Books About Old People

C'mon, all you old fogies! Lets make sure we can find the books where we are the stars! We may be living in a youth-centered culture, but many of us know that the years post-60 just might turn out to be the best ones of all -- truly the golden age. For some of us, the best is about to begin!

The criteria to make this list: the main protagonist, or one of the main protagonists, must be an old person worthy of respect and emulation. Now, many books do have older characters, but to fit this list that Old Fogie MUST play a prominant role.

I got the idea after watching the delightful movie "The Best Exotic Magnolia Hotel" last night. I just bought the book and so that's the first on my list -- for now. I'll think of others as I go along but I'm hoping other readers can start this going.

You don't have to be "old" to vote on this list(after all, if all goes well we will all join the club one day!), but at least one of the main characters should fit into that demography.

Update:
I've removed my vote, and thus the book, from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The book is a huge disappointment, the total opposite to the movie. What a pity! It seems it only delivered the premise for the film and no more.
1

by
3.68 avg rating — 442,596 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
3.92 avg rating — 391 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 366,288 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
3.79 avg rating — 113,743 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.09 avg rating — 181,472 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
3.36 avg rating — 18,147 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
3.89 avg rating — 128,830 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
3.69 avg rating — 2,114 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
4.01 avg rating — 80,477 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
4.24 avg rating — 183,045 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
4.22 avg rating — 14,772 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.81 avg rating — 27,937 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
3.80 avg rating — 98,647 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
3.90 avg rating — 23,152 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.82 avg rating — 47,684 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.22 avg rating — 7,219 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
4.11 avg rating — 93,436 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
3.76 avg rating — 93,387 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
3.97 avg rating — 16,839 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
3.95 avg rating — 1,544 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
3.96 avg rating — 555,718 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
3.96 avg rating — 1,586 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.98 avg rating — 11,272 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.72 avg rating — 16,699 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.27 avg rating — 36,957 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
3.98 avg rating — 15,550 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
3.88 avg rating — 89,198 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
3.84 avg rating — 14,695 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
3.83 avg rating — 33,194 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
3.82 avg rating — 14,423 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
3.99 avg rating — 21,782 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
3.93 avg rating — 228 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.93 avg rating — 42,681 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
4.03 avg rating — 470,034 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.95 avg rating — 11,519 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
3.68 avg rating — 94,835 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
3.84 avg rating — 11,303 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
3.93 avg rating — 24,032 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.81 avg rating — 16,268 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
4.01 avg rating — 5,527 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.70 avg rating — 8,081 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.19 avg rating — 2,717 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.85 avg rating — 11,468 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.03 avg rating — 3,440 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
4.10 avg rating — 4,687 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.28 avg rating — 915 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
3.88 avg rating — 4,197 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.98 avg rating — 6,885 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.46 avg rating — 4,834 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.88 avg rating — 89,198 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
3.75 avg rating — 5,481 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.74 avg rating — 87,618 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.95 avg rating — 555 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
3.66 avg rating — 3,370 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
3.33 avg rating — 4,573 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
4.16 avg rating — 23,965 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
3.88 avg rating — 487,399 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.73 avg rating — 1,396 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.39 avg rating — 2,341 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.51 avg rating — 27,947 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.94 avg rating — 495 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
3.52 avg rating — 5,266 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
4.13 avg rating — 17,306 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
4.26 avg rating — 25,544 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.19 avg rating — 13,211 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
3.39 avg rating — 29,313 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.87 avg rating — 18,906 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
4.12 avg rating — 3,505 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.75 avg rating — 13,903 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
3.90 avg rating — 15,687 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.73 avg rating — 12,909 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.15 avg rating — 1,398 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.68 avg rating — 7,819 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.65 avg rating — 1,590 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.40 avg rating — 30 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
4.41 avg rating — 22 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2,435 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.67 avg rating — 5,334 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.49 avg rating — 1,237 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.94 avg rating — 7,225 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.10 avg rating — 6,639 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.86 avg rating — 576 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.95 avg rating — 1,362 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
4.06 avg rating — 15,998 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.88 avg rating — 508 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
3.90 avg rating — 10,215 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
3.94 avg rating — 45,844 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.84 avg rating — 150 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.54 avg rating — 882 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.93 avg rating — 3,899 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.52 avg rating — 2,384 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
3.99 avg rating — 1,195 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
3.97 avg rating — 3,643 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
3.83 avg rating — 4,658 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
3.59 avg rating — 2,165 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.73 avg rating — 10,453 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.60 avg rating — 15 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
3.42 avg rating — 294 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
3.59 avg rating — 61 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
3.74 avg rating — 10,416 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
286 books · 104 voters · list created July 21st, 2012 by Sharon (votes) .
17 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Sharon 224 books
288 friends
Phillip 3545 books
122 friends
Sarah 1498 books
51 friends
Ragnheiður 641 books
22 friends
Bettie☯ 13207 books
192 friends
Thom 6020 books
296 friends
David 815 books
1986 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Reese (new)

Reese As some of my GR friends know, I love the Rabbit tetralogy, and I wish that Updike had continued to give us a Rabbit Angstrom book approx. every ten years until the author finally won a Nobel in Lit. for "The Old Man and the Semen." But alas, Rabbit croaked a few years before he hit 60. Never had to try Cialis to see if he could have an erection that lasted over four hours.

Soooo -- RABBIT AT REST needs to be removed from this list.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Sharon: I take it you intend this list to be an antidote to the "youthful hero" culture. But how set in stone, exactly, is "post-60" as the lower limit of the characters/age group qualifying for inclusion? Strictly not a day less than 60 (or even 61) years old, or people of unspecified age but definitely in retirement, or senior citizens (regardless whether still working or not) deserving respect for their lifetime achievement ...?


message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Not at all set in stone! I'll leave that to the discretion of the voters and book-adders. Certainly, a day below 60 is no problem for me! Or even a week...

Glad to see the list growing -- thanks to all!


message 4: by Reese (new)

Reese Sharon,
I "get" your not wanting to pick a minimum age and then "set it in stone," but if RABBIT AT REST belongs on this list, then I think that there's not much point in paying attention to your criteria for inclusion. Rabbit Angstrom is a few years younger than sixty. Okay -- so maybe the "old" person just needs to be old enough to join AARP. BUT unless I were a young person who admires middle-aged men who have sex with a daughter-in-law, I couldn't claim that Rabbit is "an old person worthy of respect and emulation."


message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Well, I haven't read any of the Rabbit books so I am not in a position to judge. What do you want me to do?


message 6: by Reese (new)

Reese I was actually hoping that my post would prompt Themis-Athena to decide that your criteria made RABBIT AT REST an inappropriate selection for this list and that she would therefore remove it from her list. A book with no votes disappears from a list -- I think.

I don't believe that list creators should be responsible for making sure that every inappropriate book gets removed from their lists. If they were responsible, nobody would want to start a list. I just think that it makes sense for someone to heighten voters' awareness of a list creator's criteria if (s)he notices that one or more inappropriate selections have shown up on a list. Doing so may influence voters' choices or lead the creator to alter the criteria. For example, you may decide that the list shouldn't be limited to works with RESPECTABLE old protagonists and revise the description of what you expect to see on the list.


message 7: by Sharon (last edited Jul 31, 2012 11:01AM) (new)

Sharon It would be impossible for me to monitor the books to make sure they fit the list, Reese! I haven't read even a quarter of them so the best I can do is hope the contributors monitor themselves -- and the voters think about what they are voting for. That way, the ones that don't fit automatically drop to the bottom.
ANyway, thanks for commenting, and for taking an interest!


message 8: by Reese (new)

Reese Sharon wrote: "It would be impossible for me to monitor the books to make sure they fit the list, Reese! I haven't read even a quarter of them so the best I can do is hope the contributors monitor themselves -- a..."

Of course, it would be. Who would expect that? I certainly wouldn't. I'm wondering if you misread or misunderstood what I wrote at the beginning of the second paragraph of my previous post (message #6).


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Sharon: Welcome to the pleasures of list creating on GR! :) (And apologies for returning to this only now; real life intervened, I'm afraid.)

There practically isn't a list on GR where, sooner or later, somebody won't comment that a given book, in their opinion, doesn't fit the list criteria -- and I'm certainly the first to plead guilty on that count for myself as well. There actually are a number of lists on this site, and you may have come across some of them already, whose contents (at least as they stand NOW) arguably has little to do with the list creator's initial intentions, such as expressed in the list's title and/or description.

Ultimately, my own policy is quite simple in this regard (and this applies both to other people's votes and to my own): I figure it's the list creator's call whether or not any books should be removed (and if so, which ones) ... whoever created the list should also be calling the shots as to what books should be included in it. If the list creator tells me to remove a book, or explains that my additions are not what (s)he had in mind, I'll be more than happy to withdraw the entry/-ies in question. -- This is why I asked for clarification on your part how narrowly you want the description you gave to be construed.

From your responses to both Reese and me, I conclude (a) that you don't intend to monitor this list with the notion of asking anyone to remove their votes, and (b) that the description you gave should not be understood in a narrow sense.

Now, as far as this specific book is concerned, I will concede to Reese that Harry "Rabbit" Angstom isn't exactly your model senior citizen; in fact, he's not a model citizen at any point in his life, which is being traced from age 26 (Rabbit, Run, 1960 -- written when Updike himself was 28) over the course of four novels to Rabbit at Rest (1990), as well as a 2001 "posthumous" novella (Rabbit Remembered). In fact, "not a model citizen" is putting it mildly (and in Rabbit at Rest, Harry finds life catching up with him big time ... and since he's no more willing to mend his ways than at any earlier point, he ultimately pays the ultimate price). So if Reese is correct in assuming that -- whatever broad or narrow interpretation might apply otherwise -- your intention is to highlight books that show their protagonists as worthy of respect because they are able to impart lessons learned on higher wisdom or high moral standards, then certainly "Rabbit" has no place here. If, on the other hand, your intention is to make the point that some respect is due to all those who, even if their lives have not exactly been exemplary (or even far from that), have managed to at least make it through "middle life," or that EVERY person is owed a basic level of respect, and this level certainly doesn't depend on their age group (a fact which our youth-and-beauty-centered culture tends to overlook on occasion), then I'd humbly submit that, just perhaps, "Rabbit" belongs on this list more than many another entry, precisely BECAUSE he is not your iconic model citizen. I concluded from your reference to the book which inspired this list in the first place -- and which, as far as I understand (though I haven't read it) deals with old people being discarded by their supposedly "nearest and dearest" -- that you were less concerned with attributing respect based on an exemplary lifestyle and more with the notion that reaching a certain age group in and of itself certainly doesn't constitute grounds to accord anyone less respect than a younger person. But, again, this is entirely your call, and if I'm misconstruing your intentions I'll be happy to remove the book!

I still think this is a great list, btw. ... and I'm just sorry that a book I added has caused you to have to revisit it so often, OTHER than for the purpose of finding more books you might be interested in! (Which isn't to say I'd think it likely you'd want to check in on Harry Angstrom. :) )


message 10: by Reese (new)

Reese Themis-Athena wrote: "Sharon: Welcome to the pleasures of list creating on GR! :) (And apologies for returning to this only now; real life intervened, I'm afraid.)

There practically isn't a list on GR where, sooner or..."


Whether our views are similar or not, T-A, I always appreciate your comments; you give others "first-cut beef" to chew on.


message 11: by Sharon (new)

Sharon I too have been dealing with real life so here I am again!
Thanks to you both for your comments, much appreciated.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Reese wrote: "Whether our views are similar or not, T-A, I always appreciate your comments; you give others "first-cut beef" to chew on."

Why thank you, Reese, I am honored indeed! :)

I'm also happy to return the compliment ...


message 13: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Themis-Athena wrote: "Reese wrote: "Whether our views are similar or not, T-A, I always appreciate your comments; you give others "first-cut beef" to chew on."

Why thank you, Reese, I am honored indeed! :)

I'm also ha..."


Sharon wrote: "I too have been dealing with real life so here I am again!
Thanks to you both for your comments, much appreciated."


Rabbit Angstrom's death, like Ernest Hemingway's--very like-- is entirely age RELATED. Rabbit sees the arrival of his grandchild as "a nail in his coffin", he throws his prescriptions out the window, and commits virtual suicide by playing basketball. Or perhaps we should have a separate list for folks who eschew old age and its related diseases.


message 14: by Reese (new)

Reese Strong argument, T. But I still won't throw in the towel on the respectability "issue." The criteria for inclusion on the list should be changed if RABBIT AT REST is considered an appropriate selection.


message 15: by Thom (last edited Aug 15, 2012 06:13AM) (new)

Thom Dunn Reese wrote: "Strong argument, T. But I still won't throw in the towel on the respectability "issue." The criteria for inclusion on the list should be changed if RABBIT AT REST is considered an appropriate sele..."

Rabbit was an appalling philanderer, a sexual heat-seeking missile, a self-absorbed, infuriating....man. I had female colleagues who found him "despicable". We can debate his flaws endlessly. But strangely, I found him worthy of some measure of respect as John Updike's alter-ego, the man Updike believed he might have been without the education he received. Updike, the " poet laureate of suburban adultery. " No matter. If Sharon, Our Esteemed Listmaker, wants him gone, then let him go .... And I'll start my own list on this subject ... if I haven't already.


message 16: by Reese (last edited Aug 15, 2012 10:34AM) (new)

Reese Thom wrote: "Reese wrote: "Strong argument, T. But I still won't throw in the towel on the respectability "issue." The criteria for inclusion on the list should be changed if RABBIT AT REST is considered an ap..."

Sharon seems to be comfortable with not altering her explanation of what she had in mind when she started this list, and RAR still has a place on it. So my comments are no longer proposals to change the criteria for inclusion or to eliminate books that fail to satisfy the criteria. I'm just "chatting" with you, T, because I find conversations with you valuable -- even when you're suggesting that Rabbit in RAR (forget about the sins of the past) is "worthy of respect and emulation" (Sharon's words). I can count on you to put wisdom, interesting and unorthodox views, humor, and poetic prose on the table. However, despite Rabbit's redeeming qualities and your moving words, I'm going to cling to my hope (though the news makes holding on to it increasingly difficult) that, in the future, only a small minority of folks -- the amoral/immoral, the egomaniacal, the careless, the impulse-driven -- will see a role model in Rabbit Angstrom. Oy, I re-read the sentence that I just typed; and already I'm thinking, "Married sons, watch out for the father with 'a lean and hungry look' -- even when he's no longer lean."


message 17: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Reese wrote: "Thom wrote: "Reese wrote: "Strong argument, T. But I still won't throw in the towel on the respectability "issue." The criteria for inclusion on the list should be changed if RABBIT AT REST is con..."

Well.... a role model ? Hardly. No more a role model than King Lear. A viewpoint, rather, that of the quintessential male principle, or rather male unprincipled-ness.
These days am reading Anita Brookner and Ruth Rendell, seeking the Weltanschauungen of women as written BY women, a viewpoint I will obviously never know firsthand. ....And I like chatting with you--am always glad to see "comment from Reese" show up in my Gmail list.


message 18: by Julie (new)

Julie Additions for this list: Stegner - Crossing to Safety

The Diary of Miss Jane Sommers DORIS LESSING admitted to this one


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) I've added Crossing to Safety, but everyone can do so, Julie -- there's a tab up top next to "all votes."


message 20: by Judah (new)

Judah Martin "Books About Old People" Lolololololol!!!!!


message 21: by Julie (new)

Julie saw the tab but can't work it to add Chalcott Crescent Fay Weldon to books about Old People. Also Old Filth Jane Gardham. Both are 5 star!!!!


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Julie wrote: "saw the tab but can't work it to add Chalcott Crescent Fay Weldon to books about Old People. Also Old Filth Jane Gardham. Both are 5 star!!!!"

Old Filth comes up in the search if you spell the author's name Jane Gardam (or just search by book title).

Chalcot Crescent is in the database as well and comes up both under a book title search (spelled with a single "t" at the end) or an author's name search ...


message 23: by Julie (new)

Julie Other books I have not read but that have strong elderly characters : Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Death for Dessert by T. Dawn Richard,


back to top




Anyone can add books to this list.