Friday, October 15, 2010

Do Real Men Read Chick Lit?

As I travel around the USA listening to men download about women, I find a number of guys who admit (off the record) to enjoying chick lit,. These men, who confess in whispers that they enjoy it, say their preference is for the lean, mean prose of Janet Evanovich / Stephanie Plum.  Perhaps Evanovich is the pied-piper of chick lit for Real Men?

Hank is 41 and not hard on the eyes. Our conversation moves to books. "I've never read chick lit... well hardly ever. It's too wordy. Elaborate, superfluous description that adds nothing to the story. Excessive and redundant adjectives and (he shudders) adverbs that slow down or dumb down the story to the point I might doze off  while reading, even if I'm simultaneously riding my Harley on the freeways. But when I do read chick lit, I really enjoy the terse action in a Stephanie Plum novel. I like to laugh when I read."

Les is a real estate investor who travels a lot. He acquired a Kindle last year and is devouring eBooks. He's in his mid-50's and easy going. "Plausibility. A relative term that requires to me as a reader, that the characters and actions be plausible within the confines of the story. In chick lit, the heroine can be a timid librarian who has taken six self-defense lessons, goes out with her cat to solve a murder, and kicks  a hitman's butt before dragging him off to jail. Wrong. The heroine should overcome through intelligence, quick thinking, and cunning or by using weapons because damn few women (even those with a black belt) can take down a man (even a couch potato.) And you shouldn't take a cat anywhere without a cat carrier unless you've prearranged a transfusion."

Humor... the great equalizer is the reason men read chick lit. Humor can be used in any type of novel, it's almost a necessary ingredient.

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