MoDo Enters Borders, Discovers ‘Chick-Lit’ Phenomenon


We read Maureen Dowd‘s Times column over the weekend, the one where she takes a stroll through a D.C.-area Borders with New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier and declares, among other things, “I even found Sylvia Plath‘s The Bell Jar with chick-lit pretty-in-pink lettering.” Far from experts in chick-lit or literature written by chicks, we’ll let Ron Hogan at GalleyCat explain Dowd’s plundering:

Dowd’s stroll through a D.C. bookstore with curmudgeonly blockhead Leon Wieseltier is filled with ridiculous flourishes, as when she declares, “I even found Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar with chick-lit pretty-in-pink lettering.” Let’s assume she was talking about the cover at right, which graces the most recent HarperPerennial reprint. Yes, Plath’s name is in somewhat pinkish letters, and, yes, the cover does make use of the classic “legs-in-isolation” theme. But to compare this somber-hued, dully typefaced cover with the bright colors of explicit chick lit novels published by, say, Red Dress Ink or Plume or even Harper’s Avon division is rather a stretch, unless you’re looking to be deliberately argumentative. And then there’s the idea that “the bachelorette party of log-rolling blurbs by chick-lit authors” makes the books feel “interchangeable.” Because, Lord knows, that sort of thing never happens in the rarefied world of literary fiction.

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