Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

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Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Paris, Texas on Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:42 pm

On the old board, I asked for some Sophie Kinsella recs (apart from the Shopaholic series, based on my irritation of the Isla Fisher movie) and I have Can You Keep a Secret in my hot little hands. I also have Rachel's Holiday and In Her Shoes from the library, so with that I am delving into three of the Grand Old Ladies of Chick Lit. Wish me luck!

I hope it's OK to group "Women's Fiction" with "Chick Lit", because I think it makes sense because there is a lot of crossover for discussion. A lot of stuff, substituting the comedy for the dramatic, like The Help and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand are pretty much higher brow ,"literary" chick lit. I bought some D.E. Stevenson (Mrs Buncle's Book) and and Barbara Pym (Jane and Prudence) audiobooks for the Christmas commute and they were (a) awesome and (b) like a lot of the domestic, 20th century fiction by female authors republished by imprints such as Virago, Bloomsbury Group and Persephone, have a lot in common with their sexier, sparklier, post-Bridget Jones sisters.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  eventide82 on Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:00 pm

Paris, my favourite Marian Keyes novels are Last Chance Saloon and Angels - the latter being particularly entertaining because of Maggie's Irish family.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Paris, Texas on Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:13 pm

Thanks eventide. I'll look for those as well. It might be a good idea to have a few other books by the same authors in backup, because I previously kicked Jennifer Weiner to the curb because Welcome to Temptation jumped all over the place too much for me (even though I liked the characters) but I still want to delve into her work.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  QueenSix on Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:26 pm

Oh, I love Miss Buncle's Book! I practically devoured it when I read it. I wish I had more money so I could go mad buying up the Persephone catalogue. I'm not a big fan of the Shopaholic series, but Can You Keep A Secret is one of the funniest books I've read in the last ten years.

I've only read two of Jenny Colgan's books, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and Working Wonders but those two are really fun and interesting. I haven't read more because sometimes the traditional boy meets girl type stories can feel a bit repetitive so I tend to shy away from them unless I either decided 'what the hell' and just go for it, or they have a hook that gets me intrigued, like those two did.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  mokey75 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:28 pm

Last Chance Saloon is one of my favorites, but I really love Anybody Out There?. The Walsh sister books are all pretty entertaining, though. I read her most recent (The Brightest Star in the Sky), and I really disliked it. I was disappointed.

As for Jennifer Weiner, I think my favorite book of hers is actually her short story collection, The Guy Not Taken, but her earlier books (Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes) are pretty good, too. I read one of her newer ones last year, and it was just awful. And stay away from Certain Girls, unless you like throwing things across the room!
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  stargirl on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:40 pm

I actually liked The Brightest Star in the Sky, but probably my favorite Marian Keyes is Rachel's Holiday. (Sort of off topic, but I love, love, love the introductory poem in the front of BSitS. The kind of poem that gives you chills when you first read it.) My newest chick-lit author "find" is Carol Snow. Her books are very fluffy and fun reading, but not vapid and cliched like a lot of the paperback chick-lit books out there.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  eventide82 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:37 pm

I read her most recent (The Brightest Star in the Sky), and I really disliked it. I was disappointed.

Same here. I really disliked it. I just didn't feel any attachement to the characters and it felt a bit like it was just churned out to meet her contract obligations. To me, it was a real waste of time to read.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Matinee on Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:14 am

On Keyes, I quite like Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Sushi For Beginners, and Rachel's Holiday. I hadn't read her newest yet, but I think I'll give it a pass.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Paris, Texas on Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:27 pm

So In Her Shoes was recalled at the library without my starting it, so I borrowed Certain Girls instead. Two chapters in, I like the characters so far. One of my parent's Eastern European roots give rise to the possibility that if I have any Jewish heritage, it is a maximum of 1/32, and on my father's side so it doesn't count, but I totally love the ethnicity of the characters entwined in the story. It's so true to life. I'm not such a fan of the protagonist talking about her weight all the time. Already, it's getting kind of old.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  mokey75 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:36 am

Did you read Good in Bed? Certain Girls is the sequel to it.
And good luck with it. I still have to stop myself from hiding all of the copies when I see it in a bookstore.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Paris, Texas on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:56 am

Mokey, I didn't read Good In Bed. Did you hate it? I figured out a chapter in it that Certain Girls must be a sequel thanks to the way the reader was assumed acquaintance with the many of the situations. I even towards the end of the book I had little clue how the mother's Movie Star friend was supposed to fit into the scheme of things. Jennifer Weiner writes controlled, tight prose, knows where she's going and a lot funnier than I expected. I liked the relationships between the daughter and her various family members, friends and especially stepmother, and how real that felt. And the way the deceitful and dangerous things that teenagers do seem logical and important to them at the time. But the weight and body image issues seemed tortuously drawn out and boring. Self-loathing is not fun to read. I would have eliminated at least a third of it.

As for Sophie Kinsella she too is a far better writer than most chick lit authors. I finished Can You Keep a Secret and The Undomestic Goddess last week. The former can some genuine laugh-out-loud-embarrassingly-on-the-bus moments; the latter was just daft and rather class-ist in spite of the fact that the point of the book was to look beyond the traditional notion of success. She writes heroines to take refuge in their vulnerability and get themselves into wacky scrapes, and has a Convenient Man on the sidelines who is charmed by her goofiness and saves her self-esteem, which is annoying. I'll only read something by Kinsella again with reservations.


Next are Rachel's Holiday and something or other by Adriana Trigiani which has turned up at the library.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  mokey75 on Mon May 14, 2012 5:41 pm

I'm not sure where to put this, but this seems as good a place as any. The Sweet Life picks up 3 years after Sweet Valley Confidential.. It's available as e-serials starting this summer, and then it seems a print version will be out in the fall.
I *may* have pre-ordered the first one. Ahem.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  maxell131313 on Mon May 14, 2012 6:17 pm

Is Sweet Valley Confidential worth buying? And when I say "buying", I mean the $2.99 Kindle version.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Rhilin on Mon May 14, 2012 10:55 pm

Last Chance Saloon and Sushi for Beginners are my two favorite Keynes books, but I like something about all of them. I haven't been able to finish Anybody Out There? yet, because I can feel impending heartbreak a mile away, and I just can't.

Keynes is the only Chick Lit I've ever read, really. If people have suggestions in that snarky sort of vein I'd check them out (I have to actually like the main characters though).

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  mokey75 on Tue May 15, 2012 10:29 am

maxell131313 wrote:Is Sweet Valley Confidential worth buying? And when I say "buying", I mean the $2.99 Kindle version.
It's not great literature by any stretch of the imagaination, but it's trashy fun if you liked the series. I'd buy it for $2.99. (But then again, I pre-ordered the hardcover version, so I'm suspect, heh.)

And Rhilin, Last Chance Saloon is my favorite non-Walsh sister book of hers, but I really loved Anybody Out There?. Though yeah. Not an upbeat book by any stretch of the imagination. But still not as dark as some of her last few. This Charming Man and The Brightest Star in the Sky were just depressing.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  ActonBell on Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

I have to laugh at myself for just how angry the ending of Sweet Valley Confidential made me, but it's definitely worth a $2.99 purchase. You can breeze through it in an evening, it's a fun early summer read.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Gilraen on Tue May 15, 2012 1:14 pm

I didn't read Sweet Valley Confidential, but I was interested to learn in the summary of the new trilogy that
Spoiler:
Bruce and Elizabeth are now an item. I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, that's way more interesting than Elizabeth with boring, lame Todd. On the other hand, I find myself weirdly invested in Bruce/Lila. I also want Lila to be off doing something more awesome than being a reality TV star.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  ActonBell on Tue May 15, 2012 2:16 pm

Gilraen, that was the main source of my anger! Basically,
Spoiler:
I can't believe that Bruce would have such a radical personality change that he would become so hopelessly schmoopy over boring old Liz
.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  big chicken on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:11 pm

A Bridget Jones book will be coming out later this year. I'm cautiously optimistic.

And speaking of the genre, I'm going to recommend Harriet Evans's books. They manage to be fluffy without being saccharine and the heroines manage to have problems without coming across as being too stupid to live.

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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Kiran on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:19 pm

I just read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, which is very good, but actually much darker and depressing then I was expecting. I wanted a lighter read while I'm working on my thesis so it really kind of depressed, so if you are reading that be aware its a One Day type situation, although way less out of nowhere.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  mokey75 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:21 pm

So, the new Bridget Jones book is out this week, and apparently
Spoiler:
Mark Darcy is dead! What the hell, Helen Fielding? Mark Darcy is the whole reason to read your stupid books! And also, it sounds like Bridget is basically regressing to her single days, which just sounds so annoying in the context of a 51 year old widow.
I had requested it at the library, but I canceled my hold when I read that. Bah!
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Kiran on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:25 pm

Yeah I was like nah bitch nah when I heard that. I read a review that said "spoiler alert: this is some bullshit".
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  Morning Angel on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:48 pm

mokey75 wrote:So, the new Bridget Jones book is out this week, and apparently
Spoiler:
Mark Darcy is dead! What the hell, Helen Fielding? Mark Darcy is the whole reason to read your stupid books! And also, it sounds like Bridget is basically regressing to her single days, which just sounds so annoying in the context of a 51 year old widow.
I had requested it at the library, but I canceled my hold when I read that. Bah!
Ugh. I totally don't want to read that. Thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Chick Lit and Women's Fiction

Post  big chicken on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:58 pm

I've pretty much decided my Bridget Jones canon ends with The Edge of Reason when I heard about that spoiler.

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