In the Feb/March issue of Renaissance we reviewed the Book Still Alice.¬† This lead to a discussion with the NJ State Library about other relevant titles to suggest to you, your friends and family. They were very helpful in developing a list that also includes books for young readers.¬†
We thought we’d suggest a community-wide read focusing on these titles and so we have alerted the County Library Systems and the County Offices on Aging and shared these titles with them.
Let‚Äôs read, let‚Äôs laugh, let‚Äôs talk amongst ourselves. These books will inspire! Enjoy.
I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections by Norah Ephron. Reading these succinct, razor-sharp essays by veteran humorist (I Feel Bad About My Neck), novelist, and screenwriter-director Ephron is to be reminded that she cut her teeth as a New York Post writer in the 1960s, as she recounts in the most substantial selection here, “Journalism: A Love Story.” Forthright, frequently wickedly backhanded, these essays cover the gamut of later-life observations (she is 69), from the dourly hilarious title essay about losing her memory, which asserts that her ubiquitous senior moment has now become the requisite Google moment, to several flimsy lists, such as “Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again,” e.g., “Movies have no political effect whatsoever.” Shorts such as the several “I Just Want to Say” pieces feature Ephron’s trademark prickly contrariness and are stylistically digestible for the tabloids. Other essays delve into memories of fascinating people she knew, such as the Lillian Hellman of Pentimento, whom she adored until the older woman’s egomania rubbed her the wrong way. Most winning, however, are her priceless reflections on her early life, such as growing up in Beverly Hills with her movie-people parents, and how being divorced shaped the bulk of her life, in “The D Word.” There’s an elegiac quality to many of these pieces, handled with wit and tenderness. (Nov.) (Publishers Weekly)
Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age by Susan Jacoby (February 2011) As the older members of the baby boom generation approach 65, marketers are at the ready with an abundance of ‚Äúage defying‚Äù products and services. But is aging as trouble free as marketers tout and aging consumers would like to believe? For her part, journalist Jacoby, herself in her 60s, admits to rage at the efforts to redefine old age without facing up to the unavoidable realities. For example, after age 65, the prevalence of Alzheimer‚Äôs doubles every five years. She focuses on distinctions between the young old (60s and 70s) and the old old (80s, 90s, and the few 100s) as well as the very different prospects for the elderly who are poor or minorities. Jacoby explores social, cultural, economic, and political changes in the concept of old age, from passage of the Social Security Act to extended life expectancy and retirement, from the activism of the Gray Panthers to the ravages of Alzheimer‚Äôs. Drawing on research, personal experience, and anecdotes, she offers an important reality check for Americans enamored of the images of healthy, active seniors featured in advertisements. –Vanessa Bush (Booklist)
I‚Äôm Too Young to Be Seventy and Other Delusions by Judith Viorst. The beloved bestselling author of Forever Fifty and Suddenly Sixty now tackles the ins and outs of becoming a septuagenarian with her usual wry good humor.
Fans of Judith Viorst’s funny, touching, and wise poems about turning thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty will love this new volume for the woman who deeply believes she is too young to be seventy, “too young in my heart and my soul, if not in my thighs.” Viorst explores, among the many other issues of this stage of life, the state of our sex lives and teeth, how we can stay married though thermostatically incompatible, and the joys of grandparenthood and shopping. Readers will nod with rueful recognition when she asks, “Am I required to think of myself as a basically shallow woman because I feel better when my hair looks good?,” when she presses a few helpful suggestions on her kids because “they may be middle aged, but they’re still my children,” and when she graciously — but not too graciously — selects her husband’s next mate in a poem deliciously subtitled “If I Should Die Before I Wake, Here’s the Wife You Next Should Take.” Though Viorst acknowledges she is definitely not a good sport about the fact that she is mortal, her poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider “drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description at seventy.” (Amazon.com)
Rules of the Road – Joan Bauer. (Teen Fiction) Jenna Boller, 16, has had a lot of practice at being responsible. Her mother is a nurse who works the night shift, and her younger sister yearns for attention. Jenna’s long-divorced, alcoholic father embarrassingly shows up whenever he gets an occasional urge to “make it up” to her. In addition, her wise and beloved grandmother is grappling with Alzheimer’s disease. So the teen’s mother reluctantly agrees to let her accept a summer job driving the elderly Madeline Gladstone, the crusty and demanding president of the shoe chain for which Jenna works, from Chicago to Texas. Jenna is surprised to learn that Mrs. Gladstone has problems, too: an aching hip as well as an aching heart. Her conniving son is maneuvering to take over the company and sell out for a huge short-term gain. Jenna comes to admire and love her boss and eagerly enters into an alliance of loyal employees to save the company. In making this valiant attempt, she finds herself truly transformed.
¬†Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech, grades 4 to 7¬†¬† “Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today. Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup. ”
Now, head to your local library, it is a great place to keep cool on hot, humid summer days!