Linkage: On Chick Lit

(As in the genre, not the username.)

I tend to get a little prickly when people dismiss books as being chick lit. For example, “Oh I’m not reading anything special, just some chick lit” or (from a guy) “I’m not going to read that, it’s chick lit.” It annoys me but I’ve never been able to articulate why it annoys me. When I’ve tried, it has turned into a thousand word rant on literary elitism and that damn MFA program. These sorts of outbursts are better left off the blog.

However, one of my favorite authors briefly tackled the subject on her blog and I think she summed it up very nicely:

. . . I did an interview the other day where I was asked what I thought of the label “chick lit” and how it’s applied to my books. It’s an interesting question. The truth is, I feel like the label “chick lit” is kind of lazy. It’s a way of grouping any book about a woman which has NOT been classified by the Powers That Be as Literary into one incredibly vast category. Personally, I love books about women, Literary and not, and I’ve read enough to them to know that one word cannot possibly define everything that is out there. Is Jennifer Weiner the same as Meg Cabot who is the same as Suzanne Finnamore who is the same as Jennifer Belle? No, no, no and no. It’s like saying that all YA books are the same because they are about teenagers. I think, personally, that it’s up to you as a reader to define what a book is to you. It’s different for everyone. Which is a great thing, and really what reading is all about, anyway.

Via Sarah Dessen.

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