Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is Chick Lit?

I'm curious, for those of you who read chick lit, what do you think is the definition of the genre?

I looked at Wikipedia's definition and it says...

Chick lit is a term used to denote genre fiction within women's fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties. The genre sells well, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit. It generally deals with the issues of modern women humorously and lightheartedly.[1]

Although usually including romantic elements, women's fiction (including chick lit) is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be just as important as her romantic relationships.[2]

I always thought chick lit would basically be a story that would be more interesting to women then to men, regardless of the age. I'm reading a book by Elin Hilderbrand which is about 3 women in their late 30's - mid 40's. It's not humorous, but I don't think it's geared towards female readers as it delves into the relationship of these women. They aren't young 20somethings and it's not LOL funny. (It's an excellent book, btw, and I'll post a review when I'm finished.)

Wikipedia also has a definition for women's fiction...

Women's fiction is an umbrella term for a wide-ranging collection of literary sub-genres that are marketed to female readers, including many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick lit," and other sub genres.

I'm just wondering what the rest of you think? This isn't a formal survey or anything, just some discussion on what chick lit means to you.

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  1. It's a really interesting discussion. One that I have often wondered about myself. I have not been able to define the chic lit catergory so I tend not to use it.

    I will be interested in reading how other bloggers define it.

  2. Honestly in the end I count in books that really makes me laugh, and they just have that look

  3. I always considered chick lit, romantic fiction for the 20 something working girl. I remember the term coming about during the Eighties, when fiction started to change and their were more books aimed at the 20 and 30 year old women. I might be wrong, but this is when I remember it coming about.

  4. I don't think chick-lit is just gearing toward the twenties-something girl anymore. I think even books on women's friendships that are geared toward women are really chick-lit regardless of the age of the women in the book. I think there are even authors now writing chick-lit that has women in their 40's and older and I think it's a great idea.

  5. Alaine - I think a big problem is that many genres overlap. Chick Lit/Romance...even paranormals and science fiction. It's hard to really define.

    Blodeuedd - I know what you mean about having that look. I tend to do that too but it's not necessarily books that make me laugh.

    Scrap girl - That's possible. I don't know when it started, although it seems like it's pretty recent - then again, time is flying so I have no idea. I can't even believe half the year is over.

    Dar - That's what I was thinking too. I don't think the age matters and I think books based on women's friendships or relationships would be considered chick lit.

    I guess in the long run, it's whatever the reader feels it is.

  6. I pretty much agree with the first defn from wikipedia. Although I wouldn't put woman's fiction anywhere close to chicklit.

  7. It's interesting to read everyone's thoughts on us. Thank you all for commenting!

    I'm thinking the age of the women isn't all that important to chick lit, but the books should be written more in a lighter vein than the more serious women's fiction. That makes me think the Elin Hilderbrand I'm reading right now isn't chick lit, but women's fiction. While something like a Sophie Kinsella is very obviously a chick lit book.

  8. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

  9. This blog is the first place I had ever heard the term "Chic Lit" and I assumed it was romance without a real plot. In other words, sex without substance.

  10. Hi Yvonne:

    I have given you an award! You may pick it up here:


  11. SeraJayne - This is really the first place you saw the term? Wow, it's been used for years and there are many websites about this genre, but it's not a genre about sex without substance. It's usually about relationships (not necessarily romantic ones, sometimes just a group of female friends getting together for a book club meeting and discussing their lives). It can be about a 20something girl concentrating on her career or even a heroine with problems such as weight loss. It's a broad genre, really.

    Missy - Thank you so much!

  12. Okay...I've been around many websites and many people classify Elin Hilderbrand under chick lit. In fact, many of the books I saw on people's chick lit lists surprised me. I guess it really is a broad genre.

  13. Yvonne, thanks for clearing up the definition. I am new to blogging and pleasure reading so no, I really had never heard the term chic lit before this site. I love checking out your blog whenever I get the chance. It's so fun and informative. It has also encouraged me to read more, so thanks for your input on all of these great books. I want to check out "Time Travelers Wife" next.

  14. SeraJayne - Thank you so much for the nice words about my blog. I really appreciate that.

    I have Time Traveler's Wife and it looks so good. I saw some great reviews for it.

  15. don't you sometimes feel that "chick lit" is used in a derogatory way, putting down the whole genre as too light and fluffy to be seriously good, even though some of it tackles heavy issues? We don't dismiss hard edged thrillers as "bloke lit" or children's books as "kid lit". So why the lazy label by the powers that be?

    A lot of it is simply "great lit" or "unputdownable lit".

    Laura Essendine
    The Accidental Guru Blog

  16. That's a good point. Sometimes I do think it's a bad label to use. Chick lit does insinuate that the books are frivolous. That's why I'm a bit confused on the definition. They aren't all humorous - LOL books. Some really do handle the tough issues.


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