Thursday, July 07, 2005

More Vacation Reading: Chick Lit or Not?

by Anne Zelenka
Check out this hilarious translation of Curtis Sittenfeld's review of Melissa Bank's The Wonder Spot, via Half-Changed World. Who the heck is Curtis Sittenfeld, you wonder? She's the author of Prep, the novel Marjorie read on her vacation. Sittenfeld claims that Bank's novel is just "chick lit." Whatever. I'm not very discerning when it comes to literature; I just want to be entertained. I don't care if it's great literature or chick lit or a textbook as long as it draws me in and keeps me reading. I'll probably skip Prep based on Marjorie's ambivalent review and The Wonder Spot doesn't sound much better from the reviews on Amazon.

I was fortunate to come upon two entertaining reads at the Honolulu hotel where we stayed this weekend. They didn't have our suite ready when we checked in so we waited in a lounge for an hour. The lounge had a library with donated books--I assume that means books that patrons left in their hotel rooms. The sign said to take what you wanted so I did even though Rick and Henry accused me of stealing. The sign said you could! It's not my fault they didn't notice. I picked up The Devil Wears Prada and After You'd Gone. I think these two books must have been left by the same U.K. guest because the first was a British reprint of the American novel by Lauren Weisberger and the second was published originally in Great Britain.

I started with The Devil Wears Prada as it seemed more accessible; it was a light and easy read. I didn't find the heroine very appealing and the denouement was far less satisfying than it could have been. If it gets made into a movie, I bet they'll come up with some ending where the fashion editor from hell sees humiliation at the end. I suppose this novel qualifies as chick lit: single woman in interesting job in a big city, trying to find/keep love and have a successful career at the same time.

Then last night I began After You'd Gone. Now all I want to do is read this book. I haven't gotten lost in a book for years. Books don't seem to have the same magic over me that they did when I was, say, fifteen years old. But this one has enchanted me. I picked it up again at 10 am this morning, when I normally would be studying or running errands or paying bills or doing something else that is my "work." It felt wild in a way. That's the wildness of a 37-year-old married mother of three--reading fiction on a weekday morning.


Anonymous mom said...

I thought the Devil Wears Prada was really tiresome after I was about 1/3 of the way through. I should have sent it to you! I just read the Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas - what a charming find. Dallas is from Denver, and she apparently writes books about Colo. ghost towns, quilting, etc. in addition to fiction. This is a lovely Depression era book about women's friendships (through a quilting circle) and is quite moving - plus a satisfying story.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Anne Zelenka said...

Mom, you're right--DWP got pretty tiresome. I'll see if the library has The Persian Pickle Club. Sounds good. You ought to get After You'd Gone. I finished it last night, weeping through the final chapters.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Marjorie said...

Rick's accusing you of taking a book that was posted as complimentary? This from a man who swiped a Gideon's Bible from a hotel? I didn't think you're really supposed to take those, though I'm sure the Gideons are happy from a ministry point of view...

Good for you, getting lost in a book! My most recent fave is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. The only reason I was familiar with it was because our county was trying to decide whether to ban it from the high school library. Its set in the Middle Ages, so its pretty violent, but I find it very absorbing.

I haven't checked out your link, but Tom said it was really funny. I liked Melissa Banks' book, Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Anne Zelenka said...

Oh, did Rick admit his Gideon's pilferage to you?

I liked the Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing too. I am going to check out Pillars of the Earth. I don't mind violence as long as the story is gripping.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous mom said...

Check out "These is My Words" by Nancy Turner on I ran into it when ordering some Sandra Dallas books. It's a "diary" of Sarah, a pioneer woman, loved by everyone who reviewed it (except a couple of whiners).

10:54 AM  

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