Monday, May 08, 2006

Romance Novel vs. Chick Lit

When I was much younger (ehem…) I was already reading books like Sweet Valley High. Then it progresses to a much heavier romance novel like Mills and Boon. My mom used to take me to this book rental shop called Novel House in SS2. That is where I would get my supply of novels such as Loveswept and Mills and Boon. Aaahh…those were the days.

When I got older I loved reading books by Judith McNaught like Something Wonderful, Whitney, My Love or Kingdom of Heavens set in medieval times or the ones set in modern times such as Paradise and Perfect. She puts humour into her writing and everytime I read her books I would either be laughing my head off or cry my eyes out.
A friend of mine is hooked on romance novel. I told her that reading a Chick lit is better because it’s not too fantasy-like and not all men in there are filthy rich and drop dead gorgeous. It’s more “real” that romance novel. So we got into a discussion on what is the difference between a chick lit and a romance novel.

I can see one vast difference between a chick lit and a romance novel. The cover of the novel. For romance novel the cover shouts "Desire". Packaging is one way for a reader to tell the difference between the two.


Romance novel often show an illustration or photograph of a man and a woman in a tender embrace or in a near kiss. And all the men are usually half naked. You can almost see the chest hair. Euww. Meanwhile chick lit often fearture an illustration or sketch of a solitary woman or a group of women or sometimes just a lipstick or shopping bags or colourful fonts as the title.



Romance novel follow a certain formula. Its most important element is that the hero and heroine wind up "happily ever after together". In other words, True Love Triumphs. The thrill for the readers is that they can follow the couple through their ups and downs to a final destination where the two profess their true love for each other. Example of a romance novel plot -->"Masquerading as a servant girl makes for a summer of mischievous madness for Cassandra, the mistress of Bramfield Park. When dashing Lord Peter Courtney comes to call, she must hide behind her disguise—or reveal a love touched by summers’s warmth..."



Chick lit allows the reader to experience even more dramatic circumstances, but without the certainty that the heroine will end up with the man she's fallen in love with. They also allow the reader to follow more than just the heroine's romantic life. They draw on all aspects of a woman's life like work, motherhood, friendship and not driven primarily by romance. One good example is Helen Fielding’s The Bridget Jones’s Diary which deals with issues like weight problems, addiction to ciggies, crazy parents and life as a 20something singleton in London.

Chick Lit describes a type of commercial fiction centering on the adventures of a young working woman. She usually has a rubbish boyfriend and nagging mother. Sometimes she has a cat too. The book itself frequently has a bright pink cover and includes copious quantities of sex. Often there is witty, self-deprecating humor.





Whatever it is, women have been at one point of their lives hooked on romance novel. We like to believe than there are knights in shining armour out there waiting to save us. As we get older the image of this knight seemed to get more blur and finally in the end we realized that there are no knights in shining armour, only ordinary men trying their best to make life a little bit better for us women and that only we can save ourselves.






43 comments:

agus said...

Thanks for the comparison. Very educational. Now that I know, I will wonder no more. Malas lah nak browse them books. Segan jangan cakap lah..

Nice seeing you last Saturday.

superdzu said...

i love reading judith mcnaught and jude deveraux!
sampai skrg pun ok...can baca the same books over and over again.
and i love jane green too!

hi red raven!

Angel Eyes said...

i cant read those romance novel, just take a look at the cover...nanti my mom nampak sure she'll take it away punya..

to be safe, i read only chic lit books...

Err.. can i borrow ur romance novel tak?

nice meeting u too dear... =)

Cosmic_GurL said...

Agus - Hehehehe...Next time kalau segan can ask me to get for you. I langsung tak segan!

Superdzu - Oh yay! Nanti can pinjam Jude Deveraux's books from u eh? I can read Paradise by Judith McNaught over and over too :)

Mana dtg Red Raven ni?

Cosmic_GurL said...

Angel Eyes - U wrap la the books with gift wrapper. Thts wht I used to do. Hehehe..

Err..ive to go look for my romance novels la. It's all inside the kotak stored in my store room :p

*concreterose* said...

cosmic gurl..

am a sucker for chick lit too.. i've read all of helen fielding books... jane green books... sophie kinsella books... louise bagshaw... and apa nama that author who wrote 'bergdorf blondes'? very funny laa that book...

the latest one i read was 'life swap' by jane green... moral of the story = grass is not always greener on the other side ;-)

Freak & Geek said...

i have yet to read sophie kinsella's latest - the undomestic goddess which i bought 4.5 months ago.

hmmm... where did i put it, again??

nway, cool entry. i could nvr bring myself to read romance novel. too much of fabio lookalike make me woozy. or izzit dizzy?

heheheheh...

bertique said...

sesunggunya saya berharap saya mampu membaca novel-novel sebegini.

tetapi tidak.

saya pembaca tegar buku mgmt yg tebal.

nice meeting u last saturday!

Leen Ash Burn said...

Erm ada Judith's book (or was it Jude's?) yang pasal this girl who was transported to zaman2 dulu where she was in love with a Baron and then tetapi later she got transported back to modern day so she cried and cried for her lost love tapi on the way home (she was vacationing in England btw), she met some guy who looks like the Baron boyfriend.

Apa ek tajuk dia? I thought that was quite nice.

trueblue said...

Gosh...I loved Sweet Valley High. And that was ages ago. Reminds me of how oldddd I am now. Hehehe...

Am definitely a Chic Lit fan. Some are just so funny...

9 said...

i call those books 'buku romen' b'coz they always have graphic details of ppl getting laid. heh.

wat? i was 12. :p

Azhaezah said...

i always wanted to read story book. every time i start, it will never end. any tips on how to choose good chick lit book?

Shopper Mom said...

hehe... i'm a sucker for them chick lits too. even if they do insult my intelligence (or what's left of it). :P

ti.e.na said...

yes to chic lits.
no to romance.

them romens book pollute the mind.
heheh.

Stupe said...

hehe...those romance novel sorta brings back memory...dulul jadik pegawas sekolah buat spot check, for sure terjumpa buka buka seperti diatas di dalam beg beg budak pompuan...well, termasuk dalam beg mamat sorang nie yang jadik supplier!!!

but of course, i didn't take it away la, afterall, it is for the improvement of their english, no? ;-)

Angel Eyes said...

Did i hear someone mentioned 'Sweet Valley High'?

I've their collection!

[Is]landa said...

try virginia andrews

TriPPin' said...

i love judith... i "feel" her words... u laff wen u shud, u cry wen u shud and u even feel embarrased and foolish wen her heroine feels it... hehe! she spins magical tales... :)
i used to enjoy reading Sweet Dreams books... when i come across my old ones, i still take the time to read it again... guess trying to capture the sweeter moments in the past :)

Javard said...

eh dont call ah those books chic lits...some young normal available bachelors do read them as well...i call it the metro lit....hahahhaha...
read mike gayle's ...best sweet sweet jugak ah...
used to get hooked on sidney sheldon....

Cik Puan Muda Stress said...

i lurveee lurvee lurvee Jane Green.
eh come to curve ya on thursday.

see ya!

Stupe said...

angel eyes - SVH or SVU?????

Cosmic_GurL said...

Concreterose - Me too! I have all of helen Fielding's books but I think "cause celeb" tak best sgt. Prefer her Bridget Jones :)

FnG - I know wht u mean abt romance novel. Dont have the stomach for it either. Eh, Undomestic Goddess tu best la. Gi ler baca :P

bertique - anda sepatutnya cuba membaca buku2 sedemikian rupa..buku2 chick lit I mean. Supaya senang memahami kaum wanita dan masalah2 mereka. Hehehehe...
Was nice to see u too!

LeenAshBurn - Haiyoo...sungguh complicated the plot. U sure it's Judith's? Maybe it's Jude kot. I tak khatam semua buku2 Jude lagi.

trueblue - yeah, I love SVH too. Elizabeth so baik hati and Jessica was always the biatch. Hehehe..

Cosmic_GurL said...

9 - LOL! Ure right abt pics of ppl getting laid part. Wei! 12 thn tu masih kanak2 bawah umur la. Who gave u the books to read?

Ezah - Good chick lit? Depends on who the author is. I dont think u can go wrong with authors like Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Cicelia Ahern and Louise Bagshaw. I have a few if u nak pinjam dear :)

Shopper Mom - Chick lits dont insult my intelligence. Romance novels do! Hehehehe

tiena - U said it gurl! Tho' I do have one or two stashed somewhere in the house. Zaman dulu2 punya la..hehehe

stupe - ure absoutely right! Thts how I improve my english and u get to know wht "manhood" really means. LOL!
Such a good pengawas u are :)

angeleyes - Wow! All of them? So u suka Elizabeth or Jessica?

Ylanda - Yeah, her books are good too! But her stories are kinda "dark". Sister sleeping with bro. Gross.

trippin - OMG!! Sweet Dreams! I used to read them in class when I was in Standard 6 and the teacher was teaching in front some more! Hehehe...Sweet Dreams yang cover dia pics of gurls only kan?

Cosmic_GurL said...

Javard - Wht else to call them la? Metro lit? for metrosexuals issit? Hehehe..yeah i know ure soooo into metro lits kan? Wht ru reading now?

Cik PMS - I love Jane Green too!Whts happening on Thurs? Alaaa..my bro's akad nikah is on thurs night.

Stupe - I think I prefer SVH. They were all so innocent then. Sigh...

mobilemom said...

Ohh dear...all that brings back memory!!!! :)

Angel Eyes said...

i like Elizabeth Wakefield, and sometimes i wananbe Lila Fowler... but Todd Wilkins tu cute laa...

What abt u? U like Amy Sutton ker?

Angel Eyes said...

Stupe,

I like both... SVH i've a complete set.. SVU only a few in my collection...

U like that huh?

lensman said...

hahaha....my mum used to have those books with half-naked men. i guess that's how she brushed up her english...hehehehe.

err...when's ur wedding? should u be looking for a photographer, pls check my fp, kay. i'm extending my service to that genre...hehehe

Cosmic_GurL said...

Mobilemom - It does, doesnt it? :)

angeleyes - Hehehe...haiyoo u can still remember their names? I can only remember the twins and todd wilkins

lensman - wedding insyaallah next year la plak. Ala why tak cakap awal2? my bro is getting married tonight and kenduri is in june. kalau tahu can ask u to be the photographer :)

Dame RoSse said...

i love judith mcnaught too.
down south, i borrow the books from the library. if i like the book, then purchase.
anyone out there remember 'PS I LOVE YOU'?

Angel Eyes said...

why i can still rememeber them> well, sometimes i do read these books whenever i feel bored. it brings back the goold old days memories...

binx said...

aaah... love 'Paradise' and 'Perfect' too.. i have all Judith McNaught's book actually.. used to be a fan of romance novel until it gets too typical that u don't even need to read it to know how it'll end.. now i prefer those chic lits anytime!

leen ash burn - i think that's "Knight in Shining Armor" by Jude Deveraux

Oreos said...

oohh... the ending. i like.

enjoy the long weekend ;)

Gravt Kills said...

i used to secretly steal my sister's mills and boon to read hehehe...she always hid it underneath the mattress to keep it out of sight from mommy and daddy

KaiserSoze said...

Wifey still reads Mills & Boon. I personally think that you need not read sophisticated literary prize winner all the time. What's more important is to read...

cikPijah said...

leen! buku tu from Jude Deveraux.. title nye tak hengat plak.. buku time SPM tu! On 2nd thought.. title nye Knight in Shining Armour tak?

Cosmic_Gurl,
sama! i pun pengunjung setia Novel House time dahulu kala.. chic-lit and romance novel mmg best baca.. but now since i dah tua i prefer thriller merapu-rapu novels. u shud give it a shot! aisey! now i remember i'm suppose to list out the books i want to give out. :P

Cosmic_GurL said...

damme rose - PS I love you by cecilia ahern right? yeah, it's a very good book. sad and sweet!

angel eyes - Yup yup! I can read judith's novels over and over again :)

binx - I dont know whether to categorise Judith's novels as romance novels or chic lit..it has lil bit of both kan?

oreos - Thanks :)

kaisersoze - hey you! lama tak nampak. been busy eh? Yr wife ke you yang baca Mills and Boon? :p
Yeah ure right. Whts more important is tht you read.

cikpijah - Hehehe..kita serupaaaaaa! I like thriller novels too! Dean Koontz?

ti.e.na said...

tom clancy best tak?

[Is]landa said...

aiyoohh, update already lah woman.

Mr Hobo said...

is there any chance of an update here? Ylanda ... i like those Jap writing on the picture

Cosmic_GurL said...

tiena - Yup yup, tom clancy is not bad too. Definitely not a chic lit la u know. Hehehe

Ylanda - Haiyooo! Sudah update la woman. Now why wld u have the word "pig" there?

Hobo - U put her up to it didnt you? The words on her pic...

[Is]landa said...

yeah, hobo yg buat!
i kena paksa masuk cult japanese pig dia.

mak tak bersalah u ols.

Lin said...

I used to go to Novel House LOTS when I was younger. I read all the Sweet Valley High books there! So puas man. Till now, I still buy my novels at places where I get to sell it back. I don't see a point in keeping a book where I would only read it once.

Chic Lit for me. Can't stand romance.