The best books about old men

Many authors have picked their favorite books about old man and why they recommend each book.

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A Man Called Ove

By Fredrik Backman,

Book cover of A Man Called Ove

I love how this touching novel blends humor with poignancy as we experience the power of community and intergenerational relationships to lure cantankerous Ove away from his desire to harm himself. As a recent widower and a stickler for routine and order, Ove’s new young neighbors interrupt all his plans and routines to change the course of his lonely life with their chatty friendliness and inability to be dissuaded by his standoffishness. Through the author’s sympathetic rendering, Ove appears with all the complexities of a person who has been battered by life and fallen into loneliness. His story is a cautionary tale for us all.

Who am I?

Because of the presence of my four beloved grandparents throughout my growing up years, (all four of my grandparents even attended my wedding), I’ve always enjoyed relationships with older people. My comfort with older people translates into my friendships where many of the women in my life are quite a bit older than me. These intergenerational relationships offer wisdom and experience that informs my own life. I hold an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and have written one novel for adults and one for middle-grade readers. My past jobs include being a television engineer, an adjunct professor, and a publishing professional.

I wrote...

The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon

By Linda MacKillop,

Book cover of The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon

What is my book about?

Eva wants to run away from her life—if only she could remember how. Failing memory has forced Eva Gordon to move in with her granddaughter, Breezy, but Eva hates the bustle of Boston. She just wants to move back to quiet Cape Cod and be left alone. Then Breezy announces she's getting married, and they'll be moving to her new husband's rundown family farm, where he lives with an elderly uncle. 

It's all too much for Eva, but as her desire for privacy collides with her worsening memory, Eva finds herself in a poignant, hilarious, and intergenerational rescue effort to save her from herself. Can an unlikely cast of misfit characters step in to woo Eva from self-imposed isolation?

All Night Long

By Barbara Keesling,

Book cover of All Night Long: How to Make Love to a Man Over 50

Just the other day I got an email from a wife worried about her aging husband losing confidence, and I immediately recommended All Night Long. Sex doesn’t have to end when our husbands slow down. In fact, sex can get better than it has ever been before because change is an opportunity for growth. This book is filled with activities that will help boost your confidence and make your sex life sizzle. 

Who am I?

When I decided to work on my sex life, I devoured both Christian and secular books looking for answers. I not only wanted to understand God’s design for sex, but I also needed help learning to create the amazing sex life that God wanted for me. Since that time, I have taught Awaken Love classes to thousands of Christian women and heard their stories. I continue to look for resources that are empowering for wives, within God’s boundaries, in line with women’s experiences, practical and thought-provoking.

I wrote...

Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

By Ruth Buezis,

Book cover of Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

What is my book about?

Sex is one of the most powerful forces created by God and yet a landmine of misinformation and shame exist in the church that causes many of us to miss out. 

If you want an intimate, passionate marriage then follow Ruth and the women she has taught in class on this raw, honest look of discovering God’s design for sex. Unravel the lies, go after healing, learn about your body and integrate sexuality with your faith. You will come away with a new mindset, practical tools to create an amazing sex life, and the deep-seated belief that God designed you unique, special – and deserving of delights.

Last Orders

By Graham Swift,

Book cover of Last Orders

The adopted son and three friends of Jack Dodds set off on a day trip by car to the seaside to honor his last wish by disposing of his ashes. The story unfolds from the points of view of all the main characters: the reader learns of their ambitions, disappointments, secrets, and betrayals. Swift exposes the tensions inherent in grief that is both individual and shared. It is as if Jack’s death grants the mourners the clarity to understand their own lives as they fulfill his last order.

Who am I?

For three decades I have been the first violinist of the Takács Quartet, performing concerts worldwide and based at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I love the ways in which books, like music, offer new and surprising elements at different stages of life, providing companionship alongside joys and sorrows. 

I wrote...

Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home

By Edward Dusinberre,

Book cover of Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home

What is my book about?

For the first years after I moved to Colorado, my impractical strategy for overcoming homesickness was to avoid any music or books that inspired nostalgia. Thirty years later however, music seems to me a powerful way to connect past and present, triggering memories at the same time as it offers new experiences. When  I was unable to travel to England during the COVID-19 pandemic, I turned to the music and lives of composers whose relationships to home and travel shaped the pursuit of their craft—Antonín Dvořák, Béla Bartók, and Benjamin Britten. Distant Melodies tells the stories of their American sojourns as they try to reconcile new surroundings with nostalgia for their homelands. The backdrop is my own changing relationship to England, Elgar’s music, and the idea of home. 

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemingway,

Book cover of The Old Man and the Sea

Of all the books I’ve read throughout my life, this one is my absolute favorite. Written in simple, yet descriptive and colorful prose, this book helped shape my own life voyages. As an avid fisherman, I related completely with the Old Man and his battle with the ‘mighty fish’; a huge marlin that he hooked and did his best to conquer. Ultimately, he did overcome the battle with the great fish, subduing it and tying it alongside his little fishing skiff (it was too massive to drag aboard), only to have the great fish ravaged and torn to shreds by sharks. A young boy, who the Old Man took out fishing when times were good, feared deeply that the Old Man was lost at sea, but when he discovered that he had returned during the dark of night, with only the great fish’s carcass to show for his valiant effort,…

Who am I?

I'm a man of the sea. From my early days as a boy growing up on the coast of southern California, I became a fisherman at age 5, when my dad took me fishing at the pier in Redondo Beach. In my teens, I bought my first boat that I used in and around King Harbor for fishing. After owning other small boats, I moved to Catalina Island where I worked for 32 years as Harbormaster, earning my 100-ton Masters License and broadening my ocean experiences. Eventually I wanted to share my stories and experiences through writing. My first book, Between Two Harbors, Reflections of a Catalina Island Harbormaster, tells my Catalina story.

I wrote...

Five Weeks to Jamaica

By Doug Oudin,

Book cover of Five Weeks to Jamaica

What is my book about?

Five Weeks to Jamaica is an action-packed adventure that follows four young friends on an exciting ocean voyage down the coast of Mexico, Central America, through the Panama Canal to Jamaica, and beyond. Their journey is filled with excitement, danger, romance, and the type of sexual interactions that one might expect on a 147' motor yacht carrying thirty passengers on an extended ocean cruise. From exotic ports to unexpected personal encounters and revelations, this seafaring odyssey will keep you raptly entertained.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

By Jennifer Egan,

Book cover of A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan’s 2011 novel (and its 2022 sibling novel, The Candy House) take readers back and forth through the recent past and near future as we drop in on the lives of characters at different turning points in their lives. Each chapter takes readers in a new direction that deepens, complicates, or thoroughly upends our sense of characters. It makes for breathtaking reading.

Who am I?

If this list of books sounds like it would make for a great class, that’s because it is! These books form the core of an American Novels Since 1900 class that I teach at the University of Northern Iowa. I didn’t choose them initially because they mess with time, but after teaching them for a number of years, I couldn’t help but notice the ways in which they spoke to one another, and I guess I couldn’t help but be influenced by them as well.

I wrote...

The Cord

By Jim O'Loughlin,

Book cover of The Cord

What is my book about?

The Cord is a science fiction novel that follows life along both ends of a space elevator that connects an orbiting space station to an equatorial island. The story is told in a reverse narrative format that emphasizes the fragile but essential ties across generations. It is a book that messes with time, and I’ve been influenced by some great books which, appropriately, are listed here in reverse chronological order.

An Artist of the Floating World

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of An Artist of the Floating World

The Nobel-prize winning laureate has written many more famous books dealing with the human condition, most notably The Remains of the Day and Never Let me Go, but this is, to my mind, his best rumination on humanity's familiar ache. Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day is a flawless book and similarly themed, but there is something about the post-war regrets, delusions, and self-justifications of the aging Japanese artist Masuji Ono that just slay me and make me want to weep. Ishiguro is of course the king of unreliable narrators, so I don't want to give away the big reveal here, but how denial of the truth and self-delusion can misdirect us in life, is at the core of this masterful insight into the human condition.

Who am I?

I am a journalist and a novelist. I was both Forbes Magazine’s longest serving foreign correspondent – having served 18 years in London as their European Bureau Chief – and wrote the feel-good international best-seller The Hundred-Foot Journey, a novel that Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey made into a much-loved 2014 film starring Helen Mirren. These twin careers have shaped my approach to writing in that I believe a good micro-story (fiction) should also make astute macro points (journalism). So, the journeys my characters undertake in my novels are also trying to address points about the world or life or humanity at large.

I wrote...

The Man with No Borders

By Richard C. Morais,

Book cover of The Man with No Borders

What is my book about?

My father was a world-class fly fisherman and I started writing this book – about an aging Spanish private banker who is dying of a brain tumor and has to make amends – two years before my actual father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I now realize that my psyche was preparing me for my father's coming death and this book was my attempt to resolve his many contradictions. Dad was both the most genuinely loving and big-hearted and generous father a man could have, and yet, at times, also intensely greedy and selfish.

In this novel, I tried to process these many contradictions in the father I so loved, by casting light on the psychic wounds and secrets that often sit at the heart of the 'human condition.'

Old Man's War

By John Scalzi,

Book cover of Old Man's War

I was moved from the opening lines of Old Man’s War. An ordinary man of 75 visits his wife’s grave, then joins the army. What? Oh yeah, now I understand. Mind uploading is integral to this book, first published in 2005, and it will soon be the rage in the real world of our near future. In Old Man’s War we experience mind uploading through the character, John Perry, and other new recruits. Then we fight. Perry becomes a war hero, and he crosses paths with his wife along the way. What? I thought she was dead? Oh yeah, now I understand. She was grown from Kathy Perry’s DNA, but she has no memory of John. Or does she? Military sci-fi adventure blooms into a love story? Wow, this could be a series. Oh, wait. It is! 

Who am I?

My love of reading was born on the day my 5th-grade teacher handed me a book of poetry; my “punishment” for throwing a spitball. I was to memorize “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and recite it publicly the next day. I was mesmerized by the poem, because it drew a picture in my mind, and filled me with great emotion. As an 8th grader, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, for fun, then moved on to the great classics by Asimov and Heinlein. I wrote my first novel in 1988, but Time Chain is my first Sci-Fi novel, with more on the way. 

I wrote...

Time Chain

By Steven Decker,

Book cover of Time Chain

What is my book about?

It’s the year 2022. Dani Peterson has been walking in the west of Ireland, conducting historical research for her dissertation. But when she seeks shelter from a storm in Aideen O’Brien’s car, she gets more history than she bargained for. 

Aideen is a Time Link, with secret access to time travel technology. She sends Dani to 1978 to meet a younger version of herself. The two fall in love and Dani joins Aideen as a Time Link. They work for a man from 2253 named Charles Burke, who says his mission is to save the future. But after perilous trips to 1751 and 2253, Dani and Aideen discover that Charles is not the savior he claims to be.

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