Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books on Aging: A through L

Photo by Tourist on Earth
As a former college English teacher, I'm using my skill as a voracious reader to learn more about how I can make healthy lifestyle choices at midlife to increase my quality of life as I age. I also read about how I can better support my aging parents, their spouses, and my in-laws. (My children have six living grandparents, born between 1934 and 1942.) 

I'm also learning more about the opportunities of late life. Aging is not all decay! There is richness in serving, connecting, learning, exploring, and creating. Opportunities abound from noting a new small detail to seeing overarching patterns that emerge with decades' of experience. 

Here is the FIRST HALF of my constantly expanding list (check back).

Find the second half here: Books about Aging: M through Z.

Note: I am only including titles that I have actually read. 

Last updated March 2022 with a review of Amy Bloom's 2022 book In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Review. 

Do you have recommendations for me?  Note that I strongly prefer reading physical books over e-books because my comprehension is poor for e-books. It's even worse for audio.

I also write reviews of related books, grouped by theme and listed by longest to shortest lists:
Books about Aging: A through L

Ackerman, Diane (2001). One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage and the Language of Healing.  Review

Agronin, Marc E. (2016). The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders. GR Review

Agronin, Marc E. (2011). How We Age: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Growing Old.   GR Review and Blog Review.

This 2 minute video shows author Dr. Marc Agronin is an excerpt of a 2017 lecture. 

Albom, Mitch (1997). Tuesdays with Morrie.  Review

Applewhite, Ashton (2016). This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. GR Review and Blog Review. 

Altman, Nancy J. (2005). The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble. Review

Aronson, Louise. (2019). Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimaging Life.  GR Review and Blog Review

Atchley, Robert C. & Amanda S. Barusch (2004). Social Forces & Aging: An Introduction to Social Gerontology. 10th EditionReview.

Atwood, Margaret (2016). Hag-seedGR Review and Blog Review

Barnes, Julian (2011). The Sense of an Ending. GR Review and  Blog Review

Beerman, Susan (2002). Eldercare 911. Review

Bell, Virginia and David Troxel (2012). A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care.  GR Review and Blog Review

Berry, Wendell (1974). The Memory of Old Jack. GR Review and Blog Review.

Bernstein, David (2012). I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You're Old: Tales of a Geriatrician. GR Review and Blog Review.

Bezich, Louis (2018). Crack the Code: 10 Proven Secrets that Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men over 50. GR Review and  Blog Review

Bjorklund, Barbara R. (2011). The Journey of Adulthood. Review

Bloom, Amy (2022). In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Review

Bolen, Jean Shinoda (2003). Crones Don't Whine. (2003) GR Review

Borrie, Cathie (2010).  The Long Hello. (2nd edition in 2015) GR Review and Blog Review

Burda, Angela N. (2010). Communication and Swallowing Changes in Healthy Adults.  Review

Butler, Katy (2013). Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. GR Review and Blog Review.

Butler, Robert N. (1998). Aging and Mental Health: Positive Psychosocial And Biomedical Approaches. 5th Edition Review

Carpenter, Kyrie' (2017). Healing Dementia. Blog Review

Carella, Joe (2017). Creating Unlimited Options for Aging: The Path Forward Review

Carter, Jimmy (2015). A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.  GR Review and  Blog Review

Carter, Jimmy (1998). The Virtues of Aging (1998). Review

Chast, Roz (2014). Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? GR Review and Blog Review

Chen, Pauline W.  (2007). Final Exam Review

Chittister, Joan. (2008). The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully. GR Review and Blog Review

Clark, Robert L. et al. (2004) The Economics of Aging. Review

Cohen, Ari Seth. (2012) Advanced Style.  Review.

Comer, Meryl. (2014). Slow Dancing with a Stranger. Review

Cooney, Eleanor. (2004). Death in Slow Motion. GR Review and Blog Review.

Cowley, Chris & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (2004). Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 until You're 80 and BeyondReview

Curran, Ruth. (2015). Being Brain Healthy: What My Recovery from Brain Injury Taught Me and How It Can Change Your Life.  GR Review and Blog Review

Dallas, Sandra. (2009). Prayers for Sale.  Review

Dalton-Bradford, Melissa (2014).  On Loss and Living Onward.   GR Review and Blog Review

Danticat, Edwidge (2017). The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story. GR Review and Blog Review

Dass, Ram (2000). Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying. GR Review and Blog Review

Davis, Nannette (2012). Caregiving Our Loved Ones: Stories & Strategies That Will Change Your Life. Review

DeGarmo, Susan (2014). Many Paws: The Years of Change. Blog Review

Didion, Joan (2007). The Year of Magical Thinking. Review

Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Review

Doidge, Norman (2015). The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. GR Review and Blog Review

Dosa, David (2010). Making Rounds with Oscar. Review

Egan, Kerry (2016).  On Living.  GR Review and Blog Review

Ehrenreich, Barbara (2018). Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, The Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer (2018). GR Review &  Blog Review

Ephron, Nora (2006).  I Feel Bad About My Neck. Review

Esmonde-White, Miranda. (2016). Forever Painless: End Chronic Pain and Reclaim Your Life in 30 Minutes a Day. Review

Farmer, Joyce. (2010). Special Exits: A Graphic Memoir Review

Ford, Richard. (2014).  Let Me Be Frank with You. Review

Freedman, Marc. (2011). The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife. Review

Freedman, Marc (2007). Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.   Review

Friedan, Betty (1993). The Fountain of Age. Review

Garrett, Mario D. (2019). Coming of Age in Films, GR Review and  Review

Garrett, Mario D. (2022). Critical Age Theory: Profiteering from the Final Stages of Life. GR Review and Blog Review

Gentile, Angela G (2015). Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide. GR Review  and Blog Review

Genova, Lisa (2007). Still Alice. Review

Goodman, Tanya Ward (2013). Leaving Tinkertown.  GR Review and Blog Review

Groopman, Jerome (2007). How Doctors Think. GR Review and Blog Review

Gross, Jane (2011). A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents--and Ourselves. Review

Guwande, Atul (2014). Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. GR Review and Blog Review.

Hall, Donald (2014). Essays after Eighty. GR Review and Blog Review.

Harding, Paul (2009). Tinkers.  GR Review and Blog Review

Haruf, Kent (2013). Benediction. GR Review and Blog Review

Haruf, Kent (2015). Our Souls at Night.  GR Review and Blog Review

Healey, Emma (2014). Elizabeth Is Missing. Review

Hoblitzelle, Olivia Ames (2017). Aging with Wisdom: Reflections, Stories and Teachings. GR Review and Blog Review

Hopkins, Christopher (2008). Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45.   Review

Hudson, Robert B., Editor (2010). The New Politics of Old Age Policy. 2nd Edition. Review

Ignatieff, Michael (1993). Scar Tissue. GR Review and Blog Review

Jacobs, A.J. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. Review

Jamison, Kay Reed. (2009). Nothing Was the Same: A Memoir. GR Review and Blog Review

Kastenbaum, Robert J. (1997). Death, Society, and Human Experience. 10th Edition. Review

Kessler, Lauren (2007). Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's. Review

Koenig, Harold G. (2002). Purpose and Power in Retirement. Review

Kozol, Jonathan (2015). The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father One Day at a Time. GR Review and Blog Review

Kreamer, Anne (2007). Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood. Review

Kuhn, William (2012). Mrs. Queen Takes the Train.  GR Review and Blog Review

Lee, Jean (2014). Alzheimer's Daughter: A Memoir.  GR Review

Leland, John (2018). Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year among the Oldest Olds. GR Review and Blog Review

Lemme, Barbara Hansen (1994). Development in Adulthood. Review

LePlante, Alice (2011).  Turn of Mind. Review

Levine, Suzanne Braun (2009). Fifty Is the New Fifty: Ten Life Lessons for Women in Second Adulthood. Review

Lewis, C.S. (1961). A Grief Observed. Review

Lockmyer, Ann-Marie (2018). When Their World Stops: An Essential Guide to Truly Help Anyone in Grief.  GR Review and Blog Review

Lynn, Joanne M.D., Joan Harrold, MD, & Janice Lynch Schuster, MFA. (2011). Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness. Second Edition. Review

To continue, see the post Books about Aging: M through Z 

PS: Dr. Bill Thomas and his colleagues at Changing Aging have compiled this list of the Top 50 books on aging. No quackery, no illusions of holding on to youth. Just good information about meeting the challenges of aging with a focus on the positive.

PPS:  AARP posts this list of books about caregiving. Many appear in my list/reviews above, but I haven't read several of them. I need to get busy!


Books about Aging: M through Z 
Films about Aging A-L
Strong, Smart Women Wrestling with Caregiving
Novels about Men Facing Death
Books about Dementia


  1. More suggestions: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir by Anna Quindlen and The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - both highly recommended!

  2. Suzi: Great titles. I haven't heard of Barry's book. I'll have to hunt down a copy. I just requested Quindlen's book from my local library. I'm #22 out of 34 people waiting for a copy. I hope that I can move up the list quickly. Thank you for pointing these out.

  3. Life Extension: Current and Future Possibilities. Golczewski JA, Sunbury Press; 2012 covers caloric restriction, diet, vitamins and minerals, recommended dietary supplements, questionable new supplements, major diseases and problems that typically occur with age, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, pain, depression, stress, loss of fitness, osteoporosis, dementia, arthritis, vision problems, cosmetic changes, etc. and how to avoid them.

  4. Great collection! Would you care to review our new book, launching Oct 18? About caregiving and successful aging, it is called "Hope I Don't Die Before I Get Old"-How to Survive Old Age, Your Own or Someone You Love, by Tracey Bowman and Mary Boone Wellington I would be pleased to send you a copy! Best regards, Mary Boone Wellington, co-author-mary@rosecottagenorth.com

  5. Readers of this group may be interested in my latest book on aging, _Life Extension: Current and Future Possibilities_, Golczewski, JA Sunbury Press, 2012. It discusses many issues not usually covered such as the ultimate limits to lifespan, and gives a number of tables to identify the properties of foods. Since findings change often in this field, updates will be given on my Web site. I worked in aging research for 30 years but am semi-retired now.
    James Golczewski, Ph.D.

  6. Hi all. I'm new to this forum, so it's not clesr to me how it's run. The comments aren't threaded, so how do I know if one is addressed to me or part of another thread? My background has been mainly in aging research and life-extension, so I assume that it's appropriate here. Any other comments are welcome.

  7. Would you consider my book "Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir"? It won an honorable mention in the category of Life Stories from the 20th Annual Writer's Digest Book Awards, received glowing reviews from the Library Journal, Midwest Book Review and other major reviewers, and includes advance testimonials from Alzheimer's Disease International and a dozen other organizations and experts supporting people with dementia and their caregivers. More info at www.insidedementia.com. Thank you.

  8. Martha: As a grad student with no income, I'm pretty dependent on the public library (especially since I read about 70 books a year), and I don't see a copy of it here in Wichita. It looks good. If you want to mail me a review copy, I will read it with TLC and mail the copy back to you. My email address is on my blog. Thanks for checking out my post on books re: aging.

  9. Dear Karen,

    This TOTALLY is an AWESOME endeavor- and much appreciated by this Grand-Old-Person. I'll be letting our sage companions at WhiteHair365 know about this! Thanks so much for your time, energy and wisdom. I can see this unfolding into hours,days,weeks - maybe years of interesting possibility.

  10. What a great list! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. Great. Will surely get one of your books.

  12. Thank you very much for the 5-STAR review on Goodreads, Karen. I appreciate that my book is included on your list. - Angela G. Gentile, author of Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide.