Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Reads of 2015

Photo by Raoul Luour.
I read 62 books during the last year on a variety of topics. 

* aging--both fiction and nonfiction
* historical fiction
* memoirs
* young adult fiction
* contemporary fiction, particularly family dramas
* nonfiction, particularly neuroscience, health, and dying

I write reviews for everything at Goodreads. However, I write more extensive reviews for books about aging here. 

Many books with themes about midlife and late life did make my list of favorite reads for 2015.  

What follows is a list, organized by year of publication.  I had too much trouble ranking them because I like them all for different reasons. 

1. Berry, Wendell. The Memory of Old Jack (1974) because it's a beautiful tribute to the type of life my grandfather Webb led, but one that he couldn't articulate for himself. GR Review.  Blog Review.

2. Lehrer, Jonah. Proust Was A Neuroscientist (2007) because it's a great interdisciplinary read. GR Review.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 Top Ten Posts

Photo by Tom Magliery.
2015 is winding down, so it's time to take a backwards glance.

I'm completing my fourth year of blogging.

This year I wrote on topics ranging from biomarkers of aging, through films and novels with late life protagonists, to books about death and the death industry.

I wrote over 70 posts this year.

These are the Top 10 most viewed posts written in 2015.

In ascending order . . . .

#10 French Films about Aging 

#9  Biomarkers for Aging

#8  Mr. Holmes: Movie Review  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Drivers 50-69 Weigh in on Car Technologies

Photo by Bradak.
Decades ago, cars had very few safety features.

People driving the earliest models did not have the benefit of rear-view mirrors, electric windshield wipers, seat belts, shatter-proof glass, back-up lights, anti-lock brakes, and air bags.

Driving a car without these standard features seems foolhardy to us today.

I predict that within a decade, it will seem foolhardy to drive a car without some of these emerging new safety technologies:

  1. Reverse back-up cameras
  2. Blind-spot warning systems
  3. Collision avoidance systems
  4. Lane departure warning systems 
  5. Smart headlights
In November of 2015, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence produced a guide to vehicle safety technology.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Sense of an Ending: Book Review

Published 4 August 2011
Our minds can play tricks on us.

When we are trying to recall events from decades prior, our version of events often conflicts with others' versions.

Add emotion to the mix, and the memories contrast more sharply.

Honestly, I don't think it's possible to create an objective version of the past. Everyone brings their bias to the retelling.

The protagonist in The Sense of an Ending (2011) by Julian Barnes spends much of the novel trying to recall a series of events from his youth, only to become less and less sure of himself.

The first time I tried to read The Sense of an Ending, I recoiled from the characters I first met: a group of pretentious college boys.

Initially, I didn't get past the first chapter.

Once I learned that the first part primarily functions as an object to be examined and disputed in the second part, I was much more willing to pay attention to this group of self-important young men.

Subsequently, I read the novel in two sittings. (It's 163 pages in the paperback version I read, pictured above.)

The first part describes a series of events that occurred in the 1960s, as told by Tony Webster--one of the arrogant and immature college students.

The second part describes Tony Webster some forty years later. He has received a letter about one of his college friends.  This motivates Tony to contact people from his past.  In part through conversation, in part through self-reflection, Tony tries to piece together what happened then and how everyone's lives played out.