Part of being a reader is often finding groups to belong to: friends at a library, a book club, a friend who likes similar books, generally someone to share our love of books.
And while we are talking of books and genres we like, can we discuss the term ‘chick lit’? What is it exactly? No one wants to be the one to read it, but any book written by a women (except self help and crime) seems to fall into this category. Also: note there is no ‘lad lit’ – they can just read whatever they like.
In the spirit of women standing up for each other, sharing, and lifting each other up, I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful group, hoping you will support these women and they will inspire you.
(If you need any incitement, take a look at the matches of the past week to see what the power of women looks like.)
Some of these women you know already from past reviews (The Vanishing Year, The Middle Of Somewhere, A Dog Year, House Broken). They are mainly American, but as far as I am aware there is no equivalent in the UK (hint hint, for any author’s reading this). They are the Tall Poppies, a group of women writers who support each other in their work. Sound too simple? Yet we don’t do it enough. Especially professionally, we often strive for our own success, but don’t think of helping others. There is hardly an industry left where ‘only one can be at the top’ and it is important to be alone in your success – especially not as an author. So these women connect with each other and with readers, promote each other, and support one another in every way they can.
The name has a beautiful history based in Ancient Rome and Greece (which, coincidentally, is where I currently am. More on this next time…). The Roman king Tarquin gave his son the following advice on how to rule: He went into his garden, took a stick, and swept across the flowers, cutting off the head of the tallest poppies. His advice was to kill all of the brightest and most successful people and cut exceptional individuals down to a uniform size.
The Tall Poppies however believe “if a tall poppy is left to grow, other poppies in the field will strive to rise above the crowd as well, all reaching for the ample sun.”
What is in it for you as a reader, you may wonder? Not only is this group a pool of endless talent, with an ever growing number of books published, but it’s also about the type of books they offer: they are smart, insightful, a range of hard hitting and romance, escapism and reality , a TRUE representation of what Women’s Fiction has to offer.
They are also welcoming their readers into a Facebook group to share reading stories and suggestions, but also to discuss and bond. There are giveaways and book talks, but also a chance to get to know the people who populate our bookshelves on a more personal level. It reminds us we all have to juggle in our lives, and it helps to see how others keep all the balls up in the air, and sometimes we can help each other out.
So I invite you to take a look at some of the books – and their authors. Some I have reviewed for you here, some I read for myself, and I’ll be happy to review or discuss any others you may be interested in. I hope you will each find a wonderful and smart book and share your experience with others, to promote good books written by good women writers, and letting the poppies grow as high as they can.