There is nothing like a good book. That’s something women know firsthand. According to Statista, in 2018 a survey showed that 11 percent of U.S. women read 31 or more books that year, compared to five percent of male respondents. Book Riot reported that women read more than men, 19.8 minutes per day compared to 13.2, with men’s reading time declining more quickly than that of women. In the US people aged 20-34 read the least with an average of 6.6 minutes per day, with teenagers reading about 1.8 minutes more. Moreover, those 75 and older read the most, with an average of 51 minutes per day. There seems to be a long-term benefit to reading for those over 65.
Book readers were shown to have a 20% “reduction in risk of mortality” over 12 years, compared to non–book readers in a 2016 study. This advantage was significantly greater than for those who only read newspapers or magazines.
A 2001 study showed that people who participate in mental activities like reading, puzzles, or chess might be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t engage in as much mental stimulation.
Leaving out all the statistics, reading is fun, informative, and entertaining. So, why are publishers always interested in the latest twenty or thirty-something title when it comes to fun and flirty titles, I can’t tell you. I am just as interested in the latest cookbooks and thought provoking titles about culture, race, gender, identity, education, and politics. I like to be well-rounded in my interests and informed by reading books from different perspectives. Yes, I am a grown-up.
However, being an adult woman over fifty doesn’t mean I don’t want to read a flirty novel or page-turning thriller with older characters. By older. I don’t mean a character with their life’s disappointments chiseled on their faces, but rather a character that is still vital and vibrant. Perhaps a heroine who although grey, still dyes her hair blonde and puts on a pair of pumps instead of sensible loafers. Basically, I love to read about characters that are relatable. And, unlike unicorns, they do exist.
One the the hallmarks of Candace Bushnell’s Sex and The City book and subsequent series, is the way readers/viewers saw something of themselves in each of the characters and went along for the ride as they got older and grew as women. It’s why the series and movies were so successful. It’s also the reason people are excited to see the girls return to the city in their fifties, although it’s sans Samantha.
This is one of the main reasons that I began this site. I wanted to help promote life north of forty and fifty-plus. I certainly won’t say it’s a complete walk in the park, but it never was at any age. However, age tempered with wisdom, love, patience, and a sense of humor, makes for a very pleasant second act in life So, why not in fiction. To that end, I’m introducing fiction free views. I am going to share snippets from my novels that I hope you will enjoy. I hope to get more contributors as I go along to introduce you to voices you haven’t heard. I hope you enjoy it.
We are kicking it off with a title that says it all, North of Forty
At the tender age of eight, Cecelia Carter met the love of her life, New York City smitten by the expanse, diversity, and energy. The juxtaposition of high-rise buildings and old brownstones where modern Manhattan met old world New York fascinated her. The precocious Cecelia preferred McCall Pattern books and sketchpads to Highlight’s for Children. As a preteen, she vaulted over Seventeen and Tiger Beat in favor of Vogue, Essence, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and Brides. After all she’d been raised in a family of professional caliber seamstresses who could make anything on sight alone. She grew more enthralled with Manhattan with every trip. She delighted in the display windows graced the fancy department stores and boutique windows along the streets and avenues. At thirteen, not only had Cecelia made her mind up that she’d be a designer she’d call the city home.
Thirty plus years later Cecelia had achieved success as a bridal designer. Everyone from socialites to A, B and D List celebrities to excited brides on Main Street of any town USA wore her designs.
She was a fat girl in the skinny world before the era of using politically correct terms began. Growing up some big girls bullied others; some were wallflowers and the rest didn’t give a rat’s behind about what other people thought. At 5’9, Cecelia owned her size 16 bottom and 38DDD bust. At thirteen, she sketched, cut patterns, placed darts, basted hems and worked a Singer sewing machine like a Hell’s Angel rode a Harley. Cecelia couldn’t make bras. For that, she and her mother made a pilgrimage to Gorgette’s, a store that catered to the well endowed.
Cecelia didn’t give a rat’s ass about what people thought of her size. Blunt, occasionally combative and used an arsenal of expletives which fortified her self-esteem for the competitive and often judgmental world of bridal fashion. She determined to turn the bridal fashion world on its head with Lia Bridals by violating an unspoken taboo. In addition to the usual size 0-10 gowns, Lia Bridals made gowns and samples in women’s sizes. While noble, many believed it wasn’t sustainable. They expected Lia Bridals would last a year at most. Women’s bridal gowns were expensive to produce with increased costs for fabrics, crystals and sequins to name a few.
With whispers of fashion and financial madness behind her back, Cecelia handed her naysayers a large piece of crow when the company she started in her living room turned a profit in the first year.
A major player twenty years later, Lia Bridals was the big time. Every buyer, reporter, blogger, and bridal editor attended her jam-packed shows. There was even a standing waiting list to get in. Cecelia used Bippity Boppity Boo fashion fairy godmother magic with a needle and thread. Every Lia bride experienced the thrill of a Cinderella moment.
All the icons of fashion and art had muses who inspired them. Cecelia’s muse was the city was a veritable, movable, and fashionable feast for the creative soul. Though the players changed, New York maintained served as her muse even in rush hour traffic.
As horns blared and fouled tempered drivers cursed loudly, Cecelia’s fashion trance was broken by the sound of her IPhone. It was her fiancé, Roy. She grabbed her stylus pen to answer.
“Hi baby. Are you on your way home?”
“Yes. Naturally, I’m stuck in traffic.”
“Par for the course,” He laughed..
“True.” She watched a car cut in front of her. “What the fuck? I love how these jackasses make their own lanes.” She huffed.
“You’re not behind the wheel, are you?”
“Leave the cursing to your driver.”
“I’m a hostile driver even from the back seat.”
“Do me a favor and let the guy driving worry about everyone else. So how did it go today?”
“We’re moving ahead with the project.”
“You don’t have to sound so excited.” He said facetiously.
“I still have my reservations, but they have my signature. I’ll fill you in whenever this traffic decides to move.” She looked at the sea of brake lights all around. “God only knows how long it will take to get home.”
“Don’t worry. I ordered 2 large pizzas and a personal pizza for you.”
“You are such a doll. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He paused. “Are you still using your stylus pen?”
“Listen, you finally got me to use this flipping thing. I liked my old cell phone.”
“That thing belonged in the Smithsonian.”
“At least the stylus pen makes me look like I have opposable thumbs. The touch screen made me look like I just wandered out of a glacier or cave.”
Roy laughed. “I’m teasing you honey. You know I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Oh, I have a call coming in from my office. I’d better take it. I’ll see you whenever you get home.”
“Hopefully that will happen sometime this month.” She laughed then ended the call. Cecelia looked around the spacious limousine. I have to hand it to them. They know how to give you the star treatment. So, if I it takes some time to get home at least there’s a full bar back here..