Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Looking For a Few Good Books

Would you mind sharing with me what you think are the best written chick-lit books of the past five years or so? I've started a novel, have decided it's going to be unabashedly chick-lit (for lack of a better term -- talent is talent), and I'm looking for inspiration. I've finally managed to read Good Grief and loved it, and that's the kind of thing I'm shooting for.

You've started off with a good one. Good Grief is one of my all-time favorite books, and I think Lolly Winston's voice and plot are sheer perfection. In fact, TDLF has frequently been compared to GG, and geez, that makes me nervous because it's such a high standard to live up to.

Okay, well, it goes without saying that I have to plug the gals who have all blurbed my novel. Pamela Redmond Satran, Val Frankel, Jen Lancaster, Cara Lockwood, Claire Cook and Johanna Edwards. Each has found a way to stand out in the inundated chick lit/women's fiction market, and in this market, that's saying a lot. I also read two women's fiction novels that stood out this summer: Finishing Touches by Deanna Kizis and London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave.

But beyond those plugs, here are some books that every aspiring author in this genre should read:

-Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner: clearly, Weiner is the queen bee of this catagory, and while Good In Bed launched her career, I actually think that LE is the most complex of her work so far, weaving in four different plot lines and dealing with some very real and hard issues

-How to Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward: so good that I read it in one night.

-The Big Love by Sarah Dunn: seemingly simple chick lit that isn't simple but is indeed perfection.

-The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer: one of my favorite books of all-time. Period.

-My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: the best, in my opinion, of Picoult's work. Riveting, so well-written, just incredible.

-Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin: my favorite of Giffin's three book, she took a classic chick lit theme - wanting someone else's guy - and spun it in a totally new way. Really absorbing.

-Sophie Kinsella's books. I admit that I actually haven't read these, but I've heard that they're smart, witty and engaging, and I'm definitely going to pick one up as soon as I get through my must-read pile that's built up on my nightstand.

I know as soon as I post this that I'm going to think of DOZENS more. And I'm annoyed at myself for not being able to rattle others off the top of my head (but I'm admittedly really brain-dead this week).

So I'll let other readers chime in: what have been your favorite books from the past few years?


xxxx said...

I'm re-reading Good Grief right now! And Jodi Picoult's latest is right behind it! I am also a big Emily Giffin fan. Something Borrowed was my favorite, although I liked Baby Proof a lot, too.

The best of Sophie Kinsella's is Can You Keep a Secret? (Soon to be a Kate Hudson movie, I believe.) Very breezy. I also liked Cecelia Ahern's book P.S., I Love You. (Soon to be a Hilary Swank movie ... yes, I have a lot of useless knowledge stored in my little brain!)

Sara Hantz said...

I love anything by Sophie Kinsella. And Marian Keyes. Jane Green is good too, as is Lisa Jewell. and Emily Giffin. i enjoyed GG (it was called something else over here) but i wouldn't call it a fave.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Emily Giffin is FABULOUS! Jennifer Weiner as well, can't wait to get her latest short stories out next week! I have been fortunate enough to meet both these wonderful women!

I read Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston--LOVED IT! Have Good Grief, but have not read it yet, even though I need to because I love her writing!

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman, Sarah Dessen writes awesome YA.

She's Come Undone is a classic, by Wally Lamb.

There are SO many, and I can't even remember ALL my faves!

Hello up there Swishy! We will be hanging out with Emily in a couple weeks at the Midwest Lit Festival! (Maybe we should let her know! LOL!)

I LOVE BOOKS! (and I am a geek!!)

Anonymous said...

I'd say Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie and Match Me By Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Of course, there's always the Bridget Jones. Chick lit is probably the genre I read the most. And, manic mom, you aren't a geek if you love books!

Trish Ryan said...

You nailed my current top three:
1. Little Earthquakes
2. The Big Love
3. London is the Best City in America.

I have "This Is Chick Lit" on order from Amazon, so that's next in line.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I loved Rosie Dunne and If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahearn, all three by Emily Giffin, The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner, Fashionably Late by Beth Kendrick.

So many good ones...

Amie Stuart said...

Babyville by Jane Green. I bought my copy off ebay (sorry Jane) because at that time you couldn't get it in the US.

That's the second rec for Sophie Kinsella I've seen today (a sign I'm sure! LOL)

The Cindrella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer is phenomenal!

Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes Rodriguez is also really good

And I've got to put another vote in for Lolly Winston too

Amie Stuart said...

Sorry--Cinderella! Gaaaaaaa

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks for all of the good suggestions, you guys! I'm going to try to pick up a few of these while on vacation.

Larramie said...

My reading is eclectic, making my chick lit choices rather selective. So imagine my delight when my top choices matched three of Allison's:

-The Big Love by Sarah Dunn: If only I cound turn something that simple into something that amazing.

-The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer: WOW! Also, fyi, Donald Maass cites this as an outstanding Breakout Novel.

-Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin: My first pastel colored book; I loved the reality of friendship being tested.

-The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld: Read this in May (upon its release) and the heroine still haunts me today.

An OT note: Thanks, Allison, for fixing the blog entry dates. I kept asking myself where did yesterday go? ;o

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Larr- Hee! I hadn't noticed it until today, and then I was completely confused. I can only imagine that it confused you too! I love how you say, "my first pastel colored book!" Ha!

Christina said...

My favorites which have not already been mentioned:

-Fishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski
-Summer in the Land of Skin and Tart by Jody Gehrman
-Diary of a Blues Goddess by Erica Orloff
-The Thin Pink Line by Lauren Baratz-Logstead

I'm in the middle of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's "Make Him Look Good" at the moment, and am enjoying it even more than "The Dirty Girls' Social Club."


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thank you to Trish for saying she's going to read THIS IS CHICK-LIT and thank you to Christina for loving THE THIN PINK LINE.

FYI, Allison, Johanna Edwards and Cara Lockwood both have stories in THIS IS CHICK-LIT. :)