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Old 02-12-2008, 05:03 PM
 
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Why is formula romance called chick-lit? Why aren't there any genres referred to as Guy-lit?

I've been thinking about this for awhile, and I can think of a lot of genres, war stuff, soldier of fortune stuff, westerns, formula mysteries [whodunits] but not a single one is defined by gender. What boggles me even more is how much of that so-called chick-lit, some of the more successful and prolific writers, are actually men. They don't use their own names, though, unless their names could also be construed as a female name.

Any ideas?
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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I'll give it some thought, but I do think there is a "guy-lit" that goes undefined, and is less criticized or referred to critically.

And when I think "guy-lit" is it some of the older Sci-fi writers, cowboy themes and war stories.

Good question, karibear!
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:00 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
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I agree that Karibear's question is good; I also agree with OTR that there is indeed "guy lit" that is perhaps less defined and is certainly less belittled.
I don't think it wastes any more brain cells to read chick lit than it does to read Westerns, sci fi or space opera.

I did not know that some, let alone much of chick lit is written by men.

I haven't read a whole lot of it, partly because I'm kinda over the "Sex in the City" time of life. I remember years ago my then-book club read a chick lit book (the first Bridget Jones book) before the genre had its official title, and I found it amusing but got tired of the calorie-counting.
However, I understand that not all chick lit is working-girl yuppies; there are many subgenres such as Latina etc and I am sure one of those subgenres would appeal to an aging emptynester hippie such as myself.
Why must these subgenres be categorized?
I dunno.
I guess it makes it easier for the books to be marketed.
It kind of takes the fun out of stumbling upon a good book, though.
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Old 02-13-2008, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Lower Hudson Valley, NY
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I think Bridget Jones' Diary sort of launched the whole "chick lit" thing. Most popular books spawn clones, and this one was no exception. Initially, I thought of "chick lit" referring to light romance-y (but not the ones with Fabio and his buddies on the cover) novels, usually about a career girl looking for love. Almost overnight there were tons of them. Now, I think most books that are more likely to appeal to women are referred to as "chick lit". I also think the hoopla over the intial type of chick lit has faded a lot- I know at the time (2001 or so) I related a lot more to those book because I was single, but now (thank heavens!) I've moved on.
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Old 02-13-2008, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Who really knows how these marketing schemes really develop. I don't!

Wiki says it started with Sue Townsend's Mole series (whatever that is)!

I suppose it draws some people in, if it has a label, and discourages others, like me to say away from all these with a label.
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Old 02-13-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
I agree that Karibear's question is good; I also agree with OTR that there is indeed "guy lit" that is perhaps less defined and is certainly less belittled.
I don't think it wastes any more brain cells to read chick lit than it does to read Westerns, sci fi or space opera.
I also like some westerns, it just depends on how well they are written. I started with the old Will James' books, where it was just as likely that the hero did kiss his horse instead of the lady. I also like the more modern [relatively] stories by Louis L'Amour - and I think some very good books of his have been ruined by having been made into second-rate movies. A lot of the 'space opera' mentioned by OTR is also written by women, more and more, as well as fantasy. The war stuff - I dunno. I grew up reading the soldier of fortune mags that my first stepfather kept hidden, so I guess I OD'd on them!

Quote:
I did not know that some, let alone much of chick lit is written by men.
They are, indeed. And still more collaborate with their wives or other female writers. I don't think I'm going to give away any names, you'll just have to wonder.

Quote:
I haven't read a whole lot of it, partly because I'm kinda over the "Sex in the City" time of life. I remember years ago my then-book club read a chick lit book (the first Bridget Jones book) before the genre had its official title, and I found it amusing but got tired of the calorie-counting.
However, I understand that not all chick lit is working-girl yuppies; there are many subgenres such as Latina etc and I am sure one of those subgenres would appeal to an aging emptynester hippie such as myself.
Why must these subgenres be categorized?
I dunno.
I guess it makes it easier for the books to be marketed.
It kind of takes the fun out of stumbling upon a good book, though.
There are a lot that are generally considered 'chick-lit' that are actually mysteries of one kind or another, and if they are well-done, they create whole new worlds to explore and experience. There's one writer I can think of who writes under several different names, everything from mysteries to straight romance to urban fantasy [specifically, werewolves] that is entirely too believable. There's another one who has done mysteries, sci/fi, historicals, international politics - you name it, and they are all very well researched and very well written.

A lot of the most successful mainstream writers started out writing formula romances, and what really amazes me now are the prices some people are willing to pay for those very early Harlequin, Silhouette, etc, books just so they can complete a collection of works by their favorite writer. I don't know why it should, I've been keeping an eye on a .69 cent paperback to replace one that was stolen from me 30 years ago - but 25.00 is a bit steep.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Interesting to hear you read Louis L'Amour, karibear. Very unusual for a girl-bear, or at least I believe you are the first I've heard about. In fact, I wonder how popular he is today?
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
Interesting to hear you read Louis L'Amour, karibear. Very unusual for a girl-bear, or at least I believe you are the first I've heard about. In fact, I wonder how popular he is today?
I started reading him in the '70s, he was very popular with the fishermen then. So popular, in fact, that any and all westerns were referred to as louislamours - one word - and the other popular writer was Robert Ludlum, which caused all simiilar books of that type to be called 'ludlums'. I do know that there is a large and enduring market for L'Amour, you can get leather-bound copies of just about all of his books from a variety of specialty publishers. My favorites were actually the ones about the Sacketts, though I think I've read nearly everything he wrote.

The other best one of the westerns that I can think of right now is one called The Saga of Andy Burnett, by Stewart Edward White. It's a compilation, I think, of several of his shorter works, and traces the settling of the west from just after Daniel Boone [Andy Burnett was a grandson, I think, and carried the Boone rifle on his journeys] through the era of the mountain men on to the US gaining control of California.

Girl-bears have eclectic tastes, just like girl people.
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:54 PM
 
Location: southern california
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i thought that was a mexican gum?
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Undoubtedly, judging by your eclectic tastes.

Thanks for all the extra history. I am familiar with these guys; just don't read them anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karibear View Post
Girl-bears have eclectic tastes, just like girl people.
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