Friday, November 10, 2006

Chick Lit Readership

Nice essay by Anita Nair on why chick lit is good for a woman's soul. Its so true that some women have to grow up to enjoy chick lit. Whereas at sixteen she wouldn't be caught dead with a Mills and Boon number, it is okay to convalesce from flu with gallons of soup and a pile of chick lit on the bedside table at fifty.

I remember checking out five to ten random Harlequin romances from the library for my neighbor Ms R when she was feeling under the weather and needed to stay home and rest. Her bookshelf was busy with serious literature and Ms R was no chick. I used to wonder about the Harlequin fix particularly the fact that she could go through those many in a day or two. She didn't even care what I got as long it was a whole bagful. I must be coming of age myself because I skim through chick lit in bulk when I'm in the mood for something light. To me it is not in any way different from a few hours mindless channel surfing.

Laksmi Chaudhry is of the opinion that all literature including Hemingway is chick lit today - most fiction does not cater to the tastes of men.

According to Brooks, we have burdened little boys with “new-wave” novels about “introspectively morose young women,” when they would be better served by suitably masculine writers like Ernest Hemingway. “It could be, in short, that biological factors influence reading tastes, even after accounting for culture,” Brooks claims. “The problem is that even after the recent flurry of attention about why boys are falling behind, there is still intense social pressure not to talk about biological differences between boys and girls (ask Larry Summers).”

The case against chick lit or at least against their writers is that it undermines the credibility of serious women writers. While the readership of the two genres vary a good deal there are points of intersection and in that a possibility of combining the best of both worlds.

4 comments:

ggop said...

Here's what I think chick lit is - like comfort food for some readers. Its like indulging in chaat or a tub of haagen daaz. Its not going to do you any good but feels good/uplifting anyway. :)

gg

Heartcrossings said...

ggop - That's a great comparison :) Then some people get addicted to comfort food just as they do to chick-lit.

Anonymous said...

Your review of Mehta's Water clearly shows you lack any sense of critical analysis, you fail to back up your suppositions with anything of depth and I suspect you had a bad hair day or it was your time of the month

Heartcrossings said...

Anonymous - Thanks for taking the trouble to point out how incredibly dumb I am :) Not a lot of people bother. Where would Mehta be without such "enlightened" fans as yourself ?