5 Best Books … About Growing Older

5 Best BooksCassandra of Indie Reader Houston is running the meme: “5 Best Books”. Every week, a different topic is suggested by Cassandra and participants list what they think are the 5 best book for that topic. Click HERE to see the topics for the next few weeks.

This week, the topic is 5 Books about growing older. I’m always saying how I don’t like coming of age books. Then when I read one (by accident), I usually like it. So, apparently, I do like them. Now growing older is not just about coming of age, it’s also about maturing, regrets about the choices that you’ve made, and illness.

Here’s my list:

Black Swan GreenBlack Swan Green by David Mitchell is about a boy of 13 who tries very hard to fit in (which is very important) with his schoolmates. His popularity is about average, and to keep it that way, he doesn’t tell anyone he writes poems, and tries to hide the fact that he stutters by using only words that he can pronounce without stuttering.

The book is set in the eighties and if you were growing up in that era, like I was, then the book’s setting is very familiar and places the reader back in time. In that sense, it’s the reader who has grown older, rather than the protagonist.


The Glass Castle by Jeanette WallsThe Glass Castle is a memoir about Jeanette Walls’ life with her parents and brothers and sisters. Her parents are intelligent people but they decide to live a life outside of normal society. The father is alcoholic while the mother isn’t into domestic bliss.

There is no money and often no food and bad housing for the family.

Jeanette and most of her siblings come out of these circumstances as successful adults, against all odds.


Still Alice by Lisa GenovaStill Alice by Lisa Genova is about a 50-year old woman who gets early-onset Alzheimer and changes from an intelligent university professor into a woman who forgets things and needs help with daily activities.

The book describes, from Alice’s view, how she deals with this and what she feels about it. I thought that the way her husband reacted to the events was especially believable.



The Summerhouse by Jude DeverauxThe Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux is a feel-good book about three women that have met only once before. When they meet again, 20 years later, they are given the option to go back in time and, if they want, change some of their past (which will influence what their future will look like).

I loved reading this book because the women all had different reasons for wanting to chance a part of their life. Whether they all do, is a different matter!


Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop by Kirstan HawkinsDoña Nicanora’s Hat Shop by Kirstan Hawkins takes place in a South American country town. Doña Nicanora is about 50 years old and wants some fun in her life.

Her biggest wish is to start a hat shop. She wants Don Bosco to retire so she can use his barber’s shop premises. Don Bosco once proposed to Nicanora and maybe she’s a little sorry she didn’t accept. Maybe they’re getting a second chance?

Lovely, friendly, easy going story, but still with serious undertones.


What book about growing older is your favorite?


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

18 Responses to 5 Best Books … About Growing Older

  1. Cassandra says:

    Ooooh – I really like this list. There are two on here that I may have to not just put on the list but get to right away. First, Still Alice, because my dad also has early onset Alzheimer’s. The second, Dona Nicanora’s Hat Shop because it actually reminds me of a children’s book I used to read to my Spanish students, and I’m getting a bit nostalgic for them lately.

    Great list! Thanks for posting!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Glad my list inpired you, Cassandra! Sorry to hear about your father. I don’t know how accurate the book is but to me, it seemed very believable.

  2. I have never heard of Dona Nicanora’s Hat Shop — it sounds like something I’d love. Thanks.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Col, Dona Nicanora’s Hat Shop is a really sweet book. If you like the Ladies’ 1st Detective Agency books, you’ll like this one too.

  3. Uniflame says:

    I think I want to read Still Alice. It sounds like a book that would be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Carol Wong says:

    Very glad that you are posting this list, I have already read ‘Still Alice’ and the ‘Glass Castle’ and loved them.

    I won Lastingness in contest (not received it yet. It is about how to live your older life well.

    I am 64 and get irritated when I see book about how to survive being 30! Recently I saw one mystery book that had the detective as 60. I would love to see more fiction books with older character, not just how to deal with getting older. It is not all bad!!!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Carol, from your comments I thought you were much younger, so you are a young spirit even if you are considered “older” in any other sense. I haven’t heard of Lastingness.

      I think each age has its own challenges, so I have no problem with books about surviving one’s 30s. I agree older characters should play a role in books more often. Wasn’t Ms Marple a lovely character? Actually I suddenly remember Mary Wesley, an English writer who started writing at age 70 or so, she had some great books that I read in the 1990s. I also read a few books about a couple retiring to the countryside which were very enjoyable. And I was in my 20s at the time. If the book is done well, it can appeal to all ages.

  5. Trisha says:

    I’ve had The Glass Castle for so long. I really should read it. 🙂

  6. These are some really great pics! Looks like a need to give Still Alice a read.

  7. Cindy says:

    I think the Hat Shop one is the one I’d seek out first 🙂

  8. Rikki says:

    Interesting list. I don’t like coming of age stories either (for real) and couldn’t name one book in that category…:(

    • Leeswammes says:

      Rikki, funny how we don’t really like those (young) teenage stories. I’m not sure what it is. Although, in my case, I do sometimes manage quite well!

  9. Leslie says:

    The Summerhouse is going to the top of my summer reading list. I’m beginning to think I’m missing something! I have a copy on my shelf, just haven’t read it yet.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Leslie, *The Summerhouse* is such a satisfying read! At least, it was for me: friendship, a bit of magic, changing your life to something that might-have-been. Great fun! And there is a sequel: *Return to Summer House*. I expect it to be a little less good (as sequels often are) but I’m still looking forward to it.

  10. Still Alice seems like a wonderful read. My grandfather has Alzheimers as well, but he’ in his 70s. It was odd–one week he was fine, and then he wasn’t. A month later, he didn’t remember some of our names.

    • Leeswammes says:

      That went really fast then, Jennifer. Maybe your grandfather had noticed some signs but was afraid to mention anything. Even so, he seems to deteriorate fast. Such an awful disease.

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