I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to my Nan. She’s 95 you know? And still going strong, even if she doesn’t think she is. I’ve been working hard trying to get her to remember what she’s achieved in her life and and to help us youngsters to understand ours. I’ve also been trying to get her to be more outward looking.
My Nan was born in 1918. When she was growing up she learnt the Charleston. She worked in a munitions factory during WWII. She was one of the first to enjoy package holidays to Spain and Italy. She travelled on steam trains and had siblings die in their infancy from things that today wouldn’t even warrant hospitalisation. When young all her clothes were hand made and she spent an entire day having her hair permed. Perhaps she should write her own book!
She reads historical fiction and things like Barbara Taylor Bradford. But it did get me thinking. As we are living in an ever ageing population do we need a new genre? We have children’s books, teen books, young adult books, coming of age books… do we have old age books? Is there such a thing? I’m talking about fiction here.
If there was, what would distinguish it? What would it be about? If I ask my Nan she’d just talk in terms of existing genres. I don’t want to be patronising but from my experience what would make a good book for my Nan would be.. happy, uplifting, life affirming, about her generation but in a realistic way that presents old age as a valued thing where individuals value themselves, look for what they can do and act on it. (I’m trying really hard to be positive here as I have quite strong views about the poisonous attitude to old age that we have in the UK and other western countries).
Are there any books that fall into this category? I can only think of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books which have this positive attitude, but having not read any I can only attest to what I’ve seen on television.
That got your attention!
My partner and I are both keen readers. We both enjoy a thriller, we both enjoy good science based writing and, if I’m honest, like a good romance. However, there the bookish similarity ends.
We occasionally recommend books to each other, and where one thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the other is often unmoved or gets something completely different from the book. More often than not we don’t take a lot of notice of a recommendation, probably because we’ve learnt from the above.
The differences don’t stop there either. My partner likes to read a series of books by the same author, whereas I prefer variety. They like to stick to what they know, whereas I like to be challenged and surprised (hence Blissfully Ignorant Reading).
We both like reading in bed, but our routines don’t always coincide, so my partner has finished her night’s reading just as I am getting into bed and she puts the light out! So I come downstairs and read on the sofa (normally far too late into the night).
This all sounds rather distant, but there’s no judgement attached to each other’s approach to reading. We do discuss our books and how they have effected us, and enjoy that conversation. We value our reading and have tried to pass on that value to our children. This aspect of our relationship is very harmonious – true love. I am very lucky
“Love is Patient”
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
We don’t always read when we go to bed 😉