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Are novels the new medicine? Does a chick lit a day really keep the doctor away?
Well, according to a study at Uni of Gothenburg in Sweden, it is! “Fiction reading is a meaningful activity that the sick-listed women initiated on their own, and it strengthened their ability to take part in everyday activities,” stated work-life counsellor Lena Mårtensson, who worked on the study with literature researcher Cecilia Pettersson.
The report was based on in-depth interviews with eight women who were on sick leave for between four and 36 months. Most women read either light-hearted fiction such as chick-lit or relationship dramas. Part of the joy of reading chick lit, was the fact that the books focused on relationships. The researchers also found that the women they studied used literature for several purposes: to relate to the dilemmas described in the plot or as simple distraction to keep the chores of every day at bay.
“The women read in all […] different ways but at different times during their sick leave, feeling that it greatly contributed to their rehabilitation,” commented researcher Cecilia Pettersson.
So, when you have a winter cold or flu and you want to speed up recovery, grab yourself one of the books below and refuse to leave your bed until you’ve devoured it!
Below are 10 great chick books — one or two you might know and hopefully you’ll find some new ones to put on your wish list to Santa!
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyles
Me Before You tells the tale of Lou Clark, a bright but unmotivated woman who drifts between dead-end jobs until she eventually ends up caring for a young man who has been left in a quadriplegic state following a road accident two years earlier. Will Traynor seemingly had it all — a well paid, high-profile job and a busy lifestyle, until it was all taken away from him in a tragic accident. Lou hatches a plan to try to convince an embittered Will that his life is in fact worth living.
This uplifting book will make you grateful for all you have — and most of all that you picked it up in the first place!
2. How We Met by Katy Regan
The idea is fairly simple: a group of friends discover a list their dear dead friend wanted to achieve before she was 30 so they take it upon themselves to do the things on the list — an homage of sorts, be it learning salsa-dancing or swimming in the sea at sunrise. Deep down they are hoping that it will help them through their sometimes solitary/sometimes shared grief and maybe unite them again once more. But can friendship survive a death? Betrayal? Lies? Distance and time?
This a novel for anyone who values friendship; who remembers the easy days of youth whilst they struggle in the throes of parenthood; for anyone who has loved, lost, and everything in between. Most of all it makes you want to grab hold of every second of life you have left. Buy it — go on, you deserve it.
3. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
I read this book, on a much loved holiday back in 2007. It never left me … It starts on a stormy night in the ’60s, when a doctor (David) is forced to deliver his own twins, with a nurse to assist him. The boy arrives safely, but he discovers his daughter has Down syndrome. David decides to protect his wife from what he perceives to be a tragedy, so he gives the baby to the nurse (Caroline) and asks her to take the baby to a home for unwanted children. He tells his wife that the baby girl died at birth. Caroline makes a spontaneous decision to look after the baby herself, and leaves town. Over the years the two families grow up, each living with the fateful decisions they made that night … Can things ever be the same again?
4. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
This epic novel, the life of Dolores Price, took writer Wally Lamb seven years to write. Enjoy every carefully selected word of this heartbreaking book. It begins when Dolores is a young child and her mother goes to the hospital to give birth to her baby brother, who tragically dies. Dolores parents split up and she and her mom go to live with her grandma. As Dolores grows up, life throws at her every tragedy that you could imagine, but she is a survivor.
When I finished reading this book, I wept. Nothing has ever moved me so much. There is a Dolores in us all. If I had to read one book for the rest of my life, this may well be it.
5. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Number of times I have read this book: 2. Number of times I have watched the movie: 3. Percent of Bridget that I relate to: 100%. When I first read the book that is arguably considered the first one ever in the ‘chick lit’ genre, it blew me away. Why? Was it my life? Bad dates, ruined diets, career in TV, surrounded by smug marrieds? Hello! Bridget Jones defined an era of women and the torture of single life in the ’90s. Hilarious and terribly British, this is a fun read not to be missed.
6. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
Rachel Walsh knows how to have a good time. She just doesn’t know when the good times need to stop. And it isn’t helping that she lives in Manhattan — the city that never sleeps! Her love of a good time is about to land her in the emergency room. It will also cost her a job and her hot boyfriend. Her loving family bundle her back home and check her into Ireland’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. Rachel thinks she’ll be having a spa holiday, but what she has to face is much worse — she has to take a good long look in the mirror, and sober it isn’t such a pretty sight. Can Rachel face her demons and the past and most of all, learn to live in her own skin? A heroine you can really root for — Rachel you can do it!
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book is set in the unjust world of Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, where black maids single-handedly raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver … It is narrated by three women in turn. Aibileen and Minny are black maids whose lives are abused by the miserable women they wait on. Skeeter is a white college graduate who mourns the disappearance of the old maid who practically raised her and wants to do something more with her life than marry a local boy. Appalled by the way she sees maids are treated, Skeeter decides to write a book, telling the maids’ tales in their own words. But at what cost? Un-put-down-able. Is that a word? Well it is now …
8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
“My name was Salmon, like the fish. First name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.”
And so begins the most incredible, enchanting book that you will read. My tip? Have a box of tissues next to you at all times as you read this story, told by Susie from heaven. Brave, memorable, beautiful, and bold — the words roll off the page as if they were written to a private melody. By the end of the book, when Suzie wishes you all “a long and happy life,” I thought my tears would never cease. Unforgettable.
9. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Samantha Sweeting does what so many of us dream of. One day, having had enough of her workaholic life as an attorney, she gets up, walks out of her office, and gets on the first train she comes to. She ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at an enormous house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as the housekeeper. Here is a top-class lawyer who has no idea how to cook, sew, or clean … but at least there is a hunky gardener to sweeten the nightmare! Funny, warm and full of zest, this is an easy read when you want to give your brain a break. Like your very own escape to the country.
10. One Day by David Nicholls
15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. They kiss and talk until dawn. But then they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? One Day spans 20 years with two people. This adorable book follows studious hard-working Emma and privileged, arrogant Dexter as they graduate and begin to grow up. I dare you not to fall in love with them. The book with the biggest surprise I have ever read. I shall say no more …More On