Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Foray into ChickLit

Isn't it nice to be disproved on some belief that you have held onto so steadfastly for so many years? Well, perhaps not always, but sometimes it makes for such a cool suprise.

I've always dismissed ChickLit as exactly what it is portrayed to be: light, fluffy and frivolous. I've always tended to dismiss the people who read them similarly. "Why do they read such trashy, easy nonsense?" I've pondered time and time again. "Don't they want something more challenging to read? Don't they want their minds exposed to new worlds and ideas, instead of sticking to books that feeds you stories based on the same tired topics you talk to your girlfriends about day-in, day-out?"

Well, perhaps now I am one of those light, fluffy, frivolous ladies. Or perhaps I've always been and wanted to see myself so much as serious, totally no-nonsense and intellectual. LOL! Or perhaps, more plausibly, it's something we all like to indulge in from time to time.

I've been pretty busy with work and life for the last few months. It's been so bad that the only things I tend to read these days are magazines. When I have managed to complete books, they have tended to be on topics related to work or my post 9-to-5 interests (technology and gender, non profits, etc). I could feel myself slowly morphing into those staid people who only read books related to their jobs, business, making money, becoming a better/kinder/more confident/more fully actualised person or ............. (you can fill in the blanks - you know books of this ilk). In short, I was only reading books "for a purpose" - I am sure you know what I mean.

Anyway, a colleague of mine gave me a book to read (it's been so long since someone just gave me a book to read out of the blue without me asking for it, or without even their knowing that I normally love to read). I looked at the book somewhat doubtfully, while she assured me that it was a really good read. It was Tuesday's Child by Louise Bagshawe. It was an easy read, I'll say that much and kind of interesting. Overall though, it was just okay. I returned it to its owner, reassured that my feelings about this genre of soft literature was entirely justified.

Then she gave me Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes. Phew! What a fabulous writer, is all that I can say. And so funny too! The themes are definitely girly: men, men, sex, friends, men, work and more men. But her writing was so wickedly funny and her observations of people so on-point. LCS was also an easy read, as I wolfed down the pages in record time (reading and finishing a book in small slices of time spread over 4 weeks is a record for me these days, okay?). Now, I remember why I read so many books as a girl. Aside from that fact that I had a laser-like ability to concentrate (which is now strangely gone), the books weren't very difficult to read.

I suppose until my life gets a lot less harried, I will be indulging in more chicklit. Who has time to start the same Doris Lessing book three times and still only be in Chapter 2? Err... okay perhaps I do - I can't imagine a life without my fav authors (or potential new favs) - even though I cannot be fully present in our love affair right now (I feel like a thoroughly uncommited boyfriend right now). The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is sitting on my bookshelf right now, staring at me and willing me to pick it up. Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo, which I came close to starting, has totally given up on me. Feminist Theory by bell hooks, which I started in December 2005 and am still yet to finish, is just glaring at me with utter derision.

Okay, okay, please don't look at me like that. I'll get to you all one day soon, I promise. Well, sometime before I turn 40. Or at least before I start having children. Okay, failing that, I will share my golden years with you. It's a promise.

6 comments:

Uzo said...

LOL. I find that having a balance is great. I read anything that catches my fancy so I will go through a Zadie Smith book today, do the mandatory management book tomorrow and cuddle up with thrashy jackie collins the day after. I love Marian Keys...

Try Jane Green, The shopaholic series...

Balance my dear. You are so young and smart but some mindless fluff is good for the soul too....

obyno said...

you are so, so obviously in denial Ore, and I mean no disrespect at all. Frankly I think you need help! So like your good neighbour, I'ma gonna giva da help to you.
It's clear you are indulging in Dolly Pattonesque lit out of guilt. You spurned Doris Lessing, elbowed Ata Aidoo, fell asleep while Toni Morrison spoke and so clearly are begging to be punished for it all by imagining that redemption can be found in the forgetfulness Chicklit is replete with!
Well I've got news for girl; You are not the only one. 1)it won't last. You are like a sobering alcoholic who mistakenly fell out of the wagon just once with no one watching. You will flagellate yourself a bit but soon common sense will take over when you realise that what you alone know, will hurt no one else(but you know, don't you?). So you will pick up yourself and get back on that wagon.
2)It will happen again. And you will recover. Again and again and...
I guess that's why they call it escape literature. But do read a 'smart book' once in a while o.k. A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste![TIC]

uknaija said...

Read what you like jo- life is too short- hope you're better

Ore said...

LOL!!!! Thanks, I'm feeling much better now.

Indeed, life is too short not to do things that you enjoy.

Jolade said...

qHa... Marian Keyes, she is a delight!
I have all of her books and I am definitely not into ChickLit. I am more of a Twain/Dumas/Harding/Austen person...but Marian Keyes lightens the heart...
I recommend my personal fav,'Lucy Sullivan is getting married'.
I have beside me her latest 'Anybody out there' which I picked up in Tralee and I am rolling

Ore said...

Jolade, I think I saw the ad for Lucy Sullivan and I thought it sounded like a good read. My colleague who lent me the book has been in London for the last week and said she'd get some more books. I can't wait. I think I might have seen some M Keyes at Nu Metro. Will check when next I am there.