I recently joined a book club, first time ever. I was quite excited because I was hoping to expand my genre with the recommendations from other members. Besides, I like reading and I now have the time to attend a book club once every six weeks. The week before my club met, I was having lunch with a writer friend, and out of curiosity I asked her if she belonged to a book club. She told me that she belonged to an arts and literary guild, but not book clubs, adding, “They read chick lit in book clubs.” I heard the tone of disapproval. I secretly congratulated myself that my book club did not just read chick lit.
I cannot blame her. When I read, I am cerebrally and viscerally involved. I want a non-formulaic plot, I look for character development, the social or historical context, and the author’s style. In short, I am not satisfied unless I experience depth and power in my reading experience. My mind is active. Thoughts and emotions are stimulated. I also want to pause whenever I feel the need to mull over a word, a sentence or an idea. Unfortunately, popular as they are among many women readers, chick lit seldom meets my requirement. At best the books are good, but not good enough for me.
When it comes to chick flicks, my requirement is diametrically different. I watch a movie or DVD only when there is nothing better to do. Essentially it means that I can afford two hours to give my mind a break, allow myself to be occupied and perhaps be entertained. (This can be usually be achieved when I am on a plane.)
For me, watching a a move is a often a passive activity (oxymoron unintended). Chick flicks fit my bill. I like good acting, but when I watch chick flicks, I don’t even expect that. The chick flicks I like? Chocolat (Judi Dench of course), The Devil Wears Prada (none other than Meryl Streep) and Julie, Julia (Streep again). Well, acting does count after all.
(According to Wikipedia, both chick lit and chick flicks cater to the female readers/audience. They feature a female protagonist who deals of issues of womanhood, often related to relationship, but not necessarily love and romance. ChickLitChickFlick.com includes Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as an example of chick lit. If Bronte had known, she would probably have turned in her grave.)