C is NOT for “Chick Lit”

But it IS for Cecily, Candace, and Commencement! (hehe, and CHUCK) Last week, the Union Square Barnes & Noble AGAIN made my literary dreams come true by hosting a book signing with Cecily von Ziegesar, Candace Bushnell, and that other girly book authorĀ  (J. Courtney Sullivan).

What better way to celebrate Serena van der Woodsen’s Bastille Day Birthday, than WITH HER CREATOR?!?! I read the Gossip Girl books (yes, all of them) during my senior year of high school. Okay, I was only 4 years older than I should have been, reading a girly teen fiction series… don’t hate. I loved that I was applying for schools at the same time as the characters, and living senior year right as S & B were. I remember reading Gossip Girl to put off a Hamlet paper, and I’d open the book… and Serena was PUTTING OFF A HAMLET PAPER! Yes, yes I DID apply to Boston University because Nate did. Yes I DID buy Gauloise cigarettes while in France because Serena smoked them chimneyily. Yes I DID have my mother use natural oils to concoct a real-life replica of the “Serena’s Tears” perfume. YES I DID bring the first book with me to my freshman year of college like some girls bring their bible. OKAY?!?!?!! I have a problem, and I’m aware of it. Yet, Cecily is one of the many people on my “dream dinner party” guest list, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to drool at her brilliance. I mean, she’s…like…THE CREATOR OF BLAIR. The books were so great…. and then season 3 of the show and Vanessa’s HAIRY HAIRY HEAD ruined them! Except not really cause nothing EVER could, but still, Josh Schwartz: you always come just SO close to brilliance and then invite Hilary Duff… I mean kill Marissa… I mean jump the shark. UGH.

The beautiful ladies were at Barnes & Noble to promote their latest novels and not address the enormous elephant in the room that was my main question: “Cecily, how is it that you’ve allowed for the television series to be so CRAPTASTIC in comparison to your books, and yet Candace has done just the opposite in that the show is just as wondrous as her original novel, if not slightly better?” Oh. Maybe I was the only one thinking this.

Candace was very sweet when I met her, and she behaved like a charmingly inappropriate Carrie Bradshaw, explaining the changes in the workplace for women today (less cocaine in the office, safer city streets, etc. etc.). The ladies also discussed their novels, writing, “the process,” and each offered wise gems such as Candace’sĀ  “…When you’re in your twenties, you feel like, ‘I have to get everything done. Right. Now!’ and… you really don’t,” and “If you don’t feel that if you’re not a writer [or whatever career it may be], you’ll DIE, then DON’T do it.” Candace’s friendship with the GREAT SIR BRET EASTON ELLIS was clear with her explanation about the “idealism that a teenager has… [and the] break between the fantasy of adult life and the reality of adult life…[there is an] inherent tension in it, which goes back to girl versus society.” Thus began Cecily’s eloquent dismissal of “chick lit” as a defining category of literature, and asking “is there a ‘DUDE LIT’?!” I knew as soon as the rando in the audience mentioned “CHICK LIT” in the same sentence as one of their names that heads would roll. CECILY IS NO LAUREN CONRAD!

It should also be noted that Cecily chatted with me and Annie (the Serena to my Blair) for so long after signing all three books I’d brought (including the copy of the first novel which I purchased in French, in France), and J. Courtney Sullivan is so sweet and adorable and… Candace Bushnell created the novel that led to a very well-written show? All in all: GREAT evening of female-driven books and CCCChit CCCCChat!


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