If you think The Hunger Games is about dieting, wonder why zombies are suddenly popular when Night of the Living Dead was made in 1968, and found the bedroom scene between Streep and Baldwin in “It’s Complicated” pretty hot, then you’re probably a baby boomer.
Boomers are folks born between 1946 and 1964.The eighteen-year generation span defines the youth movements of the sixties, the culture of excess in the seventies and the “yuppies” of the eighties. Marketing experts have always had an eye on this post-war generation, starting with the hip-swiveling Hula-Hoop back in 1963 and right through to today’s high tech gadgets.
These days, with many boomers hitting their sixties, we’ve seen a rise in films where the leading man and lady fit into this age range. Smart move, Hollywood.
Boomers are consumers.
Some publishers are stepping out of the box and taking a risk on a new market niche in literature called “Boomer Lit.” Much like the way Young Adult and New Adult enjoy a certain following with readers in that age group, the latest folks to demand relatable literature for themselves are baby boomers.
So once you slip on your reading glasses, where can you find a good boomer read?
One place is Goodreads. At the time of this writing, Goodreads—a free site—has grown to 20 million members. Don’t worry about getting lost in the crowd. You can select your own friends or become part smaller formal “groups” of like-minded readers including one for—you guessed it—boomer literature.
The Goodreads Boomer Lit group currently has over 400 members. Started by author Claude Nougat, discussions and featured titles have one thing in common; they center on literature with main characters in the boomer age range. Members of this group can find recommendations on titles, mingle with other members, or quietly lurk around in the plentiful strands of conversation offered on the site.
Both readers and authors can participate. Moderators make sure discussions stay on track. Sometimes members vote on a monthly book club selection, followed up by on-line discussion. In addition to the Goodreads group, the forward-thinking Ms. Nougat, also started a blog called Boomer Lit Fridaywhere once a week different authors discuss this growing trend in publishing. For the month of July, an excerpt “blog-hop” took place, where a reader could sample several offerings in this genre.
One Goodreads Boomer Lit member, Michael Murphy, wrote a novel about a man who relives his journey to Woodstock to scatter his wife’s ashes called Goodbye Emily. When asked why he chose to write for this emerging genre, he said, “I wrote Goodbye Emily to portray sixty-somethings in a way I seldom read in contemporary fiction. The baby boomer main characters are talented, possess humor honed by years of experiencing life’s ironies, loving, and yes, sexually active.”
As an author and boomer, I’ve done my part to help the cause. My recent release, The Hourglass, is a work of romantic women’s fiction where the characters are mature, middle-aged adults, facing a turning point in their lives and trying to grasp what it means to have a second chance at life and love. When a single, middle-aged reader recently shared that my novel gave her hope for a second chance, it highlighted how important it is for publishers and authors to bring characters of all ages to life.
Another one of my readers summed it up best when she wrote on her review of The Hourglass, “Life doesn’t end at thirty.” No. It doesn’t. Which is the reason why, as the boomer generation demands relatable books on the shelves, it’s nice to see they are finally getting some.