Books: Does Age Matter?

Recently – an hour ago actually – I had a member of my in-person book club leave the group.  Her reasons sort of offended my reading sensibilities.  She claimed that our group read nothing that interested her and she felt she’s perhaps too old to be a Litwit.  Okay…

What does too old to be a Litwit even mean?  Do book clubs have age limits – should they?  Am I supposed to be looking at books and deciding whether or not I’m too old or too young to read it?

The Litwits aren’t a bunch of teenagers.  Our average age range is somewhere between 35-45.  This particular member (who had never even attended a meeting) was probably at the high end of that range, maybe a bit older.  Does she have a point?  Or is she just insecure about her age?

I’m a bit flabbergasted because she signed up knowing what books we read.  Has she aged so significantly in the past couple of months that she’s outgrown us already?  Our next two books – Gone With the Wind and Their Eyes Were Watching God – don’t feel particularly ‘young’.  They are also both considered classics.  What does she want us to read? A steady diet of philosophical literature or Senior Citizens Monthly?  I am so confused.  Especially when her profile indicated she adored the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

So, does age matter when selecting books?  I know a ton of older readers who greatly enjoy young adult fiction.  And to be honest, the couple of young adult novels the Litwits have read really generated some of our best discussions.  The former member wanted to read ‘quality fiction’.  What does that term mean?

I used to run a second book club that focused only on 20th century classics.  I’d call those heavier, ‘quality’ reads.  And you now what?  It died after 2 or 3 meetings because no one ever finished the books because they were too ‘difficult’.  Interestingly, the average age of that group was significantly higher.  Do older women feel the need to only read ‘high brow’ literature for fear of feeling too silly, immature, and young?  Should readers feel obligated to their age?

I’m totally with C.S. Lewis.  Here’s what I know:  I hope to be reading anything and everything for the rest of my life.  I want the silly with the serious – the good with the bad – the long with the short.  I want to be challenged by books that seem ridiculous and argue with books that are supposedly perfect.  I hope I never feel too old to read something be it picture book or historical tome.

What do you think?  I need to hear your thoughts!