Every so often I find myself perusing the shelves in search of a book with a glossy cover that has a splash of pink taffeta, stiletto heels, or any other of the score of stereotypical images associated with the chick lit genre. You can often spot them a mile away, which makes the search that much easier and that much more fun. That is not to say that all chick lit is fluffy and whimsical (think Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters), but here’s my guilty confession….when all I want is to enjoy a quick entertaining story with plot lines full of humor, wit, romance, and of course some scandal, there is nothing better than chick lit.
Unfortunately I can’t possibly have enough room in this post to go through my list of favorites (though that does make me think of a potential Library Detective column coming out of this….) but I can certainly mention some highlights, and some other, rather unfortunate, misses.
Some of my favorites include:
Bookends by Jane Green – Cath is a 31 year old chronic single who abandons her nine to five working life and opens a bookshop/cafe with a friend at the same time that an old, and potentially volatile friend (Portia) comes back into their lives.
Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon – a story featuring missed opportunities, friendship, and poor choices in love. Helen is in love with her married boss, Matthew, until he leaves his family and moves in with her…imagine one of those moments where you finally get something you thought you wanted more than life itself only to discover it wasn’t worth all the trouble after all!
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner – This book got me hooked on Jennifer Weiner (also check out her newest book, “Best Friends Forever”). Weiner’s books make you laugh, cry, and revel in the scandalous drama that is so integral to good chick lit. The follow up to this one, “Certain Girls” picks up the story where it gets left off and provides a much more touching plot line in comparison to the radical extremes of “Good in Bed”.
And as with any genre, chick lit is prone to big disappointments. Two authors I have grown to avoid at any cost are Jodi Picoult and Sophie Kinsella. While there have been exceptions to my aversions (including “My Sister’s Keeper” and “Can You Keep a Secret”), I find Picoult’s books to all sound the same (it’s as if she takes the same plotline and simply changes the location and character names) and Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” series makes me want to grab Miss Bloomwood by the shoulders and shake some sense into her (really, a flighty little woman with no common sense is not the kind of image I’d want to portray)!