Dec. 14, 2006 – Santa Fe, NM (PrLog)December 13, 2006–Are you stuck with a couple of names on your Christmas gift list and no ideas? The hardest people to buy for are often the oldest folks on that list, whether it is grandpa or old Mrs. Wilson next door. They’ve lived at least half a century, probably much longer, and done things we might not understand or have ever heard of. They are the originators of been there done that, and they have about everything they could possibly want or need. Outside of the boring new pair of slippers or a winter scarf, what can you get them that won’t clutter up the already full closets and cupboards of their home?
The answer, a book! How is that any more inspired than the slippers you might ask? The inspiration is in choosing the genre and title. A well chosen book from the memoir genre will be the best gift a senior on your list receives. Older seniors who came to adulthood long before the impact of the electronic age naturally turn to reading to fill leisure hours. One of the hottest genres in publishing now, the memoir, makes a perfect gift for seniors for several reasons.
The first and most appealing reason is that you, the shopper, can save yourself time frustration and concern about quality. Choosing a perfect title for the interest of your senior on-line from publisher’s websites, large and small, or from on-line book distributors, provides confidence about the product, takes only a few minutes of research and you can still have it delivered before Christmas, often gift wrapped by the distributor.
The second reason a well chosen memoir makes good sense for the senior is that, though a memoir can come in any length, usually they are shorter than a biography, autobiography or standard history and therefore, in weight and size, easier to handle. It can be a take anywhere gift for the active senior and a manageable one for the frail.
Number three, a memoir is an easy entertaining read. Gore Vidal in his memoir Palimpsest,b>, describes the genre as “how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.” A memoir documents a life, a portion of one’s life, or particular events in one’s life as the narrator remembers. Exact sequence or details of events are not necessary. A memoir often has a dramatic quality akin to fiction and can read like a novel. Not bogged down with facts, dates, footnotes it is an easy genre to pick-up for short periods, a casual read.
Number four, many people as they age have the time and inclination to contemplate their lives, their choices, the impact of history and social change on their lives. Naturally an interest in others of their generation or those whose lives impacted history during their lives follows. Who doesn’t enjoy a nostalgic journey?
Number five, studies over the last decade, including those published in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, have pointed to the benefits of reading in reducing the risk or delaying the onset of clinical manifestations of dementia. Reading is an activity we should all be supporting in our older population.
Seniors, from Boomers to centenarians, were impacted by the events of WWII. In the last few decades there has been a proliferation of biographies, autobiographies, histories and memoirs on World War II, its impact on American culture and the people, and the decades following. Many of those are from the soldier’s or a historical perspective. But more recently significant histories and memoirs of women who came of age in the early 1940s and the roles they played in the war and that the war played in their lives, have been published.
Santa Fe based publisher BelleCora Press features on its website four lists of memoirs and books of interest to seniors, titled; 25 Great Memoirs for Senior Readers, Good Reads About or By Seniors, Stories of the Women of WWII, Memoirs of Action in WWII. Award winning titles, as well as the obscure can be found in their lists, including the memoir of a midwife and the tale of an Irish newspaper columnist. Three unique titles from the lists are described below.
Still Life with Violin Ingeborg Lokos and Martha Williams LaCasse
Romantic memoir of the life of Ingeborg Lokos with her artist husband, follows the young pair from Vienna in their escape from the poverty of post WWII Europe to the tables of ambassadors and presidents. Available on www.BelleCora.com & Amazon.
Older But Wilder Effie Leland Wilder
Keen observation and good humor sparkle in these warm-hearted stories of her own life in a retirement home – the goings-on at Fair Acres Home. Available at Amazon.com.
Things You Get for Free Michael McGirr
Laughter and tears while reading McGirr’s experiences escorting his seventy-something Mum on a European vacation. Available at Amazon.com.
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