Saturday, July 21, 2012

Retirement Pleasures — Summer Reads for Seniors

Summer is well underway, but there are still many weeks left to enjoy vacation reading. I’ve collected the synopses for a handful of interesting, yet obscure books to get you started.

Fifty Shades of Silver

In this erotic adventure, a silver-haired senior struggles to undo the effects of salt water and chlorine.  Follow her trek from one hairdresser to the next in an effort to remove frightening streaks of green and orange. With her budget for beautification nearing depletion, she’s forced to take a part-time waitressing job. Not only is this demeaning, it also cuts into her beach and pool time.

Will she get her silver back and return to the beach to reignite her relationship with the hunky sixty-something lifeguard? Or will some other fox get to him during her absence… Fifty Shades of Silver is a real page-turner, the perfect summer read.

The Hunger Shames

Haymitch is a retiree who leads a double life. By day, he’s a champion of healthy living and sensible eating. No processed sugar crosses his lips. All his produce is organic. All his grains are whole. But as we learn in this exposé, Haymitch leads a shameful double life. After midnight, he slips out his back door to the fast-food court in a 24-hour mall.

The Hunger Shames is not pretty, but we’re compelled to keep reading. Will the crunchy granola fellow-retiree, Katniss, be able to reform his wayward ways? Or will Haymitch corrupt Katniss… You won’t be able to put down this cautionary tale.

Thinking, Not-So-Fast

This is a revisionary look at psychologist and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman’s bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow. The original explores two models of decision-making—the quick, instinctive, emotional and subconscious "fast" way; and the deliberative, logical, calculating and conscious "slow" one. Thinking, Not-So-Fast provides a melded alternative that more appropriately reflects the decision-making of retirees.

"Not-so-fast" decision-making is emotional and subconscious, yet it’s also calculating and slower. Most of what a typical retiree does is subconscious, since memories and attention spans are about thirty seconds long. Retirees often plan things down to the minutest details and then make an emotional last-minute decision anyway. Despite (or perhaps because of) the contradictions of this melded model, retirees should find it to be just right. We recommend you read it not-so-fast.

I Feel Bad About My Necking

The recent death of Nora Ephron reignited interest in her books. It also unleashed a rash of spin offs, including I Feel Bad About My Necking. When Peggy Sue’s high school diary surfaces, her entries spread like wildfire through her retirement community. It turns out this mild-mannered senior led quite a different life in her salad days.

In an effort to refurbish her reputation, she makes a public confession of her sins. Yes, she was secretly seeing Bobby and Donnie while she was going steady with Frankie. Yes, those were her footprints on Bobby’s dashboard upside down. Yes, it was her spiked heel that poked a hole in the roof liner of Donnie’s Corvette. And yes, it was her head that hit Frankie’s car horn at 2 am and woke the entire neighborhood. But she was in love with all three duck-tailed young men.

Peggy Sue insists that she regrets her sordid past and would lead a virtuous life if she had a do-over. As if. I Feel Bad About My Necking is guaranteed to have you searching for any journals about your own youthful indiscretions. BTW, shredders are on sale at Staples this month.

Outliers, Inliers and Other Factors for Success

Don’t confuse this book with Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, Outliers. Both books investigate factors that lead to success. Gladwell looked at the intersection of behavior and luck in the lives of prominent men. The author of Outliers, Inliers evaluated 100 successful people on specific physical characteristics. He determined that most of them were “outies” (had protruding belly buttons). “Innies” were less likely to stand out.

Both authors uncovered a 10,000 rule. Gladwell postulates that one key to success is practicing for 10,000 hours. If you do a task for 20 hours a week for 10 years, you’ll get really good at it. Retirees, take heart. You can also do it 50 hours a week for 4 years, if you don’t expect to be around for 20 more.

Outliers, Inliers found an inverse 10,000 rule. Those who gained and lost at least 10,000 pounds over their lifetime were less likely to be successful than those who maintained relatively stable weights. This book is filled with fascinating keys to success and well worth the read.

Grab your beach chair, your bottle of sunscreen and one of these books. Summer’s waiting!

No comments: