I have always loved reading since I can remember! In fact, since I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids that always came by my house to play, in order to stay in and read, my parents would tell my friends that I had been punished!
I taught elementary school for 14 years and have spent the last 10 years working with my husband. Now that I have more personal free time I am able to read more throughout the year and not just in the summertime.
I have a Kindle, a Nook and an Ipad2 that I use to read books as well. Although I have these electronic readers, I still like my books better!
Download and print this cute bookmark. Click on the image and save it on your computer, when you print it, make sure you don't print it to fit the page so it will print in real size (2" by 7") Enjoy!
In amongst the reviews of my first novel, Farewell My Ovaries – the good, the lukewarm and, in one memorable instance, the almost defamatory - there was one sentence which was most intriguing.
“One can’t accuse comedian Wendy Harmer of writing chicklit… ” the critique began, and then of course the joke was on me, because, as I read on, I was informed that what I had written was something possibly even more noxious – “hen lit”. “It should go down well with the horny housewife,” was the reviewer’s conclusion.
It was of course the word “accuse” which took my eye, as if writing in the genre of “chick lit”, or its older sister “hen lit”, was something to be ashamed of.
There are many snobby, pointy-heads in the literary world who despair at the huge sales of books in these two genres. As if somehow, by reading them, millions of women around the world have ruined their appetites for the main course of women’s literature and skipped straight to dessert.
The message is clear. Literature is good for you and this other sugary stuff will rot your teeth.
Apparently though, the health warnings go unheeded.
A study based on an analysis of The New York Times bestseller list revealed that books written by women have doubled their share of sales in the past 20 years and could overtake those written by men in the next 20.
The UK trade magazine, TheBookseller, reported the same trend with almost half the titles in its top 20 by female authors. And a couple of names in the top sellers are enough to make highbrow literary types tear out their hair – Danielle Steele and Maeve Binchy.
I am an unabashed fan of chick/hen lit, and I contend that most who write it off as dumb and unimportant have never read it and haven’t the vaguest idea as to why it’s so popular.
(The term “chick lit” is generally acknowledged to have been first coined in the mid-1990s with the publication of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary.)
The dozens of chick lit titles now crowding the shelves have quite a few things in common, apart from a pastel-coloured cover featuring either a handbag, a martini glass or a pair of high heels.
To be classified as chick lit, the first requirement is a flawed heroine who is looking for what Oprah Winfrey might describe as an ‘ah hah!’ moment.
Our protagonist has a problem and is seeking some sort of resolution – every chick lit book concerns a rite of passage.
But, contrary to the opinion of literary types, the chick is not always searching for Mr Right. Of course the perfect man is usually lurking in there somewhere, but our gal can find him, lose him or, more often these days, realise that he’s not that essential to happiness after all.
The second ‘must-have’ is humour. The book can be chock-a-block with one liners, sweetly comic or darkly satirical, but it should never take itself too seriously. However – and here’s what the critics of chick lit do not understand – the subject matter itself may be very serious indeed.
In fact, the issues of body image, grief, miscarriage, fidelity, infertility, divorce, bereavement, mental health, family estrangement and the entire range of addictions – from shoes, drugs, shopping, sex and, yes, chocolate, are all frequently canvassed.
Renee Zellweger in the movie Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason, based on Helen Fielding’s chick-lit bestseller.
Chick lit often provides the sub-text to the stereotype of the rich and famous purveyed by women’s magazines.
In reality the fashion model has anorexia; the career woman wants to be home with her kids; the glamorous fashion office is no better than a South East Asian sweatshop; the deeply desirable actor is a dickhead.
There are a few things which you can almost guarantee about the young buyer of chick lit – she’s busy, she’s smart , she has money, she wants more from of her life, and, she’s looking for emotional connection.
That’s what chick lit does at its best.
It says: I am like you. I know life can offer more. I understand that I have to look deeper to find the true nature of happiness. I must find the courage to pursue it.
Young women find an outlet for their doubts, desires, frustrations and aspirations through these novels which are not escapist but, instead, set in the world they encounter every day.
I just can’t see the Great Divide between chick lit and women’s literature.
Although, it is true that chick lit is like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead – when it’s good, it’s very, very good; and when it’s bad, it’s #@#$%$#@#!!!!
Hen lit is chick lit a generation on.
The rooster and shared feathery offspring have usually flown the coop (physically or emotionally) leaving a very uncertain hen to contemplate her future. Where chick lit is all Manolo Blahniks and vanilla martinis, hen lit is comfy shoes and cuppas.
The same ideal of the achievement of simple human happiness against the odds is evident; only now the hen is aware that her options are limited, time is running out.
It’s all normal, everyday stuff. But is it any the less for that?
Serious types would contend that it’s a slippery slope from chick/hen lit to shopping catalogues and school newsletters.
It can also be seen as the opposite. It’s actually more likely that readers will graduate from fashion mags, to chick/hen lit and then into serious literature. But if, in the end, women never venture out of the shallow end, who cares? At least they are still swimming and, I might add, keeping many a modern publishing house afloat!
The reason I love chick/hen lit is that I can guarantee, as I turn the pages (sometimes stuck together with a flake of chocolate or a splash of coconut tanning oil) that I will never encounter the following: a grisly detailed autopsy, a fly-blown dead body in a back alley, a nuclear explosion, a hand gun, the jammed landing gear of a private jet, the outbreak of a deadly virus or the drug-addled leader of a terrorist cell.
If you’re like me – an age-indeterminate chick going-on hen – you have enough problems getting the kids out the door to school each morning without terrifying yourself witless with scenarios you’ve never dreamed of.
And if it’s all just banal “women’s stuff ”?
If children, marriage, friendship and happiness are just of marginal concern? Pass me the pastel-covered girlie book and break out the chocolate!