The best books about old woman

4 authors have picked their favorite books about old woman and why they recommend each book.

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Elizabeth Is Missing

By Emma Healey,

Book cover of Elizabeth Is Missing

A seventy-year-old mystery is solved by an eighty-year-old who can’t remember to drink the cup of tea she’s just made, or even recognize her own daughter. This is a book I wish I’d written! Emma Healey’s darkly comic yet gripping novel was a deserved bestseller and has remained with me long after I first read it. Maud, the unlikely heroine, is an unreliable narrator (no spoiler there) but one that reveals how society too often belittles and patronizes people living with dementia. In trying to make sense of the clues she hopes will lead her to her missing friend Elizabeth, she inadvertently solves an older, darker mystery surrounding the disappearance of her long-lost sister. Maud is infuriating yet irresistible, epitomizing the kind of older character I love to see prevail.

Elizabeth Is Missing

By Emma Healey,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Elizabeth Is Missing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR BBC DRAMA
A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER

How do you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues?

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to…


Who am I?

As a family doctor working in aged care, I have always felt disappointed by the stereotypical portrayal of ageing in fiction. Older characters are rarely the protagonist of their own story and are more likely to be relegated to minor roles that reflect their marginalization and invisibility in society. And yet, despite their physical limitations, my older patients have taught me that it’s never too late to laugh, love, make new friends or create mischief. Bette Davis once said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Without sugarcoating ageing, I strive for authenticity and humor in my writing to offer a more uplifting and hopeful portrayal of what lies ahead.


I wrote...

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

By Joanna Nell,

Book cover of The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

What is my book about?

At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers birds to people, so when a fall lands her in a nursing home, she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy. From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ (of the parking lot) she dreams of escape. Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home, once he has passed the driving test for his mobility scooter.

When Hattie and Walter meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is fired over her unconventional approach to aged care, they join forces to have her reinstated, and slowly, an unlikely friendship begins to grow.

The Hearing Trumpet

By Leonora Carrington,

Book cover of The Hearing Trumpet

Leonora Carrington is one of those amazing, other-worldly, individuals whose life story you can’t quite believe. After an aristocratic upbringing in England, she joined the surrealists in Paris, ran off with Max Ernst, was later sectioned, escaped an asylum, studied Kabbalah, and helped found the women’s liberation movement in Mexico. She is mostly known for her painting but does not receive the recognition she deserves. Her novel The Hearing Trumpet starts off slightly surreal, then takes a hard left turn and becomes increasingly more surreal. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling it, but it’s a beguiling and funny meditation on gender, age, and death. If you don’t know her, this book would be a wonderful intro to her work.

The Hearing Trumpet

By Leonora Carrington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An old woman enters into a fantastical world of dreams and nightmares in this surrealist classic admired by Björk and Luis Buñuel.

Leonora Carrington, painter, playwright, and novelist, was a surrealist trickster par excellence, and The Hearing Trumpet is the witty, celebratory key to her anarchic and allusive body of work. The novel begins in the bourgeois comfort of a residential corner of a Mexican city and ends with a man-made apocalypse that promises to usher in the earth’s rebirth. In between we are swept off to a most curious old-age home run by a self-improvement cult and drawn several…

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with cultural curiosities, extraordinary eccentrics, secret societies, decadent dandies, rebels, devils, and anything weird and wonderful. I parlayed a love of Word and Image into a career in the arts and worked for places including Tate, Thames & Hudson and the British Library. But to be honest with you, that was just a ruse so I could spend more time delving through interesting books and prints. Some people see the world a little differently; I think we all benefit by spending a bit of time in the company of their art. "It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through."


I wrote...

Graven Images: The Art of the Woodcut

By Jon Crabb,

Book cover of Graven Images: The Art of the Woodcut

What is my book about?

While working in the British Library’s publishing department, I spent happy hours pondering "Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore." At some point, I stumbled on their collection of Early Modern ballads and pamphlets. I was entranced by the crude, bizarre, and often hilarious woodcuts that illustrated them, and set about collecting the most striking and amusing examples. 

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an explosion of cheap printed materials, made possible by the advent of woodblock printing and mass-produced paper. Unlike expensively bound books, these broadsides were not produced for the intellectual elite, but pasted on walls and distributed among the masses. They uniquely capture the obsessions of the time; namely monsters, witches, alcohol, and scandal.

Travels with My Aunt

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of Travels with My Aunt

Henry Pulling, a reluctantly retired bank manager, meets his 70-ish-year-old Aunt Augusta for the first time in more than 50 years at his mother’s funeral. His Aunt is vibrant, even outrageous, and he is anything but—a man whose only hobby is growing dahlias. An Aunt myself, I love a story about a wild, non-traditional Aunt, and her relationship with her nephew. As the title suggests, the story is told through the eyes of Henry. His views of his life and their travels are filled with humor and insight. The joy of this novel follows the challenges that arise when two generations confront their expectations of each other and themselvesexpectations that are never more alive than when we travel. 

Travels with My Aunt

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Travels with My Aunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time in over fifty years at his mother's funeral. Soon after, she persuades Henry to abandon Southwood, his dahlias and the Major next door to travel her way, through Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay... Accompanying his aunt, Henry joins a shiftless, twilight society: mixing with hippies, war criminals, CIA men; smoking pot, breaking all the currency regulations and eventually coming alive after a dull suburban lifetime.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian author who has been fascinated with how others see the world since I was a child. I was captivated by Charlotte’s Web. If pigs and spiders could be having unheard conversations, what else was I missing? I delight in stories that invite me into the distinct world of the narrator, so it’s no surprise that my novel, Entitled, is written from a unique perspective—that of a book. When done well, these stories let us see life through the eyes of someone else. If we all experienced our surroundings, just for a minute, as others did, perhaps there would be more humanity in this world. 


I wrote...

Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

By Cookie Boyle,

Book cover of Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

What is my book about?

The extraordinary adventures of an extraordinary book.

Entitled is a charming, humorous novel told from the perspective of a book seeking to find a home. As it is read, misplaced, loaned, and abandoned, our book, like its Readers, discovers love and heartbreak, loneliness and friendship, and ultimately becomes the author of its own journey. In the end, Entitled reveals the pull between the story we are born with and the one we wish to create for ourselves.

Goddesses in Older Women

By Jean Shinoda Bolen,

Book cover of Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty

What does it mean to become “a juicy crone”? Expanded mystical, intellectual, intuitive, and meditative wisdom as well as healing laughter, outrage, and compassion are all available to the elder woman in the goddess archetypes present in her psyche. I love the comprehensive and empowering recognition of the beautiful, priceless inner gifts possible in a woman's rebirthing after the age of 50.

Goddesses in Older Women

By Jean Shinoda Bolen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Goddesses in Older Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Goddesses in Everywoman comes a celebration of life past fifty.

At some point after fifty, every woman crosses a threshold into the third phase of her life. As she enters this uncharted territory she can choose to mourn what has gone before, or she can embrace the juicy-crone years.

In this celebration of Act Three, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Jungian analyst and bestselling author of Goddesses in Everywoman, names the powerful new energies and goddess archetypes of compassion, outrage, healing laughter, and new layers of wisdom that come into the psyche at this momentous time. Bolen…


Who am I?

I have been a spiritual seeker my entire life, drawn to the mysteries of life, the nature of the soul, the afterlife, intuitive knowing, higher consciousness, and psycho-spiritual transformation. Besides the numerous personal teachers who have enriched my path, personal/ spiritual growth books have been a powerful guide and inspiration. In my coaching practice “Touch The Soul”, I continually draw on my own 70 plus years of acquired elder wisdom as well as the wisdom of so many who have come before me, writers and wayshowers of expansive spirituality.I am grateful to share a few books which may enlighten and deepen your own spiritual journey.


I wrote...

The Elder Widow's Walk: A Personal Inner Journey and Guide for Bereaved Widows 65 and Beyond

By Lucille Ann Meltz,

Book cover of The Elder Widow's Walk: A Personal Inner Journey and Guide for Bereaved Widows 65 and Beyond

What is my book about?

When my husband and life partner of 49 years died, I became an isolated, invisible widow living on a remote peninsula in unimaginable solitude. I grieved deeply while trying to re-create my life at age 70. I faced the unique losses, fears, and endless daily struggles of an elder widow, none ever addressed in any grief and loss literature. My enduring pathway to survival and soul renewal led me to delve deeply into decades of my own life experience, inner wisdom, and belief in the eternal nature of love. What emerged is this guidebook, my personal inner journey balanced with useful emotional and spiritual healing practices for the bereaved elder widow and for those who wish to support her on her new life pathway.

All Passion Spent

By Vita Sackville-West,

Book cover of All Passion Spent

After a lifetime of dutiful marriage, the newly widowed Lady Slane shocks her family by striking out on her own, moving from London to a suburban cottage where she will live alone and please herself (for once!). Her decision rumbles through her grown children’s lives and inspires one of her great-granddaughters to pursue an independent life herself.

I love that this book focuses on an older woman (Lady Slane is 88 years old), proving that it’s never too late to live life on your own terms. And in Deborah, her great-granddaughter, we get a glimpse of the new sort of woman who was really making her presence felt in this period: young women exploring their independence and living very different lives from their parents and grandparents.

All Passion Spent

By Vita Sackville-West,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Passion Spent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A charming extraordinary early 20th century novel about family relationships.

When the great statesman Lord Slane dies, everyone assumes his dutiful wife will slowly fade away, the paying guest of each of her six children. But Lady Slane surprises everyone by escaping to a rented house in Hampstead where she revels in her new freedom, revives youthful ambitions and gathers some very unsuitable companions. Irreverent, entertaining and insightful, this is a tale of the unexpected joys of growing older.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOANNA LUMLEY


Who am I?

All of my books and stories have at least one thing in common: strong women. I’ve always been fascinated by women who are fighters and who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Astra, the main character in A Bright Young Thing, is definitely not alone in pushing back against society’s expectations: the women in these books (and many in real life in the 1930s) also find the strength to say no, to stand in their power, and truly live life their way.


I wrote...

A Bright Young Thing

By Brianne Moore,

Book cover of A Bright Young Thing

What is my book about?

With the sudden loss of her parents, 1930s socialite Astra Davies finds herself with a heap of debts and family secrets to sort out. Faced with a loveless marriage or stepping into the unknown, she makes the audacious decision to make her own way in the world. 

But the road to financial independence is a rocky one, and it’s made more difficult when her business partner turns out to be a fool, a vengeful aristocrat goes on the warpath, and she unwittingly catches the attention of the equally hard up (but very irresistible) Earl of Dunreaven. Astra will have to find strength and skills she never knew she had if she’s going to prove that she’s more than just A Bright Young Thing.

Miss Austen

By Gill Hornby,

Book cover of Miss Austen: A Novel of the Austen Sisters

Miss Austen is Cassandra, sister of the more famous Jane, who takes centre stage in this story, though Jane is there, too, as the beloved missed sister, not the novelist. The year is 1840, Jane has been dead for twenty years, Cassandra is in her sixties and though frail is on a quest to find some missing letters which may reveal secrets about Jane and Cassandra which must not be known. It’s a mystery and we want to know if Cassandra will find those letters, but it is also a touching portrait of sisterly devotion. Cassandra makes an admirable heroine, determined and resourceful despite her frailty. It also tells much about the way in which spinsters, usually ignored by society, have a rich and complex inner life.

Miss Austen

By Gill Hornby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times bestselling novel, set to be a major TV drama
________________________
'You can't help feeling that Jane would have approved.' OBSERVER

'So good, so intelligent, so clever, so entertaining - I adored it.' CLAIRE TOMALIN
________________________
Throughout her lifetime, Jane Austen wrote countless letters to her sister. But why did Cassandra burn them all?

1840: twenty three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury, and the home of her family's friends, the Fowles.

She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache…


Who am I?

I love the novels of Charles Dickens and when I found out that he did go out with the London Police to research the criminal underworld for his magazine, I thought what a good detective he would make. He has all the talents a detective needs: remarkable powers of observation, a shrewd understanding of human nature and of motive, and the ability to mix with all ranks of Victorian society from the street urchin to the lord and lady. I love Victorian London, too, and creating the foggy, gas-lit alleys we all know from Dickens the novelist.


I wrote...

Summons to Murder

By J.C. Briggs,

Book cover of Summons to Murder

What is my book about?

This is the ninth novel in the Charles Dickens Investigation series. A journalist friend of Dickens, Pierce Mallory, is found shot dead in his lodgings. The inquest verdict is suicide, but closer examination of the gun causes Dickens and Superintendent Jones to have doubts. Mallory left behind debts, a discarded wife, more than one discarded mistress, and two illegitimate children. There are plenty of suspects. The investigation takes Dickens and Jones into a dangerous world in which powerful people have dangerous secrets they want to keep so badly that even Dickens’s life is in danger.

Three Things about Elsie

By Joanna Cannon,

Book cover of Three Things about Elsie

The author of this novel is, like me, a doctor-writer. I imagine we share the same motivation to tell stories. As a psychiatrist, Joanna Cannon’s writing portrays her compassion and deep understanding of the human condition. In this novel, the mundane existence of eighty-four-year-old Florence in her care home is upset by the arrival of a man she is convinced she recognizes from her past, a man who supposedly died years before. Only her lifelong friend, the eponymous Elsie believes her. My favorite author Somerset Maugham (also a doctor) attributed his success as a writer to his powers of observation rather than his imagination. What makes this novel so compelling in my eyes are the astute observations and the easily overlooked details that hold the clues to solving the mystery.

Three Things about Elsie

By Joanna Cannon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Three Things about Elsie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep delivers a suspenseful and emotionally satisfying novel “infused with warmth and humor” (People) about a lifelong friendship, a devastating secret, and the small acts of kindness that bring people together.

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing…might take a bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to…

Who am I?

As a family doctor working in aged care, I have always felt disappointed by the stereotypical portrayal of ageing in fiction. Older characters are rarely the protagonist of their own story and are more likely to be relegated to minor roles that reflect their marginalization and invisibility in society. And yet, despite their physical limitations, my older patients have taught me that it’s never too late to laugh, love, make new friends or create mischief. Bette Davis once said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Without sugarcoating ageing, I strive for authenticity and humor in my writing to offer a more uplifting and hopeful portrayal of what lies ahead.


I wrote...

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

By Joanna Nell,

Book cover of The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

What is my book about?

At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers birds to people, so when a fall lands her in a nursing home, she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy. From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ (of the parking lot) she dreams of escape. Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home, once he has passed the driving test for his mobility scooter.

When Hattie and Walter meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is fired over her unconventional approach to aged care, they join forces to have her reinstated, and slowly, an unlikely friendship begins to grow.

Shadow Life

By Hiromi Goto, Ann Xu (illustrator),

Book cover of Shadow Life

I picked this book up on a whim, I’m glad I did. It was a pleasant surprise with no expectations. A simple, easy-to-read story with art guiding you frame by frame from artist Ann Xu. The smooth art guides you through the effortless story. It shines a light from a different perspective of life. It is soft, warm, and enlightening as we question death around the corner (especially close for the elderly woman in this story who literally vacuums up death). If you are looking for something different from a harsh dystopian/superhero graphic novel, pick up Shadow Life.

I suggest that you read this one on a Sunday morning.

Shadow Life

By Hiromi Goto, Ann Xu (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Kumiko's well-meaning adult daughters place her in an assisted living home the seventy-six-year-old widow gives it a try, but it's not where she wants to be. She goes on the lam and finds a cosy bachelor apartment, keeping the location secret even while communicating online with her eldest daughter. Kumiko revels in the small, daily pleasures: decorating as she pleases, eating what she wants, and swimming in the community pool. But something has followed her from her former residence - Death's shadow.

Kumiko's sweet life is shattered when Death's shadow swoops in to collect her. With her quick mind…

Who am I?

I’m a writer/artist inspired by a lifetime of reading graphic novels. A visual artist at heart with a BFA in Industrial Design I have worked over a decade in conceptual thinking for research and development in the manufacturing sector. I love the experimentation that breaks the boring norms of industry standards. I wanted to use my talent, experience, and passion to create a sci-fi graphic novel, Bear Serum, and break the medium norms. I wrote and drew it to satiate my own wild ideas in the sci-fi category to push the medium further.


I wrote...

Bear Serum

By Kyle Fleischhacker,

Book cover of Bear Serum

What is my book about?

When the human race is battling for survival and leans on the military... humanity’s "evolved" cell phones into mental chips provide great strength but also lead to their demise when a central authority is controlling push notifications... molding the new world. Chaos is sure to ensue!

A soldier's life is saved by his mental chip and precious Bear Serum, we follow his journey as the world around him evolves and changes. Politics, power and greed shape his journey in the 4-level planet, Earth 2. A dystopian, stylistic and action-packed sci-fi graphic novel.

Britt-Marie Was Here

By Fredrik Backman,

Book cover of Britt-Marie Was Here

I love how Backman is able to pinpoint human nature with very small means. Britt-Marie as an aging, thorny character jumps off the page and instantly made me sympathize with her. Following her journey from feeling stuck to walking out on her cheating husband and finding herself the unexpected caretaker of a recreation center, was so invigorating. Every step of the way, the softening of her edges as her authentic zest for life and interest in new acquaintances arise made the book unputdownable. I will read whatever Backman writes.

Britt-Marie Was Here

By Fredrik Backman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britt-Marie Was Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Anxious People captivates readers with this “warm and satisfying” (People) story “about a woman rediscovering herself after a personal crisis…fans of Backman will find another winner in these pages” (Publishers Weekly).

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not…

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about underdogs overcoming adversity in different ways. There were times growing up when I didn’t feel like I fit in with my peers, and I’m sure that’s contributed to this fascination. There’s just something so satisfying about a character who others think is down for the count getting back up and winning. As a writer, my women’s fiction stories often center around characters who are in need of personal growth. Overcoming challenges and choosing a truer-to-self path are common themes. That’s why the books on this list found their way to my heart.


I wrote...

These Numbered Days

By Anna E. Collins,

Book cover of These Numbered Days

What is my book about?

When Annie Wolff’s ex-husband dies, she breaks her self-imposed exile and returns home to Washington to make sure her kids are okay. Annie hasn’t seen Grace and Connor in eight years, and with her in-laws making a bid to adopt them, this is her last chance to set things right. She only hopes the depression that once sent her running will remain in check.

As she’s drawn back into the lives of her now-teenage kids, Annie also stumbles into the path of Wic Dubray—the handsome woodworker who leases her a room. Now, Annie must navigate old memories, hostile relatives, her wavering mental health, and a growing fondness for Wic for a chance to win back her children, her life, and maybe find love.

Book cover of Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

I was guilted into buying the book when I went to Glen’s book signing event. He’s a friend. After the reading, I noticed that everyone in attendance had one or more copies of his books along with their credit cards in their hands. I felt obligated to buy a copy. The book sat on my shelf for several weeks until guilt forced me to take it down and read. I finished the book that night, and reread it the next day. I recommend it all the time.  

Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

By Glen Huser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At 15, Tamara has survived the foster care system through brains, will, and attitude. Now close to getting out, she dreams of being a model. First, though, there's high school to get through, along with her teacher's latest community project volunteering at the local seniors home. Tamara doubts she can endure either the residents or the smells. Then she's assigned to Jean Barclay a cranky, wealthy, and extremely frail former schoolteacher. As the two warily size each other up, they realize each is the key to achieving their own very different goals. Miss Barclay wants to attend Wagner's Ring Cycle…

Who am I?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!


I wrote...

When the Sun was Mine

By Darlene Jones,

Book cover of When the Sun was Mine

What is my book about?

Her dream was to go to university. Instead she’s working in a nursing home hunting a killer. When high school graduate, Brittany Wright, gets a job cleaning at Happy Hearts nursing home, she is terrified of old lady Flo and desperately wishes she could be in college instead. As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, Brittany discovers that Flo, who may or may not have Alzheimer’s, is in grave danger. But, from whom and why? 

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