~ By Meredith Schorr
Long before I ever thought about writing a chick-lit book, I was addicted to reading them. The first chick-lit book I read, and the one I hold responsible for my subsequent insatiable appetite for more, was Watermelon, by Marian Keyes. During the scene where Claire exercised on the stair climber while drunk off her ‘arse’, I laughed my own ‘arse’ off. I found the scene especially humorous since, at the time, I owned a stair climber and my closest guy friend joked that I probably exercised while holding a bottle of beer. For the record, I never did that but I digress…
Since then, I have read almost all of Keye’s other books, the Shopaholic Series and everything else written by Sophie Kinsella, all five of Emily Giffin’s novels, and most books by Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green. I am always on the look-out for up and coming authors in the genre or to discover an oldie but goodie and, when at a book-store, I find it almost impossible to not reach for any and all books with a pastel cover. While I know taste in books, like most things, is subjective, many of my friends share my love of chick-lit so, when I was told “chick-lit is dead” and “chick-lit doesn’t sell”, I asked myself the following questions, “Huh?”, “Why?” and “Says who?”
Well, apparently, says agents and editors representing most of New York’s biggest literary agencies and publishing houses.
As the organizer of a book-club on www.meetup.com dedicated specifically to chick-lit, I respectfully disagree. My book-club is comprised of over 300 members and new people are joining on a regular basis.
Here’s what some of the members had to say about chick-lit:
“I have an addiction to chick lit and soap operas”; “I love chic-lit and have been wanting to join a book club, looking forward to this event”; “I love to read chick-lit, so this seems like a great way to meet new people by reading books that I probably would have read anyway :)”; “Yay for chick lit!!!”; “I thought I was the only person in the world who thought chick lit is deep enough for discussions. I am super glad that I found a bunch of women who think the same”; “I love to read and Chic Lit is my favorite”; “Looking forward to meeting other fellow chick lit fans!”; “I love a good chick lit book and would also love to discuss them with others who enjoy them too!”; “I love reading, especially chick lit!” “I am the self-proclaimed queen of chick-lit”; “I’ve recently started reading chick lit and LOVE it!!!”; “I love to read chick lit, basically it is all I ever read now.”; I love NY and reading chick lit”; “I unabashedly admit to absolutely loving Chick Lit and look forward to discussing them with others”; “I love to read and have been wanting to join a book club for some time. I love that this is focused on chic lit.”
Among the members of my book-club, some are attorneys, others are medical students, at least one is an actuary and many are accountants. They told me they read chick-lit because it makes them laugh and after a day with their nose to the grindstone, standing before a judge in court, diagnosing serious illnesses or working on complex tax issues, they want to read something funny. Many of the members have lost their jobs as a result of the economy and they read chick-lit to escape the stress of rent checks, student loan payments and credit card bills. But from the workaholics to the unemployed and everyone in between, we all agree on this – we love chick-lit. We love the quick wit, fast pacing and, of course, the attitude. Personally, I like reading about characters who feel like friends because their struggles are similar to my own or those of my friends – only with snappier dialog and the inevitable happy ending. When I finish a good chick-lit book, I feel warm and fuzzy inside and I like it!
Many members of my book-club have complained that some of their favorite authors are no longer writing light, fun reads and have opted for my serious women’s fiction. They miss the Jane Green of Jemima J; the Jennifer Weiner of Good in Bed; and the Emily Giffin of Something Borrowed. Many authors write deeper women’s fiction and there is certainly an audience for it. I am not suggesting New York stop publishing these books. But there are countless others who prefer fun, “light” reading and we want to see new books on the shelves too!
My book-club (and the multiple other chick-lit book-clubs on www.meetup.com alone) is proof positive that chick-lit is not dead. To the contrary, it is alive and kicking and I dare (make that double-dog dare) New York to publish more and watch them fly off the shelves.
Meredith Schorr lives in New York City and works as a trademark paralegal at a prestigious law firm. In addition to writing humorous women’s fiction novels, her passions include running, spending time with friends and family and rooting for the New York Yankees. Meredith is a member of Romance Writers of America and Chick Lit Writers of The World.