In Life

There’s something to be said about reading chick lit or “How I wish Becky Bloomwood was a real friend in real life”

Totally random thought popped into my head yesterday and I thought I’d write an on-the-fly post about it.

See, I don’t like ALL chick lit, but I do enjoy a few authors in particular – Sophie Kinsella (Madeleine Wickham), and Lauren Weisberger.

I once had a friend ask me:

But how can someone so independent, smart and all those things, like something as crappy as chicklit?!

I mean doesn’t that character [Rebecca Bloomwood] make you want to scream and shake her, all the while telling her to get a life and GET IT TOGETHER!?

…what, like I should always be reading Proust and intellectual books to develop my brain and mind further or else I’m some woolly-minded fluff-brained sheep who is part of the gooey-eyed Sheeple?

I love Becky Bloomwood.

She reminds me of myself, sometimes. I can see myself in her actions and the way she acts, and I think if she were a real person in real life, we’d be very, very good friends.

Or at least, I’d want to be her friend.

She’s everything a friend should be – witty, fun, loyal, non-judgmental, indignant on your behalf and generous to a fault.


Anyway, the way I see it, chicklit is good escapist literature.

I like reading it because it makes me laugh (Kinsella in particular, has a real knack for writing things that has made me snort audibly without meaning to), and because I am already way too serious for my career and in my life that I need a little levity once in a while.

Maybe it’s stupid to some people, but I like reading familiar storylines over and over again. You know, the girl, the shopping addiction, the detailing out of outfits and the guy that inevitably comes around and was not perfect for her in the first place, but has swept her off her feet.

Jane Austen anyone?

Pride and Prejudice with Mr. Darcy was probably the originator of all things chicklit and we consider Austen’sΒ works to be “classic literature”!

I don’t think reading stuff like chicklit makes me brain dead or act any differently. I’m not dumber as a result, I’m happy to read it and it is a great way for me to unwind and relax quietly.

What about you? Love it? Hate it?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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28 Comments

  1. Lexy

    The main reason I have veered toward “genre” reading is that I discovered about 10 years ago that a lot of “modern lit” is VERY depressing. I challenge anyone to read a John Updike novel and not want to curl up in a ball. The list goes on and on from there.

    PS Lots of the “classics” are basically soap operas. YAY!!! Read Middlemarch for a great one. You just have to get past the first 20 pages or so.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Modern lit like what Khaled Hosseini writes is so powerful but extremely depressing…

      Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Kasia

    I don’t mind a little bit of chick lit from time to time. I enjoyed Freya North’s books about the three sisters, Pip, Fen & Cat. It’s light reading with a bit of humour at times. Sometimes you just need to give your brain a break and escape.

    It’s more important to be reading something than nothing at all. We shouldn’t diss books because they aren’t literature or classics. Look at how many more readers appeared when 50 Shades came out, definitely not superb literature, but good enough to draw more people to reading.

    I think there’s something to learn from every book we read.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ll have to check out North’s books. Reading in general is good for the soul.

      Reply
  3. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    I don’t read enough in general, so I’ve been trying to avoid chick lit when I do read.

    That said, it’s a fun indulgence. Right along with my Terry Pratchett books. Though I do think Pratchett has a hint of philosophy to him.

    In both cases, they’re not high literature, but they’re fun and escapist.

    And I love the correlation between Austen and chick lit. You’re completely right.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I tried reading Pratchett and couldn’t get into them. You might like Robert Aspirin if you like Pratchett, though.

      Reply
  4. Sally

    I can’t read chick lit at all, with the sole exception of Jennifer Weiner’s “In Her Shoes”. It was a little more realistic than other chick lit novels and the plot and characters were well done. But in general, I just tend to get bored with these books (even though I always grab them and flip through them at the library). I have a test for chick-lit, and that’s if a brand name is mentioned in the first page of the page, it’s likely a pretty vapid read and I’m going to get bored. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like a vapid read or two! I’m just not into chick lit. My escapist literature is the insufferably snobby, upper crust worlds portrayed by Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, Tom Wolfe, and of course Candace Bushnell. I don’t consider her chick lit, because chick lit in general has to be light- I think Bushnell can be quite dark and I love it. Trading Up is my favorite novel of hers.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      In her shoes was a good book.

      I will have to read the other authors you mentioned. I love Bushnell!! I need to look out for more of her books.

      Reply
  5. Yetunde

    I consider those books “brain candy”. Sure they don’t nourish my intellect, but reading them still feels so good and is a much needed escape. I actually find that as I grow older, “frivolous books” are the only books I can stand to read and like you, I probably average 80 a year.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’m noticing that too — unless it’s a book on a topic I’m deeply interested in like how children learn, I can’t get make it through intellectual books any longer without feeling like I need a break. Maybe if I wasn’t working so much I’d have time to read “smart” books.

      Reply
  6. CaitlynP

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading frivolous literature. I think it is important to keep oneself well rounded, so reading ONLY chicklit wouldn’t sit well with me personally. But as far as I’m concerned wanting to enjoy a little brain candy along with more ‘serious’ or educational topics is not only fine, but recommended.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Oh yeah. My brain needs a break…

      Reply
  7. Irene

    Those books are awesome – they are entertainment and a great read for a lazy weekend or holiday.

    What I don’t understand is the fascination with fifty shades of shit… gray. It’s unrelatable, foolish, and completely unrealistic. The first book was ok (as far as trashy novels go), and from thereon it all went rapidly down the drain. The woman had an orgasm from him just touching her arm… puuhhhlease!! Total garbage books.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hahaha! I read those books and found them OK if a little dramatic and very Twilight in its style although better written than Twilight

      Reply
  8. Lila

    I love to read everything from non-fiction to the classics, philosophy, historical fiction, alternate historical fiction, mysteries, true crime, fantasy, sci-fi, and yes chicklit! I *love* Becky Bloomwood. She is hilarious. Look there is a place for all sorts of books. There is nothing wrong with escapism after all that’s why people go to the movies. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Becky and I would be good friends πŸ™‚ that’s the way I see it.

      Reply
  9. raluc

    Yes to all of the above! A lot of yes!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I think the author is someone I would get along with. Just a feeling…

      Reply
  10. Sense

    Dude, I’m getting my PhD in science, and I read this stuff, too. Love it!! Kinsella makes me laugh out loud.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with some escapist literature once in a while. It means nothing except you like to enjoy yourself. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I was giggling last night, re-reading the series again

      Reply
      1. Sense

        @save. spend. splurge.: I HIGHLY rec ‘Twenties Girl.’ I read it on a flight and my seatmates gave me really uncomfortable glances because I kept losing it in fits of giggles.

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          I read it and liked it too πŸ™‚ I’m re-reading all of her books this month.

          Reply
  11. CorianneM

    I love the Shopaholic series! I think I still need to read the latest installments but I will, someday. Sophie Kinsella is just such a funny writer – and Becky is such an awesome character. I love her too.
    I’m slightly allergic to people who found chicklit “below” what one should read. You just cannot read Proust or whatever all the time – you need a balanced book diet. So sometimes I read/reread chicklit, and even then I read more than other people do (last year 48 books, this year 11 books so far) so yeah let them talk and let us enjoy our chicklit! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Heck yes. I read 100 books last year and while some were probably more junior than adult, I still read them! And the heavier stuff!!

      Reply
      1. Corianne

        @save. spend. splurge.: It’s also why I dislike literature courses from high school a bit. Too much time is spent on trying to get people to read something they don’t like. It’s good to have them be exposed to the classics, but in the end so many people don’t have good reading skills, they would be better off reading something else.

        In high school I was allowed to read other books for my English class, so I read Harry Potter for my English class (when I was about 13/14). It was our third year of English, and there was a set book list, but you could check with your teacher if you could read another book. I think my teacher was more than happy that I was reading a book four or five times as long as any of the list.

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          HARRY POTTER!!! Yes I’d agree with this. We should be allowed to read a range of books, Rowling’s writing and character development rivals the best of them.

          Reply

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