Okay, first a quick reminder: I’ll be speaking tonight at Kepler’s. Hope you can make it!
Moving on: Four days a week I take my son to swim lessons. While he’s diligently working on his “ice cream scoopers” and “pizza arms” I sit by the pool chatting with the other moms. Oddly enough the most common topic of conversation among this impromptu mom’s group is not our children, its politics and world affairs. I’m actually fairly well versed in these areas and can talk about the issues intelligently. Thus I am now seen by a few of these other mothers as being somewhat of an intellectual.
On the last day of this last two-week session one of the moms promised to go out and buy my book. “It’ll be weird to switch to a book titled Sex, Murder And A Double Latte after what I’m currently reading (The Time Of The Uprooted by Elie Wiesel). But,” she said, giving me a knowing smile, “I bet it’s not as light as it sounds. I bet it was just packaged that way and you snuck in some rather deep and thought provoking messages.”
“No,” I said with an emphatic shake of my head. “It’s just light. No hidden agenda, just pure escapism.”
This surprised her and I know why. People assume that intelligent, well educated authors write serious literature and that ditzy, fashion and men-obsessed authors are responsible for all the chick lit and romance novels. Why would a person who is passionate about the environment write a comical book about a woman who fanatical about Jimmy Choos?
The reason is simple: intelligent chick lit authors (and I immodestly include myself in this group) are well rounded. We know that a person can escape into something light and still listen to NPR and read the Times. There’s more to us than just the chick lit we write but the reverse is just as important: there’s more to us than the causes we champion.
A perfect example of this is Jennifer Lynn Barnes author of the newly released YA supernatural/chick lit novel Golden. It just came out today so I haven’t read it yet but I have read the reviews. Kirkus liked it (that makes 3 books they don’t hate) and called it “…A well-balanced blend of fast-moving fantasy and light, playful chick lit.” .
Light, playful, chick lit. So she must be a light, playful gal, right? Between writing sessions she must be out shopping the Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale in search of the latest Juicy Couture handbag she wants to take on her next trip to Vegas.
Then again, maybe she recently graduated from Yale with a degree in cognitive science and spends her non-novel-writing-time compiling research on animal and child cognition for the likes of World News Tonight, Animal Planet and The New York Times and makes preparations for the year she’ll be spending at Cambridge doing autism research.
Barnes is a true Renaissance woman and I look forward to reading both her blog and her book, not because I hope to learn something about cognitive science but because I want to know what a cognitive scientist thinks about A-List teens with cool supernatural powers.
To quote the back cover of the book, you can't always judge a girl by her lip gloss.
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