Posts filed under ‘Romance and Chick Lit’
in the land of Eng.
Characters we remember
fondly, now remade.
abound, while Wickhams remain
Towards the end of 2011 I looked around me and discovered that there was a sizable, but not insurmountable, pile of books that I had had every good intention of reading in 2011, but had never got around to. With the clock ticking and just under a week left in 2011, I set my nose to the grind-stone and did my best to get through them. I was only successful on two counts before getting pleasantly lost in Henry James’ thick prose, but they were a good two.
The first book I successfully got through was J. Courtney Sullivan’s Commencement. (The second was A.S. Byatt’s enjoyable The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye.) I’d been wanting to read this book practically from the moment it first came on the scene in 2009 because Sullivan and I shared an alma mater, Smith College. Smith here serves as both inspiration and setting for much of the book and, because of this dual role served by our college, I felt compelled to check it out. (more…)
Imagine my excitement when Daphne Uviller’s follow-up to 2009′s Super in the City, Hotel No Tell, finally arrived in my mailbox, fresh from the States, this Wednesday! Ms. Uviller’s writing has been growing on me since Super, so I was in quite the state of anticipation by the time Hotel finally made its way across the pond to me.
Hotel picks up about three years after the end of Super and features the same cast of characters (as well as some new additions) led by the plucky and totally awesome Zephyr Zuckerman. She may be clumsy, nosy, and in need of a support group to get her dressed in the morning, but Zephyr is also, perhaps because of the above traits, extremely relatable and huge fun to be around. Despite her ineptitude at detective work (her new job in Hotel), you still root for her the entire way and desperately hope that everything from the novel’s central mystery to her love life will work out. And because Ms. Uviller is a fan of neatly tied-up endings, I am happy to report that it all does. (more…)
So even though I am on the average-to-thin side, I daydream about what it would be like to wake up a totally toned and skinny ski babe. When these daydreams got pretty intense a few months ago, I began to almost instinctively turn toward “transformational chick lit.”
This sub-genre will be familiar to anyone who is a fan of the rags-to-riches tale. A fat girl (it’s never clear how fat she is, but she always feels huge) loses weight, finds herself and snags herself a man — not always in that order.
I used to hate this type of book. (more…)
I recently returned from a vacation and, in the spirit of an early “What I Read on my Summer Vacation” report, I give you the following run-down of my various reading escapades. I ended up taking two books, finishing one, reading a recommendation from a friend, gaining two recommendations from a cousin, purchasing one I didn’t even know existed let alone wanted to own, and completely ignoring the one I was supposed to be reading! (more…)
The woman’s dress is long and drab with a large white apron, down to the floor. The man’s suit and vest look like cast-offs from the Merchant-Ivory costume department. Even his glasses are vintage.
But that’s not the least of it. This is clearly not my room.
When I saw this book on the library shelf last week, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to allow all of those Jane Austen derivatives a chance to redeem themselves. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict was not a title I had heard, nor was Laurie Viera Rigler an author I was familiar with, but the premise seemed interesting: LA resident Courtney Stone nurses a breakup with Absolut and Pride and Prejudice, only to wake up in Regency-era England as a woman named Jane Mansfield.
Rigler exceeded my expectations in a few ways. (more…)
112 lbs., cigarettes 2 (but at hideous cost), fantasies involving Mark Darcy/Colin Firth/Prince William bursting in saying: “In the name of God and England, release my future wife!”: constant.
Salman Rushdie loves Bridget Jones, and you know what? So do I. If Helen Fielding is good enough for the author of The Best of the Booker Prize, then darn it, she is good enough for me, even if her books are technically chick lit.
The beauty of the first book, Bridget Jones’s Diary, was that Bridget had the same problems as everyone else, only a little bit more exaggerated. Her mother’s a little nutty, her job is terrible, and she constantly feels inadequate. Also, she drinks a little too much, overindulges from time to time in a Cadbury Milk Tray or five, and thinks she could stand to lose about five pounds. Sound familiar?
In the second book, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Helen Fielding takes everything — setting, plot, everything — to the next level. (more…)
‘You know what I think it is, girls?…I think Jack and Cate Able are an item.’
‘What?’ Tabby says. ‘What makes you say that?’
‘They’re both English.’
Okay, so this isn’t the most realistic book. And, as you can see from the quote above, it reads a little like Sophie Kinsella meets Jan Karon. It’s not the funniest novel, and it’s not the most clever. It’s not even the best inspirational chick-lit romance I’ve ever read, which is kind of strange. But Tracey Bateman can do a couple of things right when it comes to writing, and so this book wasn’t a total wash.
First, I loved her characters. I wanted to be friends with absolutely all of them, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. (more…)
It had been too long, Tory thought, since she’d sat on a porch swing watching the stars come out and hearing the crickets chirp. A long time since she’d been relaxed enough to simply sit and smell the breeze….Even as she thought it, she realized it was likely to be a long time before she did so again.
Okay, confession time: despite previous posts, every once in a while, I deeply enjoy lapsing into escapism with a good romance novel. I do mean a good one, though, and Nora Roberts’ Carolina Moon definitely falls into that category. In fact, it was so good it left me feeling a little like Tory in the quote above, just enjoying the good read while at the same time knowing that tomorrow, I had to dive into Le Morte Darthur and Dracula.
Sure, this story has all the trappings of a romance novel: Tory is a psychic with a troubled past who moves back to her hometown to open a gift shop (why do women in these novels always run gift shops of some sort?), and Cade, the male love interest whose bizarre nickname comes from Kincade, a name so snooty the reader immediately knows he comes from money, is an organic farmer whose family owns the land Tory’s family used to lease and farm like 20th-century sharecroppers. There are puppies, remarks that would get the men who say them arrested if they were anywhere else but in the pages of a romance novel, and about three marriages before the novel ends.
However, this novel is more than just a frame for raucous sexual encounters, as so many romance novels tend to be. (more…)
In light of the recent discussions we’ve been having on this blog and in the comments about “fluff” books and chick lit, I thought I would link you all over to this extremely intelligent viewpoint on the matter written by Joanne Rendell over at the Huffington Post.
In all our discussions here at Literary Transgressions about “fluff” and chick lit, we have yet to breach what might perhaps be the most basic aspect of the debate: gender. As a Smithie, I know it sounds woefully cliche to bring this up, but it seems to me that in all our ponderings about what makes chick lit today so derided and simply not respected, we have failed to look at the fact that most chick lit authors are women. Is there something more to be said there or is chick lit disrespected for other, more stylistic reasons?