The best books with humor about surviving family and dementia

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my life I found the trick to getting through rough patches meant isolating dark thoughts. I got them out by creating something (artworks, poems, stories), and looked forward to new horizons, though these works could easily be misinterpreted by those around me. When I was fifteen, after my father died and we were forced off the farm, I created a series of disturbing drawings that won the school's art prize and were displayed at graduation. A friend of my mother saw the exhibit and said, “Oh Dorothy, I’m so sorry.” It gave us a laugh later when Mother realized this method of cleansing beat finding a psychiatrist, and the cost couldn’t be beat.


I wrote...

Loose in the Bright Fantastic

By E.B. Moore,

Book cover of Loose in the Bright Fantastic

What is my book about?

Loose in the Bright Fantastic follows gray-haired Maggie as she escapes from the hospital, wearing only her johnny, an ancient mink, and her dead husband's oversized wingtips. She’s on the loose in Boston where old memories take her to long-gone haunts, from tea at the Ritz to the dregs of the South End. After homeless nights, she finds ‘home’ and invades a party in the house where she’d raised her children.

While Maggie’s confusion escalates, her favorite grandson Hank (AKA Major Amazing Man), in cape and mask, sets out on his own to find her, leaving his mother beyond frantic when evidence says the worst has happened to them both.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Leisure Seeker

E.B. Moore Why did I love this book?

The tone of this book pulled me in instantly, clearly presenting difficult and frightening situations with guts and humor.

It was a treat for me to see how other people handled the complexities of dementia, if not exactly like mine with my mother’s slippage, but somewhat of the same flavor.

On rereading the book, now that I’m on the cusp of old age (some might say I’ve tipped in), I find a new set of worries, as well as compassion for my children as they watch me, and wonder, oh god, what’s next.

By Michael Zadoorian,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Leisure Seeker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the unforgettable cross country journey of a runaway couple in their twilight years determined to meet the end of all roads on their own terms. "The Leisure Seeker" is the story of John and Ella Robina, a couple married 50+ years - she has stopped her cancer treatments, he has Alzheimer's - who kidnap themselves from the adult children and the doctors who seem to run their lives, and steal off on a forbidden vacation. Each battling their own infirmities, John pilots their '78 Leisure Seeker RV (it's the one with the left turn signal blinking) along the…


Book cover of Slovenly Peter: or, Cheerful Stories and Funny Pictures for Good Little Folks; Illustrations Colored by Hand After the Original Style

E.B. Moore Why did I love this book?

As a kid, I loved this funny and frightening book about the terrible things that happen to bratty children (the same could be inferred for bratty octogenarians).

I’m sure my parents hoped these tales would encourage more reasonable behavior. Instead, these tales set me on a path to writing dark stories. In this case, the contrast of humor and the horrifying is addictive, and characters in any kind of book that combine these traits are always compelling.

The illustrations in the version published by John C. Winston Company are particularly quirky, increasing the impact of each story. This book probably had more influence on my book than I realized during the writing.

By Heinrich Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slovenly Peter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of A Pony Called Lightning

E.B. Moore Why did I love this book?

In 1948, my life focused on horses, and this was my favorite book.

Pictures were always a plus since dyslexia (though undiagnosed at that point) made reading difficult.

I have no memory of how well the book might have been written. Most likely I didn’t care, never suspecting I’d become a writer. I lived and worked on a farm, eventually running a boarding stable.

The book didn’t have the horror or the humor, but Lightning’s gratifying story of achievement gave me hope for the future, unlike Black Beauty which filled me with horror. I couldn’t read it to my children.

His hideous treatment overwhelmed me, yet the first two books I wrote were even darker.

By Miriam E. Mason,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pony Called Lightning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pony Called Lightning [paperback] Mason, Miriam E. [Oct 01, 1971]


Book cover of The Quickening

E.B. Moore Why did I love this book?

This exquisitely written, dark saga of family intrigue is worth reading over and over, and I do.

The protagonist’s devotion to family and the land that feed her, both physically and emotionally, is rich and consuming.

Events are seen from her point of view and her antagonist’s, giving opposing slants that generate an exquisite tension throughout the book.

This story was instrumental in my education as a writer, as was the author, both showing the use of deep interiority in every character, and a setting that made me live within the story.

By Michelle Hoover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quickening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A July 2010 Indie Next Pick

Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, who has never wanted more than the land she works and the animals she raises on it with her husband, Frank. But for the deeply religious Mary, farming is an awkward living and at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation…


Book cover of Alice

E.B. Moore Why did I love this book?

This story is a twist on a familiar Lewis Carroll tale.

It is unsettling in a dementia-like way, spinning the reader from the known into the unknown with just enough of the old story to keep them from tipping completely off balance, hope and dark humor always alive. 

This book helped me with the twisting of fact and fiction in my own books, where I used many of my own family incidents (and fears), but gave them to fictional characters with their own generational slant.

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her…


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Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

By Robert W. Stock,

Book cover of Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

Robert W. Stock Author Of Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Journalist Punster Family-phile Ex-jock Friend

Robert's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Me and The Times offers a fresh perspective on those pre-internet days when the Sunday sections of The New York Times shaped the country’s political and cultural conversation. Starting in 1967, Robert Stock edited seven of those sections over 30 years, innovating and troublemaking all the way.

His memoir is rich in anecdotes and admissions. At The Times, Jan Morris threw a manuscript at him, he shared an embarrassing moment with Jacqueline Kennedy, and he got the paper sued for $1 million. Along the way, Rod Laver challenged Stock to a tennis match, he played a clarinet duet with superstar Richard Stoltzman, and he shared a Mafia-spiced brunch with Jerry Orbach.

Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

By Robert W. Stock,

What is this book about?

An intimate, unvarnished look at the making of the Sunday sections of The New York Times in their pre-internet heyday, back when they shaped the country’s political and cultural conversation.

Over 30 years, Robert Stock edited seven of those sections, innovating, and troublemaking all the way – getting the paper sued for $1 million, locking horns with legendary editors Abe Rosenthal and Max Frankel, and publishing articles that sent the publisher Punch Sulzberger up the wall.

On one level, his memoir tracks Stock’s amazing career from his elevator job at Bonwit Teller to his accidental entry into journalism to his…


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Interested in dementia, farms, and seniors?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dementia, farms, and seniors.

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