m all for bashing cliches, stereotypes and the like *within* the CL genre [I have a list that would have your toenails smirking –  gay best friend, 2-D villianous boyfriend, factual errors, that horrible “Oh, aren’t I *so* funny?” humour, etc.], but I’m not all for bashing the CL genre itself. Same way I don’t like people bashing the romance genre itself.

    :)

  7. 7
    Maili says:

    Fuck. I left off a line: “Same way I don’t like people bashing the romance genre itself” [addition:] but I’m all for bashing similar things within the romance gnere. Hope this makes sense.

  8. 8
    Maili says:

    OUTLANDER?

    I don’t hate it. OUTLANDER is just another slice of Scottish Victoriana cake that everyone outside Scotland seems to love. It’s not a problem, really.

    It’s foaming-at-mouth rabid fans I heartily dislike. A big difference. :D

  9. 9
    Candy says:

    Oh yes, bashing stupid stereotypes and plot devices for ANY genre is up for grabs, methinks. Bashing the genre itself…. Well, I can certainly see that if somebody wanted to snark hardcore about how much they don’t like love stories with happy endings, that’s all well and good as long as they don’t insult the readers or authors and imply/state explicitly they’re stupid/ignorant/slutty/hellbound for enjoying the books. What gets to me most is when people snark about how formulaic something is without acknowledging that other types of fiction are formulaic.

  10. 10
    FerfeLaBat says:

    It’s foaming-at-mouth rabid fans I heartily dislike.

    Can’t argue with that.  Very true.  LKH is in a similar hell, I hear.

    On Outlander – I didn’t see the Outlander reference the other Cage dwellers were baffled by –  it’s a very good book.  Slow start but hooks you in after the second chapter. 

    When she started incorporating the caribbean and voodoo, a subject I know quite a lot about, she lost me.  The fact that she so carefully researched everything else and skimmed on that, pissed me off.  I can forgive research mistakes, poetic license with facts, etc.  But by god if you are going to describe the caribbean you had better damn well know what it looks like and if you are going to use someone elses religion as a plot device you had damn well better know something about it besides the fact that they use fire and kill chickens.

    Crap.  I’m ranting and you guys don’t even know me.

    My bad.

    I’ll behave from here on out.

  11. 11
    Candy says:

    “I’ll behave from here on out.”

    Eh, why bother? Misbehavior is so much more fun.

    I do seem to remember mentioning that I’m an HEA junkie when it comes to romance novels, and that I’m uncomfortable starting a book KNOWING that the h/h are going to separate for a long period of time and that after 25,385 pages they’re STILL NOT IN HEA LAND AAAAHHHH. Which is a personal idiosyncracy and an indicator that I’m a bitch for instant gratification, but as far as I know not a commentary on the quality (or lack thereof) of the Outlander series.

  12. 12
    Maili says:

    When she started incorporating the caribbean and voodoo, a subject I know quite a lot about, she lost me.

    Same reason why she lost me with her portrayal of Scotland and the like, but I do acknowledge that it’s *her* vision of Scotland, which is a fair point.
    It’s her readers that *insist* that her portrayal is “accurate” that frustrates me so much.
    In fairness I’d heard that she made corrections and gave a better take on Scotland in her later books, but I admit to scepticism.

  13. 13
    Sarah says:

    Me? I hate it. Bash away! I hate Chick Lit, Milk Chocolate, Comfortable Shoes, Fuzzy Kittens, Cute Puppies, and those Fuzzy Bunnies from April Fools’ Day.

    Just kidding. I get mad at the same conventions being published over and over – and I get mad at romance for the same thing. That being said, like Candy, I like me some good recommendations, so thank you, and next time we discuss Chick Lit, we’ll put on the flame retardant suits first.

  14. 14
    Candy says:

    I hate Chick Lit, Milk Chocolate, Comfortable Shoes, Fuzzy Kittens, Cute Puppies, and those Fuzzy Bunnies from April Fools’ Day.

    Sarah: Don’t forget, you hate babies. In fact, you’re pregnant only so you can smoke crack, then braise Baby Freebird in red wine and fresh herbs. Because there’s nothing better than crack-marinated baby in red wine and fresh herbs.

  15. 15
    E.D'Trix says:

    ***Because there’s nothing better than crack-marinated baby in red wine and fresh herbs.****

    Philistine! Everybody knows that crack-marinated baby is a white wine-only delicacy…

  16. 16
    Candy says:

    Everybody knows that crack-marinated baby is a white wine-only delicacy…

    Only if you’re incredibly bourgeois. What next? Serve it with a White Zinfandel? Pfffff.

  17. 17
    E.D'Trix says:

    Well, if you wanted to get really classy you could do a variation on beer can chicken: http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/recipes/chicken.beer.butt.shtml

    Substituting the ever-so-elegant Zima. But that is breaking out the big guns…

  18. 18
    Amy E says:

    Zima?  You’re breaking out the Zima?  That’s high-class!  Don’t you know that you should do the childling fricasse over a can of good ol’ Schlitz?  Or, barring that cultural icon of good ol’ white trash everywhere (and I live in a mobile home so I can play the WT card with justification), grab ya a six pack of Pearl Light, my all time favorite, Busch Beer.

    Does anyone remember the Busch beer commercials where they urged consumers to head for the mountains and grab a Busch?  My family can’t be the only ones who laughed their asses off and wondered if the bush in question belonged to a sister or a cousin.

  19. 19
    Leah says:

    Hey, I just got linked here today.

    I feel the same way you do about chick lit but am also fairly inexperienced with it. To me, they seem like romances without enough of the romance, and with a heroine that depresses me.

    And too many of them have unhappy endings/unsatisfying endings seemingly only for the sake of trying to give it some literary merit, not because that’s what the story called for.

    I also have read a few where the “witty” part was mostly in the form of self-pity and self-depreciating humor on the heroine’s part to the point where I just wanted to hit her.

    I’m sure there are some good ones out there, but if I can’t find any just by picking up the ones that get praised the most, what’s the point, you know?

  20. 20
    Susan says:

    Um.. What is a chick lit?
    I guessing not a crunchy piece of gum?

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