The Library


We often come across books we want to recommend, both fiction and non-fiction. They are all related in some way to the concept of getting older – there’s a lot out there and we’ll keep adding as we find new ones. We hope you enjoy them too.


GROWING OLD : NOTES ON AGEING WITH SOMETHING LIKE GRACE
by ELIZABETH MARSHALL THOMAS




Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing the natural world, chronicling the customs of pre-contact hunter-gatherers and the secret lives of deer and dogs. In this book, the capstone of her long career, Thomas, now eighty-eight, turns her keen eye to her own life. The result is an account of growing old that is at once funny and charming, intimate and profound – both a memoir and a life-affirming map all of us may follow to embrace our later years with grace and dignity.

Growing Old explores a wide range of issues connected with ageing, from stereotypes of the elderly as burdensome to the methods of burial humans have used throughout history to how to deal with a concerned neighbour who assumes you’re buying cat food to eat for dinner.

Written with the wit of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and the lyrical beauty of When Breath Becomes Air, Growing Old is an expansive and deeply personal paean to the beauty and the brevity of life that offers understanding for everyone, regardless of age.




OLD AGE – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
by MICHAEL KINSLEY



Michael Kinsley is a columnist at Vanity Fair, a contributor to The New Yorker and the founder of Slate. He lives in Washington DC.

The notorious baby-boomers –  the largest age cohort in history – are approaching the end and starting to plan their final moves in the game of life. Now they are asking: What was that all about? Was it about acquiring things or changing the world? Was it about keeping all your marbles? Or is the only thing that counts after you’re gone the reputation you leave behind?

In this series of essays, Michael Kinsley uses his own battle with Parkinson’s disease to unearth questions we are all at some time forced to confront. This surprisingly cheerful book is at once a fresh assessment of a generation and a frequently funny account of one man’s journey toward the finish line. 

“The least misfortune can do to make up for itself is to be interesting,” he writes. “Parkinson’s disease has fulfilled that obligation.”








AN EXTRA PAIR OF HANDS
by KATE MOSSE



As our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves caring for parents and loved ones – some 8.8 million people in the UK. An invisible army of carers holding families together.

Here, Kate Mosse tells her personal story of finding herself as a carer in middle age: first, helping her mother look after her beloved father through Parkinson’s, then supporting her mother in widowhood, and finally as ‘an extra pair of hands’ for her 90-year-old mother-in-law.

This is a story about the gentle heroism of our carers, about small everyday acts of tenderness, and finding joy in times of crisis. It’s about juggling priorities, mind-numbing repetition, about guilt and powerlessness, about grief, and the solace of nature when we’re exhausted or at a loss. It is also about celebrating older people, about learning to live differently – and think differently about ageing.

But most of all, it’s a story about love.






THE GOOD GRANNY GUIDE
by JANE FEARNLEY-WHITTINGSTALL




Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, bestselling author of The Good Granny GuideThe Good Granny Cookbook and The Pocket Book of Good Grannies has written many other books on plants and gardening, including Gardening Made Easy and The Imperial Flower. A grandmother of five, and the mother of TV chef Hugh, she lives with her husband in Gloucestershire.

In the new edition of The Good Granny Guide you will find a whole range of practical advice to help you make the most of the time you spend with your grandchildren, as babies, as toddlers, and through the primary school years.

Jane, a loving and closely involved grandmother of five children, has gathered first-hand tips from other grandparents and their families in many different situations. The result is a wonderfully insightful handbook – a vast resource of wisdom, history and humour – covering everything from childcare troubleshooting to what NOT to say to the daughter-in-law.





BREAKFAST WITH THE CENTENARIANS: THE ART OF AGEING WELL
by DANIELA MARI




It’s said that life begins at 40 – but that number is constantly revised upwards as we live longer and longer. With the number of centenarians having quadrupled in the last thirty years, more of us can now hope to reach the 100-year mark than ever before. But how can we navigate this journey with grace, dignity and style?

In this charming and informative book, Daniela Mari – the Italian doctor caring for some of the oldest people on the planet – draws on her experiences as a renowned gerontologist to reveal the science behind a healthy, happy old age. It turns out that the world’s centenarians can teach us a thing or two about ageing well. Informed by the latest medical studies and incredible stories of individual longevity, Mari shows how our lifestyles can far surpass the influence of our genetics and why a daily glass of liquor isn’t the end of the world. From our sleeping habits and diet to the crucial importance of our passions and interests, Breakfast with the Centenarians is the essential handbook for a fruitful and fulfilling old age.


HOW IT WORKS: THE GRANDPARENT
(LADYBIRD BOOK FOR GROWN-UPS)




Grandparents are versatile. They are babysitters, weather forecasters, mother’s helpers, sweet collectors, child-minders, knitwear suppliers, au pairs, curators of G-plan furniture and providers of day-care for the under twelves.

Retirement is an exhausting job. Grandparents spend a lot of time in the garden making everything tidy and pretty, so they have something tidy and pretty to look at while they are doing the gardening

This delightful book is part of the Ladybird series specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text.