Monday, November 23, 2009

In Defense of Chick Lit

I am an avid reader. It's true that in the last two years my focus has been mainly on YA and kid lit, but I will read just about anything. One of my favorite genres is chick lit. I love it! It is fun, usually a quick read, and it pretty much makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. However, in the last two years of library work I find that my chick lit recommendations are frequently met with disdain. One of my co-workers often looks down her nose when I ask her for recommendations saying "we do not have the same taste in books." When I ask her to expand on this she will gladly inform me that she doesn't read "the kind of books I read," meaning, I guess, that she isn't a fan of the bright colors, high heels, and diamonds on the covers of many of my check outs. But here's the thing: in the past 20 years of reading I can say that I have honestly read thousands of books. Not just chick lit, YA, or kid lit. I read mysteries, classics, the really depressing Oprah's book club picks, paranormal, suspense, short story collections, memoirs, biographies, everything. There have been very few books in my life that I sat aside without enjoying them. Some of them were required reading in school that I later picked up and found that I loved, some of them just didn't really do it for me. And that's okay. All books are have a place, and every book is a match for someone. So, here is the thing about chick lit. It makes you feel good. They are happy stories. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and she gets her dream job. Generally the characters are in their mid-twenties (like me) and are trying to find where they fit in life (also, like me) and usually by the end of the book they have realized that they will be okay. Who doesn't like that message? I love that message! The truth is, a lot of time, life sucks. So it is nice to be able to turn to a happy book, full of cheer, that makes me laugh out loud. I love the "hard" books too, and I think that they have a place. However, as the weather gets grosser, and the days get shorter and darker, I will turn away from my memoirs about women who are living with cancer, my books about the Darfur crisis, and the books that follow recovering drug addicts and instead I will look for books with pink covers and cutesy titles. These books will bring a little bit of sunshine into the bleak winter ahead. So, the next time someone recommends a chick lit book, give it a chance. No, you probably won't learn any new words, or have the opportunity to discuss the political undertones of the text, but you will have fun!

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