BOOK CLUB: 4 Memoirs from Women Who Rocked Mid-life

Reading before bedtime is a great way to unwind so you sleep better. This month's book recommendations remind us how exciting life can be when coupled with maturity.

Menopause, weight gain, gray hairs, the realization that you're closer to 60 than 20. It's no wonder some women dread midlife. But it doesn't have to be all downhill from here. From Julia Child to Susan Boyle, these four women turned their midlife lemons into limoncello — or in Child's case, a lemon tarte — to celebrate this next, exciting stage in their lives.

  • My Life in France: Few midlife transformations changed America's cultural landscape as that of Julia Child. Okay, technically Child was 36 when she first moved to France with her husband Paul and discovered her love of French cooking. But her switch from a former research assistant (in the OSS — a precursor to the CIA) to cookbook author, to America's first TV celebrity chef, occurred during her midlife years. She was 49 when she published Mastering the Art of French Cooking and 51 when The French Chef first aired on PBS. In her charming and captivating autobiography, Child recounts in meticulous detail what made her an American icon. Above all, it's a love story — of her love for Paul, for France, and for French cuisine. Bon appetite and happy reading!
  • Waking Up In Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife: Life coach Cheryl Richardson offers women a road map for navigating midlife based on her own journey of introspection and self-discovery. On the outside, Richardson was a success, with speaking engagements around the world. But when she hit midlife, Richardson couldn't shake an inner voice telling her something was off. Through personal journal entries, Richardson illuminates how she steered her life in a new spiritual direction.
  • The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story: Television takes the credit for another midlife transformation. Before taking Britain's Got Talent and the internet by storm with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," Susan Boyle lived a quiet life in a small town in Scotland. No longer content with singing in church or karaoke pubs, Boyle decided to pursue her dreams of being a professional singer at age 47. With her cheeky wit and sober introspection, Boyle shares what it was like to grapple with Asperger's disease while stepping into the spotlight. Boyle also tackles what it's like to go from obscurity to worldwide recording sensation overnight.
  • Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife: Through scientific research and personal anecdotes of her own midlife transformation, journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty knocks down the myths of the midlife crisis and why middle age can be a time of renewal. Bradley Hagerty uses the latest research in neurology, psychology, biology, genetics and sociology to guide you on exactly what's going on at midlife, what to expect, and how to make your middle years work for you.

Take a lesson from these women: Once you've scaled the mountain of midlife, it's not all downhill from there. It just means there are better mountains left for you to climb.

If insomnia is keeping you from reaching your potential, check out these tips for how to get better sleep during menopause.

Previous Sleep Number Book Club Recommendations:

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Photo by Rod Long