International Writers Magazine:
I looked over the
books I own; stack upon stack of over predictable, classically cheesy
and a somewhat pathetic collection of chick-lit novels. Now dont
get me wrong, I love chick-lit and I cant really slate it as like
every other chick-lit reader out there, I am an addict for anything Bridget
When asked about
the state of literature today, I had no idea it would be so difficult.
I sat down to write for what felt like a thousand times, eventually
concluding that I know nothing about literature today, let alone
what state its in. Thats when I decided to write about
what I do know, and what I do know is chick-lit.
However, what do these books say about us as readers? I think they say
that were desperate, lonely and looking for love. They are fairytales
for the modern girl who no longer has time for the epic romances of Jane
Austen and her beautiful Pride and Prejudice. Weve all seen
the film, and dont get me started on the six hour BBC adaptation;
Colin Firth has never looked better! But modern women just dont
have time to read the novel. Its far easier to bung on the DVD and
dream away as we work out, write essays, do the ironing, etcetera.
Or perhaps its not that we dont have the time, but more that
we dont make the time. I dont know about you, but when Im
not a slave to homework, housework, work even, I just want to relax. I
want to watch a story, not read one. I dont want to have to imagine
a character from three pages of over-detailed description, I just need
to see them right there in front of me. Maybe Im just lazy and cant
be bothered but Ill always choose TV or film over a book, just because
its quicker and easier.
So maybe this is where we should think about the state of literature today;
that if literature is in a state it is because of its readers. In fact
the writers should be praised for producing books so convenient for their
For example, the books I love best are not only those that you cant
put down but those that you can! I love a novel thats written in
emails, such as Meg Cabots Guy Next Door or segments
from a diary, such as Louise Rennisons The Confessions
of Georgia Nicolson, as they provide frequent breaks in the
text, allowing the reader to just read a little when they can. I adore
novels that are designed for the modern woman who is hopping on and off
various transports; reading to fill in waiting times, opposed to reading
So why is it that women are so addicted to the content of these novels?
Is it the identifiable lead characters, the light style or the search
for Prince Charming? I think it might possibly be a combination of all
three. Its a book that gives you hope, romance and colour in a world
that provides players, one night stands and grey rain.
So there might be millions of gripping crime novels, enticing supernatural
worlds and a bundle of action thrillers, but when it comes down to it,
I just want a good man, a happy read and a decent seat on the bus. Can
you blame me?
© Emma King November 2007
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