Settle In for a Great Read with These Senior-Focused Books
Whether it’s physical distancing or the weather, there are many times when we have to stay indoors for our health. Of course, there are even more ideas these days for staying busy, both with internet and without internet. But diving into a good book has always been a go-to way to stay mentally active. And with downloadable digital copies and audiobooks, the world is now our library. If you need extra motivation to settle in with a book, remember that reading brings mental health benefits too. With the millions of books available, it can be hard to find ones focused on seniors. These highly-rated books offer positive and active senior perspectives, either from the author or within the plot and characters.
Redefining Aging (Nonfiction)
How Seniors Are Saving the World by Thelma Reese and BJ Kittredge
The women who run the blog Elder Chicks bring a new book about the unique power and contributions of senior activists—and the ways that they see opportunities to serve.
Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson
Harvard-trained geriatrician Louise Aronson examines why, when people are living longer than ever, the aging experience is one addressed with dread and denial. Instead, she presents aging (“i.e., still-breathing”, in her words) as realistically frustrating, but also full of joy, wonder, and hope.
Dear Mad’m by Stella Walthall Patterson
Who decides at the age of 80 to go live in the mountains by herself? Stella Patterson did, and was determined to spend—and survive—a full year in the Siskiyou Mountains in northern California. She detailed the storms, snakes, and great satisfaction that came of it—and what she decided when the year came to an end.
Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle
When facing a cancer diagnosis at age 90, Miss Norma decided to hit the road instead of the hospital bed. Exploring the country in a motor home with her retired son and daughter-in-law, she challenged herself to be braver, bolder, and experience love, family, and friendship in completely new ways.
Yes, I Can: A Journal of My Journey from Senior Citizen to Senior Athlete by Linda Scifers Glick
At age 65, cancer survivor Linda Glick decided to compete in a 100 meter sprint—with zero competition experience and very little exercise history. Those 100 meters were just the beginning of an adventure to prove it’s never too late to try something new. She documented her dreams, development, and age-related challenges and vulnerabilities along the way.
The Miss Marple mysteries, by Agatha Christie (including The Murder at the Vicarage, 4:50 from Paddington, The Mirror Crack’d, and several others)
If you love Agatha Christie, you’re probably familiar with the famous Jane Marple. Jane is a sweet and proper British elder, but with deeply observational insight into human nature that helps her solve mysteries faster than local authorities.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
At 59, Swedish retiree Ove is seen as a bitter curmudgeon—and not the lovable kind. But a unique and new relationship starts to reveal his story and sadness. And slowly, it softens his defenses and moves him to change how he approaches others.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
On the day he turns 100, Allan Karlsson decides to skip the celebration. He puts on his slippers and climbs out his nursing home window, beginning an adventure full of surprises, risk, and an elephant. But that’s not even the craziest thing he’s done in his life.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
Several British retirees are excited to travel to a luxurious hotel in India for a bargain price—but the advertisement doesn’t quite depict the reality, putting them all in a predicament that leads to adventure.
It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan
On the eve of her 68th birthday, Loretha is determined to prove that aging can mean thriving—even when unexpected loss comes her way.
Public Figure Biographies/Autobiographies
Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging by Dick Van Dyke
Show-business legend Dick Van Dyke, now in his 90s, firmly believes that you don’t have to act your age. Sharing his irrepressible joy and excitement for life through stories and advice, he shows how optimism and enthusiasm can be the best way to age youthfully.
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
In her first personal book written in her early 60s, the late writer and director describes the reality of being a ‘woman of a certain age’ with the same honesty, accessibility, and dry humor that gave the world When Harry Met Sally.
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
Fred Rogers concluded Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood when he was 72. This collection of interviews, oral histories, and archival documents present a deeper insight into the beloved champion of children and compassion.
John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn
As the oldest man to enter space at the age of 77 (and the first American to do so in 1962), John Glenn’s is a permanent name in the history books. He takes the reader on his journey of growing up in Ohio to become a marine fighter pilot, pioneer astronaut, and long-serving US Congressman—driven by his family values the whole way.
With the fall season approaching, now is the perfect time to stock up on books and prepare to cozy up with a good read. We hope you enjoy these recommendations!