Chick Lit and the armchair traveller

Chick Lit is not as popular as it once was, at least publishers seem to think so. Chick Lit is light, quick, generally uplifting, at times thought provoking, romantic and quirky.  Armchair travel seems to quite easily rub up against chick lit – plenty of romance, exotic locations, quirky interesting characters and plenty of action. Try out some of these titles:

Head Over heelHead over Heel Chris Harrison

On a trip to Dublin, Chris falls head over heels in love with Daniela, an Italian girl with eyes the colour of Guinness, and follows her to her small home town of Andrano on the coast of Puglia. Among olive groves and cobblestone lanes, Chris takes us on a moving, insightful and often hilarious journey into the heart of Southern Italy.  Can this relationship with Southern Italy possibly survive or will the sweet life turn sour?

My Paris DreamMy Paris dream : life, love and fashion in the great city by the Seine Kate Betts

On a leap of faith Betts moves to Paris to throw herself into Parisian culture, master French and a find a job that would give her a reason to stay. After a series jobs, she begins a magnificent apprenticeship at Women’s Wear Daily and is initiated into the high fashion world. Betts gives us a view of what it is to be a  young woman, finding yourself, falling in love, and exploring this dazzling world all at once.

Cover of 50 year silenceA fifty-year silence : love, war and a ruined house in France Miranda Richmond Mouillot

After escaping the Nazi occupation, Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in the south of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand and the two never saw or spoke to each other again. This is the account of Miranda’s journey as she immerses herself in letters and archival materials, slowly teasing out what happened to her Grandparents.  Along the way she finds herself learning to survive, and to thrive in making a home in the village …and falling in love.

Sideways on a ScooterSideways on a scooter : life and love in India Miranda Kennedy

When twentysomething reporter Miranda Kennedy leaves her New York job and travels to India with no employment prospects, she longs to immerse herself in the turmoil and excitement of a rapidly developing country. She Lives in Delhi for more than five years, experiences friendships, love affairs, and alters her own attitudes about everything.

Ho Not to Travel the WorldHow not to travel the world : adventures of a disaster-prone backpacker Lauren Juliff

When Lauren left to go travelling, she thought she would instantly become a glamorous backpacker. But after being mugged, scammed, caught up in a tsunami and experiencing a very unhappy ending during a massage, she realised that learning how NOT to travel the world was the most enlightening experience she could have hoped for. It was just as she was about to give up on travel when she stumbled across a handsome New Zealander with a love of challenges…

The whirlThe whirl : men, music & misadventures Jane Cornwell

Travelling the world in search of love, great music and good stories, Cornwall collects relationship ‘experiences’ the way the rest of us do souvenir tea towels or postcards.

A fearless and funny search for love, connection and a man who can dance salsa with her (and not ask for money afterwards), this is a truly sexy travel memoir of music, men and mistakes for the adventurer in all of us.

Love in the elephant TendLove in the elephant tent : how running away with the circus brought me home Kathleen Cremonesi

On a whim, this former administrative assistant with wanderlust took a job as a dancer in an Italian circus and, working her way up, became an ostrich-riding, shark-taming showgirl. Kathleen bonds with the exotic animals that could strike and kill at any moment, but instead bring her a peace she has never known. And when she stumbles into the arms of Stefano, the sexy elephant keeper, she finds a man who understands her wild spirit.

Chick Lit – Undercover Delights

CoverOk, I confess. I am a literary snob. I happily join the ranks of uptight people who read books described by the Times and Margaret Atwood as ‘meaningful’, ‘thought provoking’ and ‘poignant’. I revel in subplots, experimental language and universal themes. Yearly, I anxiously await the Man Booker Prize list so I can rush to the computer and place holds on at least five titles.

However, I have been feeling out of touch recently. A series of delightful female customers have asked me for advice in finding a ‘light read’. I was coming to dread these interactions because they left me gabbling and sounding like I didn’t know what on earth I was talking about, which I didn’t, and I hate that. “If you like…” help pages only go so far.

So, when the Five Book Challenge came along, I decided to leap in and tackle my greatest fear – Chick Lit. The snob in me was appalled but you’ve only got to look at the statistics to see how popular the Chick Lit genre is. Danielle Steel alone has sold over 530 million copies worldwide whereas many titles that make the Booker shortlist have trouble covering publishing costs. I started to wonder if there is more to Chick-Lit than I realised.

My first problem was finding where to start …

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Chick Lit for beginners

If you read chick lit, (and let’s face it heaps of us do), then you can now hold your head high!  The latest award on the Literary front is for Comedy Romance and has been won this year by Lisa Jewell for 31 Dream street Lisa Jewell is no stranger to Comedy Romance (or Chick Lit genre), and had this to say at the award ceremony:

You feel undervalued when you write the kind of fiction I write,” she said. “So it’s great to have this genre given its own night of appreciation and recognition. To win is just wonderful.

I feel somewhat uneasy by this statement. If an author as prolific and as capable as Lisa Jewell feels undervalued, then what are those of us who read these books supposed to feel? 

So hooray for Joanna Trollope, (a judge on this years Romantic Comedy panel) Her blog, “Why I love Chick Lit” sums up pretty well why Chick Lit is so popular.

Comedy romance works for readers because the jokes are underpinned by recognisably real people in recognisably real situations – disappointment, frustration, loneliness, anger, sadness and all the grim old daily human carry-on. In fact, without the gravitas, the jokes wouldn’t work.

So come out from under those duvet covers, and celebrate an award that recognises that chick lit isn’t just froth and nonsense!