Boomer Lit – The Growing Genre by Melinda Richarz Lyons
After the publication of my mystery/romance book, Heir to a Secret, I discovered the fact that instead of being referred to as “Chick Lit,” it was probably considered “Boomer Lit.” I also learned that is not to be confused with “Geezer Lit” which includes books written specifically for older men.
Aimed at women over fifty, my book falls under this genre obviously because it appeals to baby boomers. That group is defined as persons born between 1946 and 1964. Born in 1948, I am part of that segment of the population.
While Boomer Lit is aimed specifically at that particular group, it is, interestingly enough, also popular with women in other age groups.
Why are younger women drawn to books about mature women? Perhaps one of the reasons is that they are looking ahead to their middle and senior years. But I think more importantly, younger women are reading Boomer Lit because of the trends boomer authors are currently crafting.
The reading demands of my baby boomer generation are very different from those of previous generations. For example, we want to read about strong, intelligent older women because we feel we are still strong and intelligent. Despite our “older” status, we identify with characters that are vibrant and productive no matter how old they are.
Boomer authors are responding by offering characters that are savvy, young at heart, lively and full of spunk. It’s a “never too late to have fun” attitude. Flirtatious and sassy women are writing and reading baby boomer literature.
We also want to read about women that continue to care about how they look, and enjoy being fashionable. I recently looked at a photograph of my grandmother in her fifties. In her “Eleanor Roosevelt” shoes, severe hair style and dark suit, she looks dowdy.
Older women today look younger, in part because of their continuing interest in fashion. But more important, we boomers and seniors care about staying healthy. Many of our grandmothers thought exercising was not feminine. We find it invigorating and vital in our quest to remain active into our senior years. We tend to eat healthier, too, as we age.
Another trend I’ve noticed in Boomer Lit is that it touts older women who are still interested in romance and having sex. Readers of all ages love the idea that you can still fall in love and have a good sex life even in your golden years.
I feel as an author, I have a responsibility to make sure that my books always include plots involving intelligent older men and women who see themselves as both fun loving and capable of continuing to be important members of society. As writers, we need to keep setting examples for the generations coming behind us. Old doesn’t mean dead and readers of all ages like that message.
Who knows? Twenty years from now, over fifty book lovers might be considered too young for books aimed at middle aged readers. And we may even have a specific genre for young at heart readers in their nineties.
As we continue to strive for not just longer lives, but healthy lives full of activity, our idea of “old” becomes younger and younger. And that is what it is all about.
Melinda Richarz Lyons earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Texas and has been a free lance writer for over forty years. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Nashville Parent, Cats Magazine, True West, Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love, Kids, Etc., Frontier Times, Reminisce, Cincinnati Family Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers.
An award winning songwriter, she has also authored several books including Women Only Over Fifty and the young readers novel, Murder at the Oaklands Mansion. Her non-fiction grief book, Crossing the Minefield, garnered a Royal Palm Literary Award and is recommended by support groups across the country. It is also included in many bereavement library collections, such as the Patient/Family Library at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
In addition, Ms. Lyons is a regular columnist for several grief websites.. Her most recent work is the romance mystery, Heir to a Secret. She lives in Tyler, Texas and invites you to visit her website: www.melindalyons.com.
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