The most recommended books about seniors

Who picked these books? Meet our 52 experts.

52 authors created a book list connected to seniors, and here are their favorite senior books.
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Book cover of Setting Limits: Medical Goals in an Aging Society with "A Response to My Critics"

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of The Right to Die with Dignity: An Argument in Ethics, Medicine, and Law

From my list on medical ethics and end-of-life.

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Olof Palme Visiting Professor, Lund University, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull, and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA), and Nirma University (India). With more than 300 publications, Raphael has published extensively in the field of political philosophy, including Liberal Democracy and the Limits of Tolerance; Challenges to Democracy; The Right to Die with Dignity; The Scope of Tolerance; Confronting the Internet's Dark Side; Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab.

Raphael's book list on medical ethics and end-of-life

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

Like Pellegrino, Daniel (Dan) Callahan is also one of the forefathers of the field of medical ethics. 

A prolific author, Dan published 47 books and some 800 articles and blogs. Dan is also the co-founder of the Hastings Center in New York, one of the leading research centers on medical ethics in the world. In many ways, his vision established medical ethics as a legitimate field of studies.

In Setting Limits, Callahan suggests the concept of a “full biographical life span,” meaning the point at which it can be said that a person has lived a complete, fulfilling, whole life. He does not determine a specific age but suggests a range — late seventies, early eighties, which in his opinion is equivalent to a natural, complete life cycle. 

Callahan claims that today medical technology can extend life beyond the point that he believes is sensible and worthwhile. He deliberates…

By Daniel Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a provocative call to rethink America's values in health care.


Book cover of Aging A-Z: Concepts Toward Emancipatory Gerontology

Andrzej Klimczuk Author Of Economic Foundations for Creative Ageing Policy, Volume II: Putting Theory into Practice

From my list on public policy on ageing.

Who am I?

As a student, one day, I noticed that something was wrong with our world. Older people are separated from younger ones and sometimes almost invisible. I decided to focus on researching whether and how older people organize themselves into groups and influence important areas of social, economic, and political life. The study of the social capital of older adults led me to research on age discrimination, intergenerational relationships, age-friendly communities and cities, social innovation, co-design, citizen science, and public policy on ageing. I am convinced that only multi-sectoral and multi-level cooperation can lead to the implementation of constructive responses to today’s global challenges.

Andrzej's book list on public policy on ageing

Andrzej Klimczuk Why did Andrzej love this book?

This provocative book is constructed in the form of a dictionary instead of a set of typical thematic-oriented chapters.

The reader can accept the challenge and arrange the pieces of the puzzle on their own. Estes and DiCarlo provide introductions to a variety of topics from the perspectives of the political economy of ageing and critical gerontology.

Following these approaches led to defining a new discipline of emancipatory gerontology that cover a vast set of challenges related to, among others, social networks, social movements, and inequalities.

Also, the volume explains how ageing is combined with constructions of race, ethnicity, class, ability, and gender.

Finally, it focuses on recommendations regarding advancing human rights and combating social issues.

By Carroll L. Estes, Nicholas B. DiCarlo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aging A-Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This provocative, intellectually charged treatise serves as a concise introduction to emancipatory gerontology, examining multiple dimensions of persistent and hotly debated topics around aging, the life course, the roles of power, politics and partisanship, culture, economics, and communications. Critical perspectives are presented as definitions for reader understanding, with links to concepts of identity, knowledge construction, social networks, social movements, and inequalities. With today's intensifying concentration of wealth and corporatization, precarity is the fate for growing numbers of the world's population. Intersectionality as an analytic concept offers a new appreciation of how social advantage and disadvantage accumulate, and how constructions of…


Book cover of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Dale Maharidge Author Of Fucked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s

From my list on to understand America in the 2020s.

Who am I?

How I grew up in Ohio informs my work: my raging war-ravaged father dreams of being his own boss; in our basement he grinds steel tools on massive iron machines, a side business after his day job in a factory; as a teen, I begin grinding with him; Dad is hit by a drunk driver and he cannot work for months; I am not old or skilled enough as a machinist to save the business; our mother who drives a school bus feeds our family with charity food. I fear I will grow up to be a blue-collar worker facing all the precarity that comes with this existence.

Dale's book list on to understand America in the 2020s

Dale Maharidge Why did Dale love this book?

This is the best book on the precarity facing American workers today—especially women. Bruder lived it, first in a tent, then in a van, following the itinerant workers of today, many of them older women. She embedded deeply, working in an Amazon warehouse and at the sugar beet harvest in North Dakota, mainstay jobs for these new itinerants. Two of the powerful women Bruder documented ended up appearing in the Oscar-winning film, Nomadland, which was based on the book. 

By Jessica Bruder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon's CamperForce programme in Texas, American employers have discovered a new, low-cost labour pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads.

Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy-one which foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these…


Book cover of Glory Be: A Glory Broussard Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Who am I?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

Up for a small-town Southern church lady amateur sleuth that kicks ass? After reading Danielle Arceneaux’s cozy-defying debut, my answer is yes!

Story hero Glory Broussard is a small-time bookie, loyal friend, exasperating mother, and intrepid detective. I found myself shaking my head, thinking Oh, no she didn’t! And loving her for it! I admire Arceneaux for crafting Glory as a complicated, hilarious, and surprising character—in other words, a stellar protagonist who is utterly and truly unique.

And there’s more. The bayou setting, Glory’s coffee shop hangout, local criminals, and small-town gossipy intrigue all meld into a steamy, irresistible plot I couldn’t get enough of.

By Danielle Arceneaux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in a vivid and charming crime series set in the Louisiana bayou, introducing the hilariously uncensored amateur sleuth Glory Broussard. Perfect for fans of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club.

*A New York Times Book Review Best Crime Novel of the Year*

*A Washington Post Best Mystery Novel of the Year*

It's a hot and sticky Sunday in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Glory has settled into her usual after-church routine, meeting gamblers at the local coffee shop, where she works as a small-time bookie. Sitting at her corner table, Glory hears that her best friend-a nun beloved by the community-has…


Book cover of Angle of Repose

Connie Kronlokken Author Of So Are You to My Thoughts

From my list on deepening your understanding of California history.

Who am I?

As a transplant to California, albeit more than 50 years ago, I am still fascinated by what makes this place at the edge of the Pacific so unique. It has accepted so many people, from so many places over a fairly recent period. I always feel I can deduce more history from well rendered characters set in specific times and places. Their wholeness and their meaning, as well as that of their culture, are to be found in literature.

Connie's book list on deepening your understanding of California history

Connie Kronlokken Why did Connie love this book?

Susan Ward joins her husband, a mining engineer, at a mercury mine near San Jose, California, coming west from New York.

She is an illustrator and writer and, as her grandson tells it, never completely adjusts to life in the West. We get much description of California, however, in the layered times in which her story is told. She and her husband settle in Grass Valley, where her husband works for quartz and gold mines.

Wallace Stegner’s use of Mary Hallock Foote’s memoir and diaries as the basis for this story is still controversial. Foote lived from 1847 to 1938 and wrote beautifully, illuminating life during this time. The controversy makes the story even more intriguing.

By Wallace Stegner,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Angle of Repose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The novel tells the story of Lyman Ward, a retired professor of history and author of books about the Western frontier, who returns to his ancestral home in the Sierra Nevada. Wheelchair-bound with a crippling bone disease, Ward embarks nonetheless on a search to rediscover his grandmother, no long dead, who made her own journey to Grass Valley nearly a hundred years earlier.


Book cover of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago

Todd Swanstrom Author Of The Changing American Neighborhood: The Meaning of Place in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on why neighborhoods still matter.

Who am I?

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood that was stable, safe, and stimulating. After my freshman year in college, I signed up for an “urban experience” in Detroit. It turned out to be the summer of the Detroit riots. I woke up to U.S. Army vehicles rumbling into the park across from my apartment. Over the next month, I witnessed the looting and burning of whole neighborhoods. I remember thinking:  what a waste! Why are we throwing away neighborhoods like Kleenex? I have been trying to answer that question ever since.   

Todd's book list on why neighborhoods still matter

Todd Swanstrom Why did Todd love this book?

In an age of global warming, Klinenberg’s study of how Chicago did (and did not) cope with a horrible heat wave that hit the city in 1995, killing 739 residents, is more relevant than ever.

He shows how death rates varied hugely across neighborhoods, not so much based on socioeconomic status but on the cohesiveness of the community. In places where neighbors looked in on each other the death rate was lower.

Strong neighborhoods do not just enhance our lives, they can save lives.

By Eric Klinenberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Heat Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day on which the temperature would eventually climb to 106 degrees. It was the start of an unprecedented heat wave that would last a full week - and leave more than seven hundred people dead. Rather than view these deaths as the inevitable consequence of natural disaster, sociologist Eric Klinenberg decided to figure out why so many people - and, specifically, so many elderly, poor, and isolated people - died, and to identify the social and political failures that together made the heat wave so deadly. Published to coincide with…


Book cover of Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Andrzej Klimczuk Author Of Economic Foundations for Creative Ageing Policy, Volume II: Putting Theory into Practice

From my list on public policy on ageing.

Who am I?

As a student, one day, I noticed that something was wrong with our world. Older people are separated from younger ones and sometimes almost invisible. I decided to focus on researching whether and how older people organize themselves into groups and influence important areas of social, economic, and political life. The study of the social capital of older adults led me to research on age discrimination, intergenerational relationships, age-friendly communities and cities, social innovation, co-design, citizen science, and public policy on ageing. I am convinced that only multi-sectoral and multi-level cooperation can lead to the implementation of constructive responses to today’s global challenges.

Andrzej's book list on public policy on ageing

Andrzej Klimczuk Why did Andrzej love this book?

Finally, if there are some concepts and ideas related to the public policy on ageing that has not been adequately covered by previously recommended books, the best solution will be to check the most recent encyclopedia on gerontology and population ageing.

This enormous international project was possible due to the collaboration of more than 1,300 experts and includes more than 970 entries divided into more than 60 thematic sections.

Thus, basically, if there are any topics that should be tackled by the ageing policy, they can be found in this reference work.

By Danan Gu (editor), Matthew E. Dupre (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This eight-volume encyclopedia brings together a comprehensive collection of work highlighting established research and emerging science in all relevant disciplines in gerontology and population aging. It covers the breadth of the field, gives readers access to all major sub-fields, and illustrates their interconnectedness with other disciplines. With more than 1300 cross-disciplinary contributors-including anthropologists, biologists, economists, psychiatrists, public policy experts, sociologists, and others-the encyclopedia delves deep into key areas of gerontology and population aging such as ageism, biodemography, disablement, longevity, long-term care, and much more. Paying careful attention to empirical research and literature from around the globe, the encyclopedia is of…


Book cover of Care Across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Who am I?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

The authors in this lively edited volume provide eight short, readable chapters about migration and aging that span the globe, from Vienna to Ecuador to Upstate New York. How do elders displaced from Tibet think about a “second exile” in the United States? Do Bosnian migrants’ remittances make up for their long absences, or would it be better to stay home but not provide financial support? These ethnographers offer riveting windows into intergenerational relations in transnational families around the world.  

By Azra Hromadzic (editor), Monika Palmberger (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Care Across Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World-wide migration has an unsettling effect on social structures, especially on aging populations and eldercare. This volume investigates how taken-for-granted roles are challenged, intergenerational relationships transformed, economic ties recalibrated, technological innovations utilized, and spiritual relations pursued and desired, and asks what it means to care at a distance and to age abroad. What it does show is that trans-nationalization of care produces unprecedented convergences of people, objects and spaces that challenge our assumptions about the who, how, and where of care.


Book cover of Ageless Erotica

Carolyn Lee Arnold Author Of Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir

From my list on that model older women unabashedly enjoying sex.

Who am I?

I’ve been a very sexual woman since my twenties, and provided sex education for women as a young feminist. When I embarked on a fun dating project in my late fifties to date 50 men in order to find the right partner for me, I knew that many of my dates would include sexual encounters. My upbeat memoir about that project, Fifty First Dates After Fifty, includes the sex scenes, because I wanted to provide healthy, satisfying images of older women enjoying sex so that our sexuality would be validated and visible to each other and the world. The sex-positive books I recommend celebrate the variety of women’s sexuality.

Carolyn's book list on that model older women unabashedly enjoying sex

Carolyn Lee Arnold Why did Carolyn love this book?

I recommend this hot and sexy collection of erotic fiction and memoir because for me it doubles as a source of arousal and a mesmerizing glimpse of the range of sexual activities that seniors (mostly hetero, some lesbians, some gay men) imagine and carry out.

From the slow sex of long-term lovers, to hand jobs offered despite arthritic hands or carpel tunnel, to the variety of ways married couples orchestrate hot love-making, to the pleasure of “in-the-meantime” lovers, these stories sizzle and burn. They expand our view of what is sexually possible as we age, and provide an inspiring and stimulating bedside reference for singles and couples of all ages.

To be savored one story at a time, not gulped down as a whole. 

By Joan Price (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ageless Erotica is a steamy anthology of erotic stories and memoir essays written for a mature audience by writers over the age of 50. Edited by senior sex expert and advocate Joan Price, this collection is full of erotica seniors can relate to,embracing the agelessness of sexuality while still encompassing the changes that accompany aging. Some selections are tender and loving, while others are edgy and kinky. But whether characters are going solo, having spicy sex with partners they love and have loved for decades, or engaging in casual encounters, every story included in these pages aims to arouse and…


Book cover of Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Who am I?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

This ethnographic work delves into the lives of elders in Calcutta, India, including those who age in place with family nearby, those whose children have migrated abroad, and those who follow their family members to the US. I particularly love the way the author roots the work in traditional South Asian concepts of age and family relationships while dealing simultaneously with social changes such as India’s urbanization and economic liberalization, the out-migration of skilled tech workers, and the introduction of old folks’ homes in urban areas. The sensitive portrayal of life histories made me both laugh and cry. 

By Sarah E. Lamb (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aging and the Indian Diaspora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The proliferation of old age homes and increasing numbers of elderly living alone are startling new phenomena in India. These trends are related to extensive overseas migration and the transnational dispersal of families. In this moving and insightful account, Sarah Lamb shows that older persons are innovative agents in the processes of social-cultural change. Lamb's study probes debates and cultural assumptions in both India and the United States regarding how best to age; the proper social-moral relationship among individuals, genders, families, the market, and the state; and ways of finding meaning in the human life course.