Posts Tagged ‘“chick” lit’

30th June
2011
written by Steph

By this point everyone on the planet has read One Day, so once again, I am late to the party. But hopefully that means I don’t have to bring the gift of exposition! Well, ok, for those of you who have been living in the land of Classics or non-fiction or whatever, here is a brief idea of what the book is about: On the eve of graduating from university, Dexter & Emma spend one night together and kick off a friendship that, through ups and downs, will last them a lifetime. One Day follows Dex & Em on the anniversary of their meeting each and every year, and in so doing, readers spend both something close to 20 years and just 20 days with the duo. In many ways, One Day appears to be your conventional chick lit novel, the unique premise not withstanding. I’m not sure I would have been drawn to it when I first saw it over in the ARC shelves at BookPage if not for the premise, so while it may seem gimmicky, you’ve got to admire Nicholls for doing something different to set his book apart. I don’t read tons of chick lit anymore, but so much of it is formulaic, that in many ways I feel like the overwhelming popularity of One Day can be attributed to it being a breath of fresh air. That said, it took a trip to Naples, Florida where I knew I’d be lazing by the pool and on the beach for many hours to finally decide that I should see what this sensation was all about. (more…)
29th March
2011
written by Steph

Looking at my reading log, I realized that I finished Practical Magic back on February 10. Normally I try to write reviews for books within a week of finishing them, but obviously that didn’t happen with this one. While I was reading PM, I thought it was a fine read and when I finished it, I concluded that I liked it well enough. So why is it that I find myself struggling so hard to write anything about it? I hate when I end up feeling apathetic about a book, because I can barely muster up the energy to talk about it, which is really no fun for anyone. Basically, I had never read an Alice Hoffman novel before so I didn’t really know what to expect going into this one. I think I had seen the movie version ages ago, but I remembered pretty much nothing about that experience. Also, after finishing the book, I did watch the movie trailer and it seems like the film takes considerable liberties and has a different focus than the book. Essentially the movie makes it seem like the book is about these powerful witch sisters who are cursed in the sense that any man who falls in love with them is destined to die… this is very much not how things go in the book. There are two deaths, one tied to each sister, but neither of these really has a direct link to either sister… in fact, the first death is important in the sense that it strikes home the fact that death comes when it will and there’s nothing we can do to stop it when it makes up its mind to claim someone we love. (more…)
23rd November
2010
written by Steph

To all you chick lit/rom com lovers out there: Don’t say I never do anything for you! While I admit that the number of reviews here at S&TI! that feature the fluffier and zanier side of an estrogen-filled life as featured in books with pretty little high-heeled shoes on their spines is somewhat lacking, I wouldn't want anyone to think that’s because I have a vendetta against the genre. Far from it. I know that the Bridget Jones series has gotten some flack over the years, but I unabashedly admit to loving the books (it’s one of the few “Jane Austen inspired” spin-offs I can get behind) and the movies. I’ve also read the majority of the Shopaholic books, and no one knows better than Tony how much I dig sitting down to a girly movie like The Devil Wears Prada or The Prince and Me (surely a prime example of the “so bad it’s good!” school of movie making). Heck, When Harry Met Sally is one of my very favorite movies. I have been known to watch it on loop, laughing EVERY time. Some may call that boring, but I find it comforting. The same can be said for chick lit. I don’t read much of it any more, largely because I have found that I tend to prize prose and innovation in my recent reading material over the past few years. I think there are things that chick lit does very well, but one thing I tend not to find it is very surprising. Normally by reading the back cover, one has a pretty good idea of how things are going to shake out by the end, and while I do think there are authors out there who take a rather inventive approach to the genre (Emily Giffin is one such author, in my opinion), most of the time I find most chick lit formulaic. You have a sassy (if not clutzy or down-on her-luck) heroine who for various reasons cannot find Mr. Right (normally because she is currently involved in some capacity with Mr. Wrong). Throughout the course of the novel, said heroine goes on a journey of self-discovery that involves not a few embarrassing situations but it all pays off in the end because she miraculously manages to snag a man (or a job) who loves her “just as she is”. Cue the end credits and bump in one’s ovulation cycle and the novel has delivered all it has set out to do. We’ve laughed, maybe we’ve cried, but mostly we’ve been entertained, perhaps in a predictable and slightly mindless way, but hey, sometimes that’s what one needs. (more…)
13th September
2010
written by Steph

Moon Tiger won the 1987 Man Booker prize, and yet I feel like it’s a book that few people know about or think to read. That’s a real shame, because there’s a lot to like about this powerful and thoughtful novel. Provided you aren’t one who is put off by narratives that are largely reflective in nature and spend a good deal of time musing about society, history, the general nature of life (and one’s position in it), love, family, and evolution within one’s lifetime. It’s a novel of ideas and one I found very provocative and also rather mesmerizing… but those looking for lots of action and linear plot structures should certainly look elsewhere. Moon Tiger is a novel based around a dying woman’s recollections of her life. As Claudia Hampton lays dying in a hospital bed in London, she drifts in and out of consciousness and memory, dwelling on her past and how it has informed her present, determined to write a history of the world in which she is the central character. Having spent much of her life as a “popular historian” of sorts, this final endeavor is second-nature to Claudia, and as she attempts to frame the events of her own life, we are given a vivid peek into the life of a brash and determined woman as she struggles with the ever-shifting sands of the world. (more…)
10th December
2009
written by Steph
Well, I'm sick of Jennifer Johnson, so there!

Well, I'm sick of Jennifer Johnson, so there!

The reading slump continues, I’m afraid.  My brain has just been so g-d tired the past few weeks that I’ve been exceedingly picky about what I can/cannot read and most books in my TBR stack haven’t even been making it off the pile before I decide to hold off on them until later.  There’s nothing like the library to help make up your mind, however, as looming due dates help certain books wedge their way into your field of view; with lengthy queues on most new releases many of them wind up being “now or never” reads.  Jennifer Johnson... wound up being one such read. I first read about this book over at the Girl Detective’s blog.  Based on the cover I probably wouldn’t have given it much consideration, but her review convinced me that this was something other than your run-of-the-mill chick lit, and actually manages to pull of something relatively cool with the genre, so I thought I would give it a go.  The basic premise is that Jennifer is single and miserable, working in a lame copyrwriting job for a local department store, where she has a passive aggressive boss and the only thing getting her through the day is her gay pal, Christopher, and the Cinnabon girl in the foodcourt.  Her forrays into online dating have only led to more pain, and to add insult to injury her sister and her ex-boyfriend are both getting married on Valentine’s Day.  Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Brad Keller, who just happens to be the son of the man who is president of the department store where she works, waltzes into her life and actually appears interested in her!  All of a sudden, Jennifer is getting exactly what she wants… but at what cost? (more…)
3rd December
2009
written by Steph
It's the return that possibly no one was waiting for!

My December review for BookPage

And now for something entirely different, head on over to BookPage and check out my review for the December issue, where I covered the sequel to The Nanny Diaries, Nanny Returns.  No, really, I did!  Can you tell December is slim pickings when it comes to new releases? Ok, but seriously, even though chick lit is really not a genre that I tend to kick back with if given my druthers, I will admit that I used to dig this stuff and even read the original Nanny Diaries way back when… and I’ve even seen the movie!  So how did the sequel hold up?  I think I nail it on the head when I say that if chick lit is your think and/or you really liked the first, then the sequel really isn’t all that shabby.  Not going to win a Pulitzer any time soon, but not all fiction strives to do that, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes you just want something fluffy and fun!  And I will say that it was an interesting exercise to read this and then to review it from the perspective of someone who is this book’s target reading audience and put my own biases aside… this book may not be in my wheelhouse, so to speak, but I’m actually quite happy with how the review turned out.  Take a look and let me know what you think! [P.S. If I were rating this on the site, I'd give it a 2 out of 5, simply because it just really isn't my kind of book, and all things considered, fluff may be fluff, but I'm still taking the writing and the plot into account when I'm evaluating a pleasure read... See above for this not winning the Pulitzer any time soon. Maybe it deserves something higher if I were grading on a "chick lit curve", but honestly I don't read enough of that genre to place this accurately on that curve, so we'll stick with my rating, which I bestow regardless of genre.] Oh, and since we're all disclaimer-y these days, I was given the book for free.
22nd August
2009
written by Steph
Like an episode 24... only with more makeup

Like an episode 24... only with more makeup

First off, this marks my 44th book read this year.  An odd number to flag, I realize, but one with personal significance for me.  You see, last year I read a grand total of 44 books.  So this read was momentous because it signaled that anything I read from here on out will be an “improvement” over last year… I didn’t really set myself any hard goals number-wise for 2009 as I don’t really see the point in that (it seems to detract from the real reason for reading, in my mind), but I did think somewhere that I could probably hit 50 books.  And now, with just over 4 months to go, I’m sure I will! (Wouldn’t it be sad if I somehow didn’t manage to read 6 books in the next 17 weeks or so?) Now, one thing I’ve been lamenting privately to Tony about is the fact that this year has had some really good (even great) reads crop up for me, but I haven’t encountered any 5-star books.  That is probably more important than reading lots of books, and I’ve been feeling a bit bereft that the magical alchemy that produces a perfect book for me has been so elusive.  Every book I pick up, I do so with the fiercest hope that it will somehow shake my very foundations of who I am as a reader.  I very much hoped that Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day would be that book. (more…)
15th June
2009
written by Steph
Not all Greek to me!

Not all Greek to me!

Since the weather has finally gotten consistently warm here in Nashville, I’ve been wanting to take advantage of the fact that our building has a pool and do some tanning and swimming.  I’ve talked fleetingly of my search for appropriate “pool reads” (and I’ll probably be posting more about that in the future… so stay tuned), which it turns out is a pretty perilous proposition.  You need a book that isn’t too dense, since lazing about in the sun can make the mind sluggish, but it’s important the book be engaging and not vapid, because otherwise there’s no incentive to read instead of getting into the pool.  After a little bit of soul searching, I settled on Beginner's Greek (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens doesn’t seem quite right for the summer, does it?  Don’t all those moors evoke Autumn to you?), which turned out to be a great choice. Billed as a modern-day Jane Austen novel (or chick lit written by a man), Beginner's Greek revolves around Peter Russell who is a romantic at heart and is waiting to find his true love.  He tells us that whenever he gets on a plane, he really believes that this will be the trip where he is seated next to a beautiful woman with whom he will fall hopelessly in love.  Lo and behold, on a cross-country trip from New York to L.A. Peter finds himself across the aisle from Holly, a beautiful and charismatic young lady and it seems the two form a magnetic attachment.  She gives him her number and tells him to call her while he’s in town, and he vows to do so… only to lose the paper on which her number is written and with no other way of tracking her down (you see, she never told him her last name).  The rest of the novel then chronicles the ups and downs of Peter & Holly’s lives (as well as the people who orbit around them) as they try to make their way back to one another. (more…)