Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Boomer Lit"

Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s On the Edge column in Writers Digest magazine this month is titled “Boomer Lit”. The subject of this article is the emergence of the over-50 female book buyer and the kind of fiction and non-fiction this group is reading. The article notes the Boomer demographic is interested in and increasingly demanding age-relevant material tailored to mature women and closely mirroring the lives and life-styles of this age group. The article pronounces this a “trend” and calls it “Boomer Lit”.

The premise is that the female Boomer reader wants stories that address the realities of her life set in familiar settings. I cannot embrace that premise. I do not subscribe to the premise that a large portion of my demographic is most interested in stories built around illness, second romances, unpleasant relatives and the politics of the PTA life. While I’m sure there is a segment of the group that is interested in those things, I know there are many more who still read mystery and adventure, fantasy and the mystic. And as important to writers, they are still buying those books.

The most polite thing I can say is I’m not sure “Boomer Lit” is a term with any lasting relevance. The women of the Boomer generation line up with everyone else to buy the latest Harry Potter book and to purchase non-fiction like Tipping Point and Beautiful Boy. They continue to read the classics and great historical works. Magnifying a narrow branch of reading interest in an enormous demographic does not make a trend.

Joy Vyoral

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