Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird won the top vote for most influential book written by women. A selection of 20 titles voted by the public was launched to find novels by women “that have most impacted, shaped or changed readers’ lives”. Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti described Ms. Lee’s novel as “the book that introduced many of us to our belief in human rights,” adding “with human rights under attack the world over, the enduring appeal of Harper Lee’s great tale gives hope that justice and equality might yet triumph over prejudice”. Other titles on the list include classics, science fiction, romance and children’s literature. Read the full article in The Guardian and check out the entire list here.
In 1972, as the women’s rights movement was building steam to take on the Establishment, this iconic poster graced the walls of many a bedroom, office, kitchen, and dorm. It was designed by The Women’s Graphic Collective based here in Chicago, and thousands of posters were sold all around the world. This bold statement of what women are not was instrumental in changing our group consciousness and the day-to-day idiom of the culture. So, here we are, it’s 2010, in what some have dubbed post-Modern era, and libraries, bookstores, publishers, and reviewers are reveling in the success of a sub-genre of fiction called (drum roll…) “chick lit!” What is going on? Do you bristle every time you hear it? Should feminists take offense? Should we worry about a regression to earlier attitudes? Is there a term that says it better? Let’s face it–“young women’s, urban, up-beat, romantic, hip fiction” is quite a mouthful.
Last week the British paper “The Guardian” ran two timely pieces on this hot issue. Two successful authors took opposing sides on the moniker assigned to their novels. D. J. Connell’s piece appeared on Aug. 4th; Michele Gorman’s ran the next day. The debate continued on WBEZ’s “Q, the Summer” radio talk show from the CBC where host Jian Ghomeshi interviewed both authors on Wednesday, Aug. 11th.
Personally I have always been uncomfortable with the term “chick lit” as well as it’s near relation “chick flick,” though I have used them. I’d like something better that doesn’t rely on what many consider a derogatory term. Short of that, maybe we need an equally outrageous term for books that appeal to guys. Manly Reads, anybody? How about Macho Tales?