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Can you recommend a chick-lit book that's so good it "transcends the genre"?

(28 Posts)
Issy Sun 19-Jul-09 15:49:14

The book club I belong to has monthly themes and this is the theme for August. I recognise that it's a poncey theme, but we were trying to come up with some fun but satisfying books for the summer holidays.

We decided that 'Chick-lit' can cover any novel that is written by a woman, is largely about a romantic relationship (or relationships) and has a broadly happy ending. I think that covers anything from Jane Austen to Marion Keyes.

We're looking for two books: a book that really does transcend the genre and a 'guilty pleasure'.

schneebly Sun 19-Jul-09 15:52:40

I love Capri by Belinda Jones is my favourite guilty pleasure smile It made me feel like I had actually been to Capri (and fallen for an Italian!)<<sad reality check>> grin

Issy Sun 19-Jul-09 15:55:37 sr=8-4

This one scheebly?

Looks good particularly as we're going to Italy on holiday in August! Any suggestions for the 'higher brow' alternative?

bran Sun 19-Jul-09 15:58:04

I think Pride and Prejudice is chick lit, but I'm sure many would disagree with me. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie is on of the best of the genre IMO, it's my cheer-myself-up book. I'm not sure it actually transcends the genre though.

schneebly Sun 19-Jul-09 16:00:07

Yes that one. smile

The reviews pretty much say what I wuld say about it - perfect escapism and wonderful descitpions.

As for the higher brow choice I am not so sure grin Since I went to University my reading for pleasure has been distinctly low-brow grin I think probably to balance up the more 'difficult' reading I have to do for my course!

schneebly Sun 19-Jul-09 16:00:39

dodgy typing!

bran Sun 19-Jul-09 16:02:13

Susan Elizageth Phillips is probably my guilty pleasure, particularly Ain't She Sweet. There's no connection to real life whatsoever, fab. grin

Issy Sun 19-Jul-09 16:05:13

bran: I think P&P falls firmly within the genre as I've defined it. I think most people would probably add 'by women exclusively for women' and 'undemanding' to the characteristics of the genre, but we wanted to find something that was romantic but also exceptionally well-written, thought-provoking and could sustain a bit of discussion.

Mumsnut Sun 19-Jul-09 16:08:46

I can heartily recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Delightful, romantic, well-written but also has something to say about war and occupation.

Tinker Sun 19-Jul-09 16:12:30

'A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy' by Charlotte Grieg - here - is good fun.

Earlybird Sun 19-Jul-09 16:38:13

I haven't read either book, but these two are on my list as they come highly recommended from people I know who love to read: r=1-1

Not sure if either would qualify as 'chick lit' though.....

Are you our old Issy, back for a visit? If so, hope you are well. I've missed seeing your around here.

Issy Sun 19-Jul-09 17:19:02

Hi Earlybird: Yes I'm the 'old' Issy. (very old grin!) I'm very flattered that you remember me.

I've been missing Mnet and thought I'd sidle back in....

londonartemis Sun 19-Jul-09 17:24:08

Anything by Jane Elizabeth Varley. Very modern themes of about women's lives. Very readable.

LuluMaman Sun 19-Jul-09 17:25:51

I;ve just read Marian Keyes, 'This charming man' - it was certainly more in depth and challenged some big themes than some of her other books.

moaningminnie2020 Sun 19-Jul-09 17:29:22

Those faraday girls - Monica McInerney, stole it from a hotel swap shelf thingy....fab, just a really good satisfying story, pleasure to read and gives you the warm fuzzies - if that floats your boat. Funny too, not sickly.

lilolilmanchester Sun 19-Jul-09 17:35:28

"the Pilot's wife" by Anita Shreve or "ladder of years" by Anne Tyler.

My most recent favourite book is "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Not what I would call chick-lit but I think it would appeal more to women than men so perhaps it is? Too good for your purposes tho i think, you should read it another time.

LightShinesInTheDarkness Sun 19-Jul-09 17:46:50

Sorry, but I don't think that either Anne Tyler or Anita Shreve are chick-lit.

Allison Pearson's book 'I don't kntow how she does it' is good - she is a journalist and the book is funny and extremely well observed.

lilolilmanchester Sun 19-Jul-09 17:53:53

blush sorry, excuse my ignorance. I always thought chick-lit meant books preferred by women to men.... obviously got that completely wrong.

Ponders Sun 19-Jul-09 17:59:08

The Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks is pretty good.

I haven't read The Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing yet so can't recommend it but the reviews are positive.

(I googled Hunting for Girls to find it & got some shock links)

Ponders Sun 19-Jul-09 18:01:02

Learning to Swim by Claire Chambers is wonderful - my copy has been read so many times by me & my daughters it's battered & bent!

Her other books are good too but Learning to Swim is our favourite.

Ponders Sun 19-Jul-09 18:03:39

Oh I do love these threads on MN when I've run out of books - thanks for starting it, Issy smile

RealityIsGettingMarried Sun 19-Jul-09 18:06:56

Message withdrawn

bran Sun 19-Jul-09 18:15:47

I've read The Wonder Spot, and I can't remember what it was about. It obviously didn't make much of an impression on me.

I really want to like Marion Keyes, and her stuff is very witty and well written but it doesn't suck me in, it doesn't have the escapism element that I look for in Chick Lit.

Welcome to Temptation is essentially Pride and Prejudice set in modern day American Mid-West, and is very tightly written with lots of humour. Assuming that everyone in your book group has already read P&P it might be a good one for a comparison discussion.

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 19-Jul-09 18:16:38

I read Marian Keyes This Charming Man recently as well.
I gave it to my mum as it was the first book that illustrated how deluded alcoholics were about their own behaviour and how it affects their family.

Apparently it was a key factor in her stopping drinking as I finally told her this was how she was. Of course there were other things that happened, but this was a very funny, moving book that actually pisses me off that it looks like chick lit.

RealityIsGettingMarried Sun 19-Jul-09 18:19:18

Message withdrawn

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