The Nook and Fashionistas

Barnes and Nobles EarnsI read in PW Daily that Nook sales are down.  Barnes & Noble will continue to manufacture e-readers like the GlowLight, but they are no longer designing new tablets. A spokesperson said,

The new Nook management team is focused on managing the business efficiently so that it becomes financially strong while at the same time aggressively moving to drive revenue growth.”

Whatever the f— that means.

And in January The New York Times reported that digital sales at B&N during the holiday season in 2013 dropped 60% from the year before.  In 2009 the Nook had 25% of the e-market.  Now it holds 20%.

The Nook is a very fast, good machine.

We have Nook HD tablets at our house. We deliberately didn’t buy Kindles, because we wanted to throw some of our business to B&N, our bricks-and-mortar store.

I have found so many books at B&N over the years:  Peter Stothard’s On the Spartacus Road, Karen E. Bender’s A Town of Empty Rooms, Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch, and, most recently, William Gibson’s Zero History.

And I wouldn’t necessarily find these books at Amazon.  I’m not saying I couldn’t, but they probably wouldn’t come up on the screen.

If they stop making the Nook , will another company take it over?

But on another note, I buy too many e-books.  Do you ever miss real books?  I recently bought Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s The Yearling as an e-book.  It has the original paintings by N. C. Wyeth, and I was excited that I could see the illustrations on the Nook.  But wouldn’t it really be nicer to have the book?  I also recently purchased D. J. Taylor’s Kept as an e-book, and very much wish I’d bought the real book because I will reread ait. The same with Elizabeth Spencer’s  novels:  I should have bought the real books.

I wonder if others are feeling the same way.

Carolyn G. Heilbrun, author of Writing a Woman's Life & the Amanda Cross mysteries

Carolyn G. Heilbrun, author of Writing a Woman’s Life & the Amanda Cross mysteries

Angela Neustatter vs. Carolyn G. Heilburn.   At 50something, I am hardly a fashionista.  If I want to wear trendy baby-doll frocks, I assure you I will, but if I do you’ll know I’ve gone insane.  I’ve already worn low-cut t-shirts for the last decade (inability to find others with higher necks), and my dermatologist does not care for the sunburn.

One lovely thing about the turning point of fifty is the independence from fashion.  You can grow your hair, stop dyeing it, throw out your designer dresses (since mine were from Younkers, they don’t qualify as designer), and wear whatever you want.

In other words, you can still have orgasms (have them daily, according to a very funny book I read on menopause),  but you do not have to spend as much money to earn them.

Independence is the key word.

So I was annoyed to read an article in The Observer, “Forget beige – meet the women who are ageing with attitude.”

If we can’t wear beige, can we at least wear black?

Angela Neustatter, the 70ish author of The Year I Turn…: A Quirky A-Z about Age, does not believe in aging gracefully, i.e., growing gray, etc.  She does look very young in her picture.

The article says, “Apart from a few “frumpy years” in her 50s, when she lost confidence in her right to wear leopardskin tights, author Angela Neustatter says she has never let age define her.”

And I thought,  So I have to look ridiculous at 50, 60, and 70, too?  Leopardskin tights do not look good on anybody.

Neustatter apparently believes aging women’s invisibility is caused by not following fashion.

Although, like all women, I suffer from fashion insecurity, I very much disagree that youth is the ticket to growing older.  I prefer the philosophy of Carolyn G. Heilbrun in The Last Gift of Time:  Life Beyond Sixty.

Trying to develop a crossroads–the point at which a woman has lived thirty years of adult life in one mode and must discover a new mode for the second thirty years likely to be granted her–I wanted to suggest, to (if I am honest) urge women to see this new life as different, as a time requiring the questioning of all previous habits, as, inevitable, a time of profound change.”

12 thoughts on “The Nook and Fashionistas

  1. Oh, gosh, leopardskin tightsl… No!

    Glad you all have e-readers. I’ve been reading e-books since 7 a.m. and now may just go back and read till 9. So I complain, but I use it.


  2. I’m with Kelly here – no nooks or kindles for me, just tree books. As for growing old – the thing is, I really don’t care any more. I like what I like, I am what I am, I’m not going to waste time and money putting chemicals on my hair anymore. If people think i’m invisible I’ll soon make enough noise to wake them up….


  3. Thank you, Ms Mirabile for the information on Carolyn G. Heilbrun. Several years ago at the University of Iowa library, I stumbled upon a biography she wrote of Constance Garnett the Russian translator who, I think it may be fair to say, singlehandedly introduced the Russian classics to the English language readership. Not only did Garnett tackle the classics such as “Crime and punishment” but also translated a great deal amount of Russian political tracts. She was going through a difficult pregnancy and her husband suggested that she take Russian language lessons which was the catalyst that got her started. In the early 20th century (1905 I believe was the year), the Bolsheviks held a conference in London and Lenin asked Garnett if she would be his interpreter at the conference. Garnett declined and later purportedly told her husband that she thought Lenin and his entourage “were nothing but a bunch of gangsters.” Yes, Carolyn G. Heilbrun’s biography answered a question which had run through my mind for years: Just who the hell was Constance Garnett?
    I realize that this comment has nothing really to do with what your blog was about, nevertheless it got me excited and I thought it interesting. Thank you for your time.


  4. Joel, I love Constance Garnett! I didn’t know Heilbrun wrote a biography of her, but to be honest I don’t know that much about Heilbrun. Years ago I read the mysteries she wrote under the name Amanda Cross, and some of her literary criticism.

    I am very much enjoying her book, The Last Gift of Time, which I bought at the Planned Parenthood Book Sale (2ce a year in Des Moines). She is such a good writer and so smart. And I am fascinated by books on aging.


  5. Yes, Cynthia, she did commit suicide at 77. In the New York Times, her son was quoted as saying, ‘She wanted to control her destiny, and she felt her life was a journey that had concluded.”


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