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Text book romance for a ‘Text book romantic’

5 Jun

This going to be a relatively short post, seeing as it is SWOTVAC and all and I should be studying, but I had do this post. Today, revealed a special treat as my friend Amy literally barged into my apartment. “I have something you are going to love” she squealed. I hoped she had a muffin somewhere. But instead she flashed a Pink cover (yess I said it again). You can imagine my excitement.

The Book in question was Zoe Foster and Hamish Blake’s handbook Textbook Romance. Zoe Foster is Cosmopolitan’s dating columnist, which I think makes her an authority on relationships. She tells Ohmygodness that she is always scripting text messages to guys for friends!.Ohmygodness” says the book is witty, direct (with chapters like “Men don’t skip footy training for you”) and scarily accurate. Amy says “its the most useful book she has ever read”.

Bottom line – I want to read it ! So badly!!! .It’s right here, next to me and it’s taking a great amount of self discipline and control for me not to read it right away. My problems aside, the rest of you who have the luxury of time on your hands, must read it and tell me how it was 🙂

P.s – Hamish Blake is Hamish from Hamish and Andy .

Remembering Sophie

4 Jun

Sophie Kinsella the wildly successful author of the Shopaholic series, riding high on the coat tails of the film adaptation of the series, has once again written a wildly entertaining novel that’s fluffier than Sunday morning omelette!

Meet Lexi in 2004, an average underachieving 24 year old with crooked teeth and frizzy hair. She has a so-so job and a so-so boyfriend whom everyone calls “loser Dave”

Meet Lexie our heroine, who wakes up in a hospital four years later to find out that she has everything she has ever dreamed off. Straight teeth and glossy hair? Check. Married to a ridiculously good-looking guy who just happens to be a millionaire? Check. Company Director? Check. But not everything is as perfect as it seems. It looks as though while climbing the ladder of success, she has lost her friends, her morals and her work ethics. Who’s the sexy guy in dark jeans claiming she was having an affair with him ?

We share Lexi’s anxieties and misfortunes as she tries to piece her life back together, and triumph when she finally gets a fleeting memory, that leads her back to her real love. The contrast of culture from 2004 to 2007 is fresh and funny as seen through Lexi’s eyes. Mentions of outdated celebrity gossip or political scandals add to the light nature of the book. Amnesia tales may be overdone, but Kinsella manages to keep things interesting. The situations Lexi goes through are comical because of the amnesia, and her monologues are entertaining, if a bit too blonde.

The most interesting parts of the book come when Lexi is trying to discover what drove her to this complete personality change. She looks to her husband and friends to demonstrate what her life has become and searches for some fragment of the old Lexi.

The book is written only from Lexi’s point of view which could potentially become dull for the reader but from the start it was as if I were drawn into Lexi’s life and urging her to find the answers she desperately needs to piece together her missing years.

Like all of Kinsella’s protagonists, Lexi is quirky, a bit off-center and of course utterly lovable. One can’t help but root for Lexi to get her happy ending.

What makes this book unique, however, is that when she wakes up, Lexi is the woman that every chick lit heroine loves to hate: sleek and polished, beautiful, refined, and very unpleasant in the workplace – in short a total nightmare. It’s interesting to see what Kinsella does with that role reversal, how the reader sympathizes with the snooty boss in charge instead of condemning her.

The supporting characters – from Lexi’s punk princess sister to her outdated mum obsessed with her dogs and even her scoundrel of a dad (seen only via videotape taken before he died three years earlier) – fill in the missing pieces of Lexi’s true self very nicely.The only drawback to the characters is that even though it has engaging and lively characters they can sometimes veer towards caricatures.

The book has a Bridget Jones quality to it and as any chick lit fan knows- is hard to imitate. The British slang, for you Anglophiles out there, is amusing whilst the rest of the language is plain and straightforward. The conversations seem quite “authentically blonde”, so to speak. So expect a lot of OMGs and over excited women jumping about.

It’s very easy to see this novel being turned into a movie. A romantic comedy with eccentric characters that eventually results in a happy ending. In fact at some points in the book, I couldn’t help but think that, that was the reason, some of the plot points were there – because it would translate so well on screen. In fact I’ve already cast most of the characters on my own-which I won’t divulge for your benefit.

On the whole ‘Remember Me’ is not exactly a mind – boggling, life changing literary masterpiece, but it’s a wonderful novel its own genre.

Boy oh boy – lad lit ?

31 May

Going through all my favourite blogs I came across something I felt I must blog about. Though I myself have never read lad lit, I am becoming increasingly curious about it.

Lad lit as the name suggests refers to Chick lit written by men, with the lead character being male. So why would it be classified under the “chick lit” genre? Mainly because the tone is very similar to Chick lit’s tone.Chick lit books The men in these books are often going through dating, work scenarios, love, family issues, and more. Sometimes these books have male and female characters, so the line between chick lit and lad lit gets really fuzzy. In any case, it’s fascinating to see perspectives from the male point of view. This genre has also been described as “What books would be if Bridget Jones was a guy”.

It’s often said that most men would rather sell their souls than talk about their feelings, relationships and love. It’s just not a ‘man’ thing to do. This makes Lad lit, that much more intriguing. For girls it rates among the ‘the best kind of talk’, other than ‘what they think of men’. Girls’ views about men remain consistent.

Here are a few. Men are thoughtless and childish. Men are competitive pack animals, driven by status and money power. A man will run away from relationship and commitment given half a chance and an invitation to the pub. Men are shallow and obsessed with looks, above personality. And men care more about is who’ll win the next world cup rather than the health and future of their relationship with their partner.

These are just a few of the kinder comments girls make about the male species. Not that a guy would get too upset to hear any of them – you wouldn’t expect a man to show too much emotion or insecurity, after all. Particularly, as we know, if there are other guys present.

If all of this is true, then how do you explain “Lad Lit”?Lad Lit is the phenomenon of best-selling books written by men, and bought by lots of men, which tell tales of masculine insecurity in relationships, problems with male identity in the 21st century, and stories which explore the state of play between men and women from an often emotionally confused confessional male perspective.

Like Chick Lit, Lad Lit came from a need to explore the changing demands made on gender roles in modern society as men juggle new stresses and priorities with expectations of how they should behave in work, in love, and in life.

After reading Transhonista’s post on best lad lit book I have short listed some books I’d love to read in the up coming winter break.

Just Like Heaven by Marc Levy

Mr Nice Guy by Thomas Dowler

Mr Commitment by Mike Gayle

How I Paid for College by Marc Acito

‘Coz I don’t want to keep this a secret

27 May

“Can You Keep a Secret” is yet another quirky, funny, romantic novel by Sophie Kinsella, the writer of the famous “Shopaholic” trilogy. Having had such huge successes before, the expectations from the book, were very high to say the least. Kinsella has previously given us the light, bright and ‘laugh-out-loud’, funny Shopaholic books. With Kinsella’s “shopaholic,” Becky Bloomwood became known as the quintessential Chick lit character much like Bridget Jones and the nanny of Nanny Diaries. These books set a really high bar. They were really funny as compared to this new one which is just ‘fun’. However, one has to consider that, had the writer not been Kinsella, we wouldn’t have judged “Can You Keep a Secret” in the same way. There are times when ‘just fun’ is just fine.

Emma Corrigan is a 20-something girl with a fear of flying. Emma’s life is certainly not perfect. She has secrets. Secrets, she keeps from her boyfriend, her family, her coworkers, and even from her best friend. Secrets that she keeps to herself, until, on one unusually turbulent disastrous plane trip, having had one too many drinks, she spills every single secret, to the handsome stranger sitting next to her, in a sort of final catharsis, before the plane crashes. But then the plane doesn’t crash. It lands safely and Emma goes home only to return to work on Monday morning to discover that the stranger on the plane wasn’t really a stranger at all. He was the American CEO, of the company she works for, and is visiting her office for the week. He knows every one of her darkest, deepest and most humiliating secrets and he wants to see her in his office! Thus begins a series of chaotic, emotionally exhausting and funny episodes that thrust Emma, with her workaholic best friend, Lissy, and their awful flat mate Jemima, into a world of fairy tales, secrets and deceit.

Once the big boss moves in into town Emma’s world turns upside down. Her “perfect” relationship with her “Ken like” boyfriend ends. People in her office are suspicious. Her family members, whom she has been avoiding, turn up at her company’s family day. This is followed by a complex, uproarious chain of events, until everything is finally resolved in the end.

Sophie Kinsella is really good at writing fluff and making it fun to read. I really enjoyed Can You Keep a Secret? I found the story fairly believable and extremely hilarious, although I did struggle with, how quickly Kinsella resolved a messy situation in a few chapters that would have taken a lot more clean-up in real life. The book features some interesting characters like- Jamima, an heiress type, who only lives to marry a rich man. I found the little tidbits about her very interesting.

Overall it befits the tag of a romantic comedy which it will be turned into in 2011. In keeping with the formula of a romantic comedy, ‘Can You Keep a Secret’ has its highs and lows, but ends on a happy note, for both, the heroine and for the reader. It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy with feminist leanings and lessons to be learnt. The most important one being, that while some secrets are best kept to ourselves, others are better brought out in the open. Friendships and relationships thrive on truth and being honest with ourselves. Keeping this in mind I would recommend ‘Can You Keep a Secret’ to fans of the Shopaholic series.

Books and Movies

14 May

I know this is a book blog but I believe I can  broaden the definition to include any thing related to chick lit. In that sprit today’s blog is dedicated to movies based on books. Like any decicated chick lit fan I love these movies.The sad truth is that some times I enjoy the movies more. SO..

My Top two Picks for Chick lit movies you MUST SEE

Breafast at Tiffany’s because :

1) It’s a classic.

2) It’s has the perfect fairytale ending.

3) It’s much better than the book.

4) you simply must watch it.

Sex and the city because :

Same as above

My top two pick for movies you must watch this summer

Eat ,Pray love  because :

1) Of Julia Roberts

2) I haven’t read the book and now i don’t have to..

Sex And the City 2 because :

1) SATC 1 was amazing (so i assume this will be better)

2) I want to know what happens next.

3) Of all the rumors around it.

4) The trailers are amazing.

PS – (some gossip)

My Top two Picks for movies still under production ( Based on  the little I know about them)

Can You keep a Secret ? (TBA)

Based on Sophie Kinsella’s novel of the same name, the story is about a junior marketing executive (Kate Hudson) who spills her guts to a handsome airplane co-passenger during a turbulent business flight. Later she learns that the person she was telling all her deepest secrets to was the man heading her firm.http://www.themovieinsider.com/m530/can-you-keep-a-secret/

The Undomestic Godess (2011)

Also based on Sophie Kinsella’s novel. About a workaholic female attorney, who believes she wrecked her chances of being named partner at her London firm, had a meltdown and ended up in the English countryside. After stopping at a large house to ask for directions, she is mistaken as a candidate for a maid’s position and takes up a housekeeping job.

According to Transhonista.com Andy Fickman (who previously directed ‘Race to Witch Mountain’ and ‘She’s The Man’), will be directing the movie .The screenplay has been written by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also wrote the screenplay for ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’

My Chick- niche (Niche blogging)

11 May

I am not a serious book lover. I’m just a lowly Chick lit lover. But hey!!! Chick lit lovers out there do not despair. There’s hope for us yet. There are hundreds ..no millions of book blogs but comparatively only a few cater exclusively to Chick lit. The publishing industry (like most other entertainment industries) follows the 80/20 rule & likes to get 80% or a bulk of their profits from the popular fast selling products. However recently with the ‘blogging’ and ‘net culture’ taking hold Chris Anderson’s “theory of long tail” has started making sense.
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The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail.

“As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers.” Niche blogging in this era of ‘long tail’ allows writers of ‘weird’ topics to sell. Out of the box thinkers and the proverbial ‘ugly ducklings’ can now get their place in the sun. Niche blogging is certainly on the rise as scattered individual purchases add up to a surprisingly large market, especially at online booksellers. According to the New yorker Amazon.com for example sells, about a quarter of all book sales come from outside the site’s top-one-hundred-thousand best-sellers.

My niche is Chick lit- Chick books, chick films chick views ect ……… in fact all the trashy, juicy, mushy Chick literature available. I’ve always had a problem in sourcing enough books and choosing the right ones. Here’s where niche blogging- the “long tail” of the net provides a solution to both problems. Because of the internet these books with relatively limited appeal no longer need to occupy shelf space in a ‘brick and mortar store’. Instead Amazon and other niche websites can sell them to their target audience at virtually no cost.
The long tail consisting almost completely of niche blogs offers the added advantage of Recommendations. These can be far more powerful than traditional advertising, especially for niche products aimed at narrow markets.
With more weirdoes like me taking to blogging the Chick lit niche has become rather well established. More people (men and boys included) are writing about books they have read & books they would like to read. These recommendations and reviews further solidify the niche. There has also been a move on behalf of online book retailers to support and sponsors the relatively popular Chick lit blogs.
As I started to write this blog I went through a lot of chick literature blogs for direction. I wanted to understand what a chick lit blog looks like, their presentation styles etc. Just like the genre most blogs are bubbly, fun and very girly. I fell in love with some of the blogs and the ones that inspire me in terms of style and structure are:

1) TRASHIONISTA

The blog created by Elle Symonds is extremely popular though it has a wide range & talks about other books as well but covers largely Chick lit. Its extensive coverage includes book news, reviews, interviews and……..well simply views. It targets young readers in the age group if 18 – 30 and probably that’s why the advertising on the blog is extensive, with ads for all things girly like shoes, bags, clothes and beauty products. The design style is minimal yet classically feminine with it’s bright pink and black color combination. The blog borders on descriptive and narrative rather than being opinion based. Elle writes frequently, almost every day at about the same time. However there aren’t many comments. The blog is represented on Face book as well as Twitter which accounts for its vast audience. There are lots of links to related niche products and also links to niches within the niche. It’s an exhaustive site. Pictures and images abound.
I especially liked the blog because of the regular and frequent postings and the fact that most of the new books get featured almost as soon as they are launched in the market. Overall the blog has a frothy feel and at times the long descriptions are winding and reveal more than entice.

2) Chick literate

Chick literate is a beautifully laid out blog. It’s neat, uncluttered and not ‘very busy’ and has a high readability. It’s based on a purple theme created by Lisa Sabin: Ewebscapes. It reviews only Chick lit and is a highly focused blog making it truly effective.. There are no advertisements on the blog and the design features cute heart cartoon ratings which are reaaaa…..lly cute. Lisa blogs about once a week and the blogs are typically short….1 paragraph length. What makes the blog different is that she gives a highly personalized opinion about each book but does not narrate the story. The opinions are catchy, to the point and make you feel as though you know the writer. I’d rather emulate her than anyone else. The blog comes across as honest, candid, warm and cozy and you’ll love the cartoon ratings. There’s a lot to do on the blog like contests and quizzes.

For some other interesting chick lit blogs click here

Chasing the devil (Anatomy of a post)

4 May

My expectations from Lauren’ Weisberger’s Chasing Harry Winston were quite simple. After all what can one expect from a book that has a giant green stiletto on the front cover.

If you need to kill a boring Saturday afternoon and positively don’t want to read something with underlying socio economic issues or intelligent plots, this could be the book for you. It’s just pure and simple entertainment.To say that the author fails miserably would be an unfair assessment. The book’s writing style does sustain your interest for about an hour after which the cloyingly sweet, fluffy, clichéd style could get to you.

Chasing Harry Winston is third in her triad of New York centric Chick lit books, targeting young women in the age group of 18-30. Like others in its genre it focuses on female bonding and narrates the story of three New York based women in their late twenties trying to make sense of love and life. Familiar! Isn’t it?

Adriana is beautiful daughter of a Brazilin business tycoon and a famous supermodel. She believes that there’re too many eligible bachelors in New York to settle down but is constantly reminded by her mother that she won’t always have her pick of men and her looks will eventually fade. Emmy was within striking distance to the ring and the baby she desperately wanted when her boyfriend of five years left her for his 23 year old personal trainer. Leigh is the one fairly interesting and believable female character in the book. A neurotic young star in the publishing business she is living her dream with her dream man in her dream house.

Knocking back raspberry mojitos one night, the three friends make a pact to change one thing in their lives by the end of the YEAR. Adriana vows to find a ‘steady squeeze’ and remain monogamous, while Emmy will take a ‘Tour de Whore’ sleeping with as many men as she can while travelling the world. Leigh watches quietly, making no promises. Jesse is, overall, the most believable and well written character, a reclusive writer who stars to get under Leigh’s skin. The story of Otis is a great addition.

The book clearly lacks substance about real issues women deal with. In the beginning of the book each character is an original epitome of women’s worst characteristics. The book focuses more on women doing things to constantly validate themselves. Adriana is narcissistic, and needs constant validation from men. Emmy displays an abnormal amount of obsessive behaviour to the lengths of stalking her ex boyfriend. Only towards the end does it provide a some what realistic look at what it means to be a self-sufficient woman embracing the opportunity to grow older and more mature.

In Chasing Harry Winston, Weisberger dumps the format she adopted for her first two novels. In some ways, this is good, and gives Weisberger the chance to branch out a bit. The characters are surprisingly more unique than those in Weinberger’s other two books; with the exception of the perfect boyfriend. I definitely found myself relating to Leigh a bit. However, the author doesn’t seem to be able to create anything new- The plot seems hackneyed and reminds one of Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City.

Granted it’s not a life changing book but I think the title, cover, and storyline adequately give that away. It’s an easy and entertaining read. The book does make one laugh out loud at times.

The characters and their predicaments are humorous if taken light-heartedly. It has some great saucy lines though at times the fluffy fun bits do get lost in the blobby mess of narrative Nonetheless what the book lacks in story and plot it more than makes up in Lauren Weisberger’s beautiful narrative. Her writing is descriptive and sensory and involves the reader in every page, the only thing lacking in her writing style is continuity. Weisberger said in an interview “this is first time I am writing about three people instead of one” This lack of experience shows. The story lurches off in random directions. The constantly moving narrative can be very confusing at times but as a whole the writing style is different and refreshing.

If you’ve read her other two books The Devil wears Prada and “Everyone Worth knowing” this one can’t hold a candle to either and is totally avoidable. But if you haven’t then it’s a perfect book to curl up by the fire with. Its chick lit! What else would you really expect?