Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back to my (chick lit) roots

I had posed a question to the group on facebook yesterday:

What is the first book that got you started on the road to Chick Lit?

This was my answer:
Mine is "Bridget Jones's Diary." I was reading a lot of mystery and horror novels in high school and college. I got into Katherine Stone's books, but I think she's classified more as romance than Chick Lit. I read BJD in 1998 and laughed throughout the story. That got me interested in more chick lit novels and by 1999 (after I graduated college) I was hooked on a new genre. :)

I wanted to elaborate a bit...
When I was a kid, I liked a younger version of Chick Lit known as "Sweet Valley High." I also was into "The Babysitter's Club." SVH was a bit ahead of my time, since I was in 5th grade and they were talking about high schoolers. The author put out another series called "Sweet Valley Twins" and it was about Jessica and Elizabeth's junior high days. BSC had girls closer to my age and I could relate because I was babysitting a lot too. Both series had their share of drama and romance, but more on the level that was age-appropriate for those books.

In junior high and up through college (and a bit beyond), I read V.C. Andrews' novels. I was addicted and even made a fan club. Someone from the club told me about Katherine Stone and that was my first encounter with romance novels. I was reading those, along with a mix of horror and Oprah-friendly novels. Basically, anything I could get my hands on!

During the summer of 1998, I picked up "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding. I laughed out loud throughout the story and couldn't put it down. At the time, I didn't think to categorize it as chick lit and went back to read my usual favorite types of books. After I graduated from college, I was taking the train a lot for job interviews and later for a short-lived contract position. Therefore, I needed books! One such book was "Watermelon" by Marian Keyes. I also loved that story and was excited to check out more of her books as they came out. Then I read "Run Catch Kiss" by Amy Sohn, which was a funny story about a Jewish version of Carrie Bradshaw. Eventually, I just got hooked on chick lit. I still read some Oprah recommended books and biographies, but chick lit takes precedence over my bookshelf.

I have friends who also like chick lit and we have done book exchanges. I am still doing a book exchange with one of them, even though we end up holding on to each other's books for a long time. I loan one of my neighbors all my chick lit books, as well. It's nice to have someone close by to share in my love for chick lit. I had been e-mailing with a few friends on facebook to discuss books we are reading and share recommendations or other chick lit news. That is what inspired me to start this group. I actually started it last year but didn't have the time to focus on it with my upcoming move. I don't know what inspired me to pay more attention to it, but I'm glad that I did. It's starting to flourish and even gain attention from authors, so that's very exciting. The more the merrier! I'd love to be able to write a chick lit novel someday, but I don't have the motivation at this time in my life. I always have story ideas running through my head though.

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