In defense of bubblegum books

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I read a pretty wide variety of books. Everything from classics to YA fiction to travel memoirs to brand new authors' books tend to make it onto my bookshelves. But sometimes my brain needs a slight break, something frivolous. If nothing else, reading an occasional bubblegum book increases my appreciation of other books. It makes me long for a character I can dig my teeth into and a plot where I don't know what will happen next.

My mom used to call these books "bubblegum books," because it may taste good for a second, but there's no real substance. They are also frequently referred to as "chick lit," though I really hate that term. It just sounds so damn perky.

But I think that even when you're reading a bubblegum book it should be a good one. There is a LOT of bad "chick lit" out there, but there is some good stuff too. There are some wonderfully funny characters and entertaining plots in every genre, including this one.

So here's a couple I've enjoyed over the years:

-Bridget Jones's Diary
-The first 3 Shopoholic books (it's all downhill after that)
-Maeve Binchy's books
-Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson's series
-The Nanny Diaries
-Jemima J and The Beach House by Jane Green
-The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
-The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks
-The Notebook
-The Sisterchick series by Robin Jones Gunn (I might like these because they are all about traveling in foreign countries)
-The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

Bad ones to avoid (in my opinion)

-Anything by Candace Bushnell (I loved the show, hate her books)
-Babyville by Jane Green
-Just about everything by Nicholas Sparks (I really like Three Weeks with my Brother and some of his very early fiction, but that's where I draw the line. Reading his books is a bit like drinking maple syrup)

p.s. A good way to try out chick lit authors to see if there's one you can stomach is by reading collections, like "Girls Night In" or "Irish Girls About Town."

Thoughts on bubblegum reads? Any favorite guilty pleasures reads out there?


Amanda said...

I read the Girl's Guide to Hunting in Fishing when I was sick with the flu in Paris, and I loved it.

Also, Angus, Thongs, etc. makes me snort soda out my nose.

Jeanne said...

I loved all the Georgia Nicholson books, but am glad she finally said enough. The neologisms kept me and my daughter laughing.