Top 10 Under-Rated Books In The Chick-Lit Category

There have always been people bashing the entire genre of chick-lit books on the internet, which I don’t really understand. First off, I don’t understand what constitutes chick-lit – what makes people classify a certain book into the chick-lit category? Is it the storyline? Is it the level of intelligence of the heroine? Is it the hero’s never-done-wrong character and wonderful looks? Or is it the fact that it is, mostly, women who will read the book? If so, aren’t all of these things highly assumptive? At least, I think so. I find it annoying that a book has to be stuck with a derogatory (as seen by many) label like ‘chick-lit’ on the basis of a few vague presumptions.

For me, a book is a book is a book. I want to enjoy myself while reading it. There are different things I expect from a book at different times – sometimes, I want to forget my real life, sometimes I want something that will inspire thoughts, sometimes I just read without any intention in mind. I have read a fair amount of ‘chick-lit’ books in between others that comprise ‘heavy reading’ for me, and I love doing that. I need something like that between my heavy reads, in fact. I have enjoyed many chick-lit books – I have found them extremely well-written and thoughtful. That said, I have found several books from the category extremely dumb – especially the beautiful but brainless heroines – and have bashed them myself. What I am saying is I don’t find anything wrong with reading a so-called chick-lit book. I find it unfair to let an entire genre of books go unexplored just because they have a particular label to them.

Anyways, today’s topic for Top 10 Tuesday is ‘Top 10 Under-Rated Books In X Category’, and I thought of writing about the, largely misunderstood, chick-lit category. Here is a list of 10 books that I have found classified under ‘chick-lit’, but have found very well-written and enjoyable. Some of these books have been quite deep and thought-provoking. Some have been just.. beautiful.

1. The School Of Essential Ingredients – Erica Bauermeister

I read this book recently, and simply loved it. The intricacies of human relationships and the concept of the ‘real person behind the veneer of a smiling face’ has been brought out beautifully by the author. The writing is sheer poetry, I thought, though many have found it saccharine sweet. The descriptions of the food in the book are simply perfect. Don’t be misled by the genre of this book – grab a copy and read it!

Here is my review of the book.

2. The Camel Bookmobile – Masha Hamilton

I picked this one up in a store second-hand books, went into it without any expectations at all, and was amazed by what I found. What a book it turned out to be! The Camel Bookmobile is about a small, impoverished community in an African village and how a certain camel library finds its way to them. It is quite a simple book, but the characters are very well etched out, and it makes for some lovely reading. The book has been written by a very intelligent woman, as I found later, in my interview with her.

Here is my review of the book.

3. The Bridges Of Madison County – Robert James Waller

I have harped on and on about how much I loved The Bridges Of Madison County, on this blog. This one remains my favourite books of all times, my favourite love story of all times. Just knowing the fact that someone else is reading this book makes me high. I read it a few years before and still remember how I felt while I was reading it – touched, happy, sad, helpless, hopeful, all at the same time. This is one book I cannot recommend highly enough. It is so sensitively written. It is so much more than ‘just chick-lit’, it is an entire life laid out on pages, in beautiful, beautiful, beautiful words. If you don’t read this book, you are missing out on something extremely wonderful, I would say.

I’d even love to have lunch with Robert Kincaid and Francesca from the book!

4. The Girl Next Door – Elizabeth Noble

The Girl Next Door is another book that I picked up from the chick-lit aisle of a bookstore, and loved immensely. It is not at all about dumb heroes and heroines, illicit romances and silly love affairs, though that is part of the book as well. It is all about the real lives of a bunch of a people who live in the same apartment. It is a book that touched me greatly, especially the character of Violet. A beautiful read, that I would recommend for sure!

5. Things I Want My Daughters To Know – Elizabeth Noble

This is another book classified as chick-lit, which I found to be beautifully written, and very much rooted in real life. I devoured this book over the course of a few days, a couple of years back, and still remember it. One that I would heartily recommend, for sure.

6. Lucia, Lucia – Adriana Trigiani

This is such a lovely book, and not just because it is set in Italy. The heroine is a strong, independent woman, who dares to deviate from her circumstances, pursue her dreams and make a life for herself. A wonderful read, definitely.

Here is my review of the book.

7. The Rescue – Nicholas Sparks

I know Nicholas Sparks has always been associated by many with sappy books that only women love to read. Yes, I have found a few of his books to be incredibly sappy, but I have found a few very beautiful ones too. For instance, his The Rescue falls into the latter category. Very well-written, very much real-life based. I loved the book to bits, and would recommend it to you, too.

8. The Last Letter From Your Lover – Jojo Moyes

This was the book that led me to Jojo Moyes. I read about it on a blog, and found the premise quite interesting. I picked it up, and was hooked instantly. This short book led me to read many others by the same author. The Last Letter From Your Lover is a book about a woman who loses her memory (not another one of those books, I hear you saying, but this is different, trust me.) Very well-written, very hard-hitting, very touching. Go read it now, if you haven’t already.

Here is my review of the book.

9. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

A beautiful book about the very sensitive topic of mercy killing, Me Before You grabbed my attention right from the first page and held it till the end. It would be sacrilege to classify this book into the ‘brainless’ category, I think. A must-read.

Here is my review of the book.

10. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Such a delight this book turned out to be! It is about a book club that was formed in the Channel Islands during World War II, and which went on to become much more than that for the participants. A lovely read, which no one I have ever recommended it to has disliked so far. Highly recommended!

Have you read any such so-called chick-lit books that have turned out quite different from the rest? Do let me know. I badly need suggestions for such books now!

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16 thoughts on “Top 10 Under-Rated Books In The Chick-Lit Category

  1. Chick lit for me is any book which makes me happy and not stresses me 😛

    I was so looking for a pointer for light, breezy reads..totally bookmarking this post..thanks a bunch TGND..it honestly is a pleasure to read your bookish musings.

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    1. @Visha

      I’m looking for a pointer for light, breezy reads that aren’t totally dumb, still, Visha. Let me know if you come across any, will you?

      Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy these books. Like I said in the post, however, these are not light, breezy, dumb reads. Many of them offer serious food for thought. Not sure if you’re up for that at the moment.

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  2. I love my chick-lit. I do enough serious reading for my job and book club and really love relaxing with a lighter, girly read when I can. I don’t care if I am judged for it either. Its like judgement for enjoying a rom com movie. .again my genre of choice.My favorite chick-lit writer is Sophie Kinsella. Her shopaholic series are okay but the other stand alone books are oh so much fun. And another favorite is Emily Giffin. Any way, I haven’t read any of these…But book marking to get started.

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    1. @Popgoesthebiscuit

      I do enjoy an occasional chick-lit book, but ones that are not too girly or dumb. I liked Sophie Kinsella’s Undomestic Goddess, but found her other books quite pathetic. Haven’t read Emily Giffin yet, but have heard a lot of good things about her books. Should pick up a couple of her books soon.

      Hope you enjoy the books on this list!

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  3. I have to admit…I’m not the world’s biggest fan of chick-lit. I don’t think it’s a lesser genre, though, it’s just purely not my favourite thing. But there’s a lot of YA chick-lit that I totally cave for, so absolutely NO judging to loving chick-lit for me. XD I want to enjoy myself while reading too! Here’s my TTT!

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  4. For me, a book is a book is a book. – exactly my thought. Very well written TGND 🙂 I dont read many books that come under ‘heavy reading’ but for me a book has to be interesting, engaging and satisfying. I dont mind which category it falls into.

    I have only read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes from your list. I am yet to finish The School Of Essential Ingredients. Will try to get the other books too 🙂

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  5. I loved this list TGND..but are these really chick lit…like you, I am a bit confused about the category itself..but here are a collection of super books, I can refer to when I am bored and looking for ‘chick lit’ :):)

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    1. @R’s Mom

      I think the category of ‘chick-lit’ is extremely misunderstood. Not all of the books classified so are dumb – I felt these books I have listed here are exceptions.

      Hope you enjoy reading these books, RM! 🙂

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  6. interesting tag!
    if as a reader we wont have the freedom to pick and choose our genre what is the point, isnt it? I do read a lot of dumb stuff and hey I even enjoy doing that 🙂
    I guess why people do a lot of chic-lit bashing is because of the overall quality of those books – mostly (not always) badly written compared to the literary fictions, skewed character portrayals, far removed from reality and feeding into distant dreams, generally ridiculous characters etc etc. I get it, but at times that is what I like reading – ridiculously mushy stuff written in very distorted manner to feed my idle fantasies 😀

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