Wikipedia defines chic lit as genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Really, a marketing wizard somewhere decided to label a profitable segment of sales with a phrase reminiscent of chiclet candy. If you don’t remember, chiclets are cute, sweet, minty and come in a variety of pretty colors. What more could you want in chewing gum or books? Although chick lit will never be confused with literary fiction (defined by Wikipedia as a term principally used for fictional works that hold literary merit) many authors of books geared to a female audience fall into a larger commercial or mainstream category, defined as somewhere between chick lit and literary masterpieces. Reviewers and critics should be very cautious in applying the chick lit label to writers presenting a more realistic, balanced and less-escapist approach to issues confronting women.
Putting aside my small chiclet tirade, I read chick lit. Some of my colleagues would consider that statement to be embarrassing, but I have already confessed in earlier posts to having crazy cats named after the Blues Brothers. Have I ever mentioned my fondness for the two Hellboy movies? I especially like chick lit during the summer and I prefer series to stand-alones. The authors listed below, a mix of chick lit and mainsteam/commercial, manage to include laughter, a few serious issues, knowledge of some field I know nothing about (restoration, wine and beer making, dolphins, etc), and love. Their books hold more than a box of chiclets ever could.
My favorite series:
Darcy Burke Ribbon Ridge
Mary Alice Monroe Lowcountry Trilogy (currently 4 books – Lowcountry Wedding just out)
Wendy Wax Ten Beach Road (my new favorite)
Beth Kendrick Black Dog Bay (Once Upon a Wine due in July)
Kristan Higgins Blue Heron
Lit Chicks, perhaps less judgmental sounding than Chick Lit, would also include Jennifer Weiner, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Beth Harbison, Susan Mallery, and Sophie Kinsella.
Happy beach reading.