Sporty Chick Lit: The One & Only

I’m having a good reading week. Finally.

I finally read, and enjoyed, The Hotel at Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo. I’ve been trying all week to come up with a review that accurately portrays the book – I’ve scrapped three attempts so far.

After that I read The One & Only by Emily Giffin. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the last book of Giffin’s that I read left me feeling kind of “meh.” That was a number of years ago and I haven’t had the urge to read another of her books til now.

When I logged the book on Goodreads, I made the mistake of glancing at the reviews of the book so far. Lots of one star reviews. Even more grumbling about how it was like reading a bad episode of Friday Night Lights (a show that I’m currently taking down on Netflix). I wondered if I had made another poor book choice.

But I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. I liked that this book, a definite “chick lit” pick, was set in a small town in Texas instead of New York, London or LA. I liked that the main character didn’t work in PR or publishing but that it still had all the elements of classic chick lit: best friend in touch 5 times a day; a string of eligible and not so eligible men to date; a romantic dilemma enmeshed with tons of dramatic complications.


Shea Rigsby lives in Walker, Texas, a town obsessed with college football. Their team, headed by Coach Carr, happens to be one of the best in the NCAA. Shea has grown up as a surrogate sister to Lucy, Coach Carr’s daughter. When Coach Carr’s wife Connie, hugely popular in the community and the foundation of her family’s life, passes away suddenly everyone stumbles as they try to form an existence without her. Shea, a close friend of the family tries to juggle being there for her best friend Lucy in the aftermath with her growing realization that she’s not living the life she ought to be and working out her confusing romantic feelings for the aforementioned string of potential bachelors: Miller, the gym coach who’s a nice guy but can barely remember to pick up the mail every day; Ryan James, the star quarterback for “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys; and most conflicting of all, Coach Carr, recent widower and father of her best friend.

I would agree with some of the comments that the characters aren’t super well-developed. It’s a first person narrative that doesn’t delve too deeply into the psyches of the supporting cast. The rest of the characters kind of slot themselves into spots direct from central casting: bossy best friend, sexy older man, QB with emotional problems, absentee dad trying to make good etc.

But I liked the book for taking the genre in a new direction, for centering a romantic story on a girl who loves sports in a football crazy town. I liked that Shea was able to hold her own with the men in her world and even though the romantic story line between Shea and Coach Carr did make me a smidge uncomfortable (don’t get me wrong, I love me an older man. But her best friend’s dad?? Her surrogate father? Less than a year after his wife died? *shudder*) I liked the way Giffin worked through the story line.

I unapologetically enjoyed this one! If liking chick lit is wrong, I don’t want to be right!


Coming Soon: Books I’m Waiting For

Spring is almost here. I can feel it. The days are so much longer, tiny flowers are starting to poke through the ground and the sun is finally up to making more regular appearances. I went for a walk at lunchtime yesterday and it was sunny and warm and so wonderful.

While we all start shedding our winter coats and dreaming about the not-so-distant days of patio lunching and t-shirt weather, can we also take a minute to think about all the great books that are coming out to celebrate the season with us?

I don’t know if you’ve let yourself loose in a bookstore recently (I keep finding myself in them despite trying so hard to stop buying more books!) but they are clearing out a lot of books to make room for the new titles and it’s really becoming a problem. So if you love a good book discount (and who doesn’t?), you need to get in on that.

Aside from the books that are already laid out on tables and set up in window displays, here are some of the ones that I’m most excited about coming out soon.

Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg. It’s no secret that I love Camilla Lackberg. If I could read Swedish I would have finished reading all her books by now. But I can’t so I must wait for English translations. Her seriously creepy, yet strangely domestic books about all the murders that happen in a small Swedish town are addictive and I can’t get enough. Looks like I won’t have to wait much longer – Buried Angels is set to come out April 15th.

Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui. I’ve already ordered this – as soon as it’s released it will be on it’s way to me. I’ve long hoped that Lainey Gossip would write a book; her blog is full of sharp observations and caustic remarks that always seemed to be begging for a book deal. Her memoir about life with her mother, a huge presence on her blog and in her life, is sure to be crammed full of excellent advice and hilarious anecdotes. I am so looking forward to it’s debut April 8th.

The One and Only by Emily Giffin. It’s been a while since I’ve read any of Giffin’s books. I remember devouring Something Borrowed and Something Blue, and enjoying Baby Proof. There’s something about spring weather that makes me want to read something chick lit-y and I suspect that this new book of Giffin’s will more than fit the bill. I can expect to carry The One and Only home with me on May 27th.

It would appear that Jo Nesbo has really taken off in North America. It seems that every time I turn around, a new Jo Nesbo book has made it to bookshelves. Cockroaches, then The Police and now The Son. Like Lackberg, Jo Nesbo is a master at dark and twisty crime fiction. The difference of course, is that Nesbo’s hero is just as dark and twisty as his cases. It looks like this one doesn’t feature the infamous Harry Hole though which definitely piques my interest. The Son is out on May 13th.

Did you read Room by Emma Donoghue? I did and it stayed with me for weeks. I put off reading it for ages and when I finally gave in, I was completely swept up in it. Emma Donoghue has another book out this spring – Frog Music. This one takes place in 1870s San Francisco and centers around a murder in a saloon. I’m into it. The cover design alone is worth stopping and taking a second look. Frog Music comes out on March 25th.

I can’t wait for these books to come into my life! It’s going to be a pretty alright spring. Any books that you’re waiting to be released?


Nothing Wrong With A Little Chick Lit

The other day I came across this article that sounded like it was about Sophie Kinsella and how chick lit is awesome, but really it wasn’t. It was more about questioning if chick lit doesn’t do more harm than good.

For some reason, the idea of chick lit is deeply abhorrent to a lot of people. Something about it dumbing women down, making women seem ditzy and scatterbrained, and reinforcing the notion of women as the weaker sex? Something. I don’t know. I personally have never understood the uproar.

I am a self confessed, unabashed lover (and promoter) of chick lit.

In my personal opinion, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes are the complete and total Queens of the genre, dominating my own bookshelves for years now. But there is room for the likes of the equally impressive Emily Giffin, Jane Green and Cecelia Ahern (whose work *confession* I have not read as yet only because I’m terrified of crying (see: sobbing) like a baby, having seenP.S. I Love You completely against my will).

I think the argument against chick lit has a lot to do with the perceived materialism exhibited by the female characters in these books and maybe these days, with a pinch of hindsight, that makes folks uncomfortable. But just like I continue to buy Vogue magazine, chock full of all the beautiful things that I will never be able to have, I love to jump into the Shopaholic books and read about all the beautiful things that Becky Bloomwood finds. If I can’t have them, someone should be able to! Even if that someone is a fictional (albeit it fabulous) character.

I like to think of myself as a smart woman. I’m fairly well read. I know stuff. So what’s the problem with reading chick lit? It’s fun, often extremely poignant and there is always something to be gleaned from them about the human condition. And isn’t an emotional education just as important as a formal one?

By attempting to diminish the work of these brilliant women, the people that have an issue with the chick lit genre are belittling their merit and insulting those of us that love their work. When I finish Catherine the Great, I would love nothing more than to have something chick lit-ish waiting for me next. And I see nothing wrong with that.

Bottom line here: I’m going to read what makes me happy, so if you know what’s good for you, you will stop harping on about all this chick lit stuff and let me read it in peace!

Sophie Kinsella’s new one (I’ve Got Your Number) was released this week. I’ve visited copies of it a few times now. Haven’t taken the plunge. Soon my pretty!