Monday, December 8, 2008

Gone Clubbing

What's Jack up to? First Jack's all full of the Christmas spirit giving us all sorts of trouble as we try and decorate the tree and just when I try and pose him to snap a few pics he goes and turns into Ebenezer Scrooge. What's with all the attitude Jack? Too funny.

Although I'm a writer I've never been one to claim to be literary. I guess you could call me a snob in that way. I love romance and am proud of it. I was mad for Jackie Collins growing up, loved Sydney Sheldon, went through a period where I devoured all the Danielle Steele I could and then came Bridget Jones and my love affair with chick lit. Oh, sweet heaven I've found my voice!

So when I read the article in this weeks New York Times style section Fought Over Any Good Books Lately? I was struck but by the two flat out disses at chick lit.

Check this one in reference to a woman leaving her book club because she hated the selections, "Breaking up isn’t so hard to do when it means freedom from inane critical commentary, political maneuvering, hurt feelings, bad chick lit and even worse chardonnay."

Excuse me, what did Chick lit ever do to hurt anyone and how about chardonnay? Yeesh you'd leave a club because you look down on a person's taste in wine. Oh please don't come to my house. You will so hate me and my love of sweet white zin. That's right I said it. I like white zin, historical romance, chick lit and the classics. The complete works of Jane Austen is on my nightstand shelf in case of emergency or duress. You never know when the need of Mr. Darcy will break out and you must combine chick lit with a classic. What is to be done with me?

Now to the second beauty. But I have to backtrack a bit. First off, there are book group facilitators that are paid to lead suburban book club discussions and keep unruly clubbers in line and lead the discussions. Who knew? The members pay the facilitators 250-300 dollars annually. Cool job I guess, but I'm having trouble getting my head around this concept. Groups of adults needing another adult who is not the author or the publisher to lead them in the discussion. In their own homes. Sort of be the expert and make sure no one person takes over the discussion.

Hmm... am I being too critical to think that this sounds like book club baby sitting? If I am tell me. Is this working for any of you out there. Have you tried it?

Oh, but to the second diss. This one is from a facilitator: Another woman decamped because she wanted to read more chick lit. “I hate to sound ponderous,” Ms. Bushell said, “but I have a certain moral obligation. I don’t feel I can be paid for leading a discussion about ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’”

Moral obligation against THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA? What Tha-?! And how many weeks was THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA on The Times bestseller list? Pla-ease.

When is this going to end? Life is way too short and times are too hard for us to not just get over ourselves and lighten up a bit. There is a place for a little bit of everything and no need to put other people's tastes down. I feel that I have a moral obligation to say this and not to drink wine that cost a lot but taste like crap.

I'm leaving you with two questions today:
1.What did chick lit ever do to you?
2. What do you think of book clubs today?

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I did!



first image from kwana and jack
second from The New York Times


Ina J Offret said...

Kwana I read that article too and was amazed at the snobbish elitism and crankiness. I belong to our local library's book group and we meet once a month in a lovely wood panelled room -- the best part is they GIVE you the book (you return it) and the discussions are facilitated by a librarian. Always fun, and one of the ladies always brings home baked goodies.

Before that was in a group which met at various members' homes, but found the format too much, cooking, setting up, I felt guilty at not wanting to go to all that fuss, so the library group works out better for me and the choices are all over the map. Last book was North River by Pete Hamill.

PS I enjoy chick lit, for the record.... xo

Kwana said...

Ina, meeting at your local library sounds lovely and practical and it makes sense using the librarian as a group leader.

I'm part of a wonderful knitting group where we don't all knit but do different crafts and revolve weekly at each others houses. It's very small and we keep it really low key so as not to get crazy with the fanciness and fuss. Who needs it. We also keep it between supportive friends.

So glad to hear you enjoy chick lit. I think there is room for all.

Carleen Brice said...

Get 'em Kwana!!

Carleen Brice said...

Oh, and Jack is a cutie pie!

ミスター。 ç. de garçon said...

you know i may have read that article. i dont get why people dis the importance of chick lit. whoever gave that moniker should be shot tho. its good literature if you get pass the corny category. i love it. im glad its here. and yes people should lighten up.

Joyce said...

Your knitting group was like a book clubwe would read the book, but never talked about it!!!

Oh.... what kind of dog is Jack?!! He is a cutie!!! He reminds of a dog I saw a couple of weeks ago. The people got their dog because he was supose to be a Yorkie. He looks just like Jack!! Shh... don't tell Kelly (our dog) I'm in love!!

Kwana said...

Hi Joyce. Jack is a Yorkie at least that's what they told me:) The vet says so too. Either way I love him. He's just got big ears that don't stand up. Some Yorkies come out that way. Jack is huge he's 21 pounds a big one. Lots of breeders breed them small now but he's a normal full size like they were meant to be. Which is great for my family with 2 kids.

For the longest I was like "what with his ears." I've heard of some people having the ears clipped to make them stand when they come out like this but I could never do that to him. You can click on the "jack pics" link for a few more pics. Sorry I didn't label more.

Kwana said...

Thanks Carleen and C!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

I saw that and also thought, get over yourself!

Kwana said...

Thanks Dessert!

Joanne Rendell said...

sorry i missed your email on the fiction sells list, kwana! i didn't realize you'd already mentioned the NYT piece.

anyway, great minds clearly blog alike! "moral obligation"?? i know, ridiculous and so frustrating.

ddscott said...

You go, Girl!!!

There's a place in life for all "literature". And when I say "literature", I mean that I consider chick lit on the same level as "masters" like Dickens and Twain.

There are days I reach for "The Devil Wears Prada", and other days I need Twain's sharp tongue too.

When the words are sweet music to your eyes, ears, mind and soul, does it really matter what genre you're reading?

It doesn't to this sexy, sassy, smart chick.

I'm also with you on the "crappy costly" wine. I'll take my Soft Red Oliver Wine from Sam's Club at $5.99 a bottle any day over the bottles with names I can't pronounce on their gorgeous labels. I want to like the taste of the classy wines, but I can't seem to get past the bitter bite and sour puckers when it hits my tongue.

Sexy, Sassy, Smart Wishes --- D. D. Scott

Kwana said...

Thanks so much for your comments Joanne and D.D. Just great!

Joyce said...

Kwana that is the same thing told to these people I met!! Hmmm... I'm beging to thing this is my next dog, because I have never seen a large Yorkie and 2 within 2 weeks. Now to find one your size and sweet talk the hubby. Just yesterday I told him if and when we get a dog and if it is med size I want to name it Trebeca. Since I have said that 2 times this morning I have seen the word Trebeca. Do you see the pattern here?!

I will try and find his pictures I would love to see them.

Thanks for the info!! He really is a cutie!! I love the fact he still has the terrier personality too!

Melissa Walker said...

Kwana, I'm with you. Everyone should find a book club that fits, and there's no need to put down others' tastes, just move along.

PS-I bet you can't find me someone who doesn't NEED a little chick lit in their lives sometimes. :)

Kwana said...

Joyce it seems that that type of dog is calling you. Trebeca is a cute name. Like Tribeca in NYC. Fun! The size is great because he's not too dainty. Very hearty. But that personalty! He's so stubborn and hard to train. That's tough. He still won't go outside all the time. The sweetest thing though.

Here is post with a video of him and that personality barking at nothing:

Another after a bath:


Click on the label 'Jack pics' to see the pics. I've added more.

Kwana said...

I am so with you Melissa!

Kayla Perrin said...

Girl, I'd love to come to your house. I love chick lit and absolutely love sweet white zinfandel!

Beth Yarnall said...

Oh Kwana, you and I could be friends. Although I don't care for white zin I do love the chardonnay. Chick Lit like Janet Evanovich and Marian Keyes inspired me to write because although I love to read literary fiction, I can't write it. But I can write quirky, funny and snarky characters, witty, off color, sarcastic banter and blazen hot, make your panties damp love scenes. I LIKE the first person POV. I like that I can read all the words without having to use a dictionary and I like smokin' love scenes that end in happily ever after. I will never join Oprah's book club. Maybe we need a new name for Chick Lit, one without the bitter been-there-Bridget-done-that-Carrie vibe to it. What do you think?

Kwana said...

Thanks Kayla. Stop by anytime!

Hey Beth. I don't mind the name chick lit. The whole chick thing used to bug me but now I'm over it. I guess I owed it. Who knows? The name should just be women's fiction that kicks butt. For me it's all about the voice and feeling of the book. I love first person and the writers you mentioned. We'd totally be friends!

Kayla Perrin said...

This is the thing though--to change the name to "women's fiction" doesn't exactly describe what the stories are. Are they literary women's fiction, erotic women's fiction, romance, etc. I don't mind the term chick lit. Life is too short to get riled up about everything. But then, as a romance writer, I'm used to people putting down the stories I write. I've learned to develop thick skin!

Kwana said...

You're right Kayla. It's too hard to label and something general would not cover it correctly. I'm fine with what it is as long as it's not used a put down. That just makes me mad. But we do need thick skins as there will always be the person quick to put the romance author down.

Michelle said...

Literary elitism is nothing new. Steven King has battled it for years from critics who admit his writing style is amazing and shows obvious talent at his craft. Yet these same critics deem his work as not "literary" because its appeal is commercial (i.e. to a mainstream audience).

I really don't understand the vitrol again genre fiction. Like you mentioned, Kwana: what has chick lit done to hurt anyone? I'm assuming these same decriers are also against romance and science fiction and fantasy.

I understand the idea of bookclubs. Many people don't have others to discuss their taste in books with. I can discuss books with my friends and family and online books, but many people only have themselves. So I have no issue with book clubs. They help sell books for authors (i.e. Oprah's Book club).

However, I don't like the idea of a fascist type book club where certain genres of books are banned without getting a vote from the members of that club. I thought the purpose of a book club was for the members to vote on the selections to read and then discuss, not for moderators to control people or tell what they should read.

It's really a shame that people feel the need to put down books based on theme or genre as "not" literary, and hence unworthwhile. When I was in college, my english professor, who had written a "literary" book said it best: 'Literary novels would not get published if not for the commerical hits like those written by Steven King.'

So perhaps a lot of the vitrol and elitism comes from authors who wish their literary manuscripts has a more mainstream appeal.

Kwana said...

Wonderful points Michelle!

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