55+ Woman Reading a Book

11 Must-Reads for the 55+ Book Lovers

Meet new people, discover places you’ve never been and see the world from a fresh set of eyes. Oh, the places a wonderful story will take you.

Not only is reading calming and captivating, it also boasts a variety of health benefits. From sharpening brain function, improving memory and aiding in sleep to reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, diminishing depression symptoms, preventing cognitive decline and much more, adding a daily dose of a good book in a quiet corner or in the company of fresh breezes, sunshine and singing birds may be just what the doctor ordered. Below are 11 must-reads to get you started.

1. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

The New York Times bestselling author’s debut novel is a heartwarming and comical tale of a 59-year-old grumpster who sees no purpose left in life after his wife dies. But, his tough exterior and sad outlook is tested when a family with two boisterous young girls moves in next door.

2. The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle – Matt Cain

Albert has no friends, family or hobbies. He’s a postman who loves his job and fills his days delivering packages and exchanging friendly greetings. That all disappears when the 64-year-old is forced into retirement after decades of service. Deciding it’s time to truly live and be honest with himself, he sets out on a journey to find the man he loved and lost many years ago.

3. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – Paul Gallico

One day, Mrs. Harris, a cheerful London cleaning lady, stumbles upon the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen — a Dior dress. She saves up her money and goes on a journey to make her dream of owning one come true. She travels to Paris and New York and along the way, learns some of life’s most important lessons.

4. How the Penguins Saved Veronica – Hazel Prior

Discover a story of family, love and connection when 85-year-old Veronica, who is estranged from her family, seeks to find a worthy cause to leave her fortune to. Her voyage takes her to Antarctica, where she works with scientists, saves a baby penguin and attempts to get to know her grandson.

5. Shadow Life – Hiromi Goto

In this graphic novel, 76-year-old Kumiko secretly leaves the assisted living home in which her well-meaning daughters put her and goes on a journey to enjoy life’s pleasures and evade death’s shadow with the help of friends new and old.

6. Insomnia – Stephen King

Set in Stephen King’s classic backdrop of Derry, Maine, meet Ralph, a widower whose insomnia takes him on late night walks through town. He quickly realizes that his visions are not merely hallucinations, but dark, supernatural forces shaking up this quiet New England city.

7. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

When 83-year-old Eddie dies saving a little girl at an amusement park, he awakens in the afterlife, where he meets five strangers who take him on a voyage throughout his time on earth. Along the way, he learns that his existence was not nearly as meaningless as he thought.

8. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

As Allan approaches his 100th birthday, he decides his last stop is not going to be a nursing home. So he escapes, taking readers on a hilarious journey through the present, as well as a colorful past that involves some of the most important events of the 20th century.

9. The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home – Joanna Nell

Nature-lover Hattie finds herself battling independence and privacy when she takes a fall and lands in a nursing home, where she meets Walter, who is plotting an escape as soon as he is able with the help of his mobility scooter, and Sister Bronwyn, who is dismissed over her unconventional approach to aged care. Unlikely connections form as the three join forces in this lighthearted, whitty tale about aging, love, community and friendship.

10. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax – Dorothy Gilman

Widow Mrs. Pollifax isn’t quite ready to retire to a life of garden club meetings. Her solution to spice things up? Joining the CIA. Her first assignment takes the New Jersey dweller to Mexico City, where her enemies learn that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re looking for smiles or thrills, the Mrs. Pollifax series offers adventures that readers of all ages will appreciate.

11. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, this story follows Harold, a recently retired Englishman who lives a seemingly mundane existence with his wife, Maureen. One day, he receives a letter from Queenie, a woman he hasn’t spoken to in 20 years who is in hospice care writing to say goodbye Immediately, he embarks on a quest to reconnect with her, believing that as long as he walks, she will live. For the full story, follow up The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

Join a Book Club?

These are just a few of countless adventures you can experience by diving into a good book. Looking to share in the excitement with a couple of new friends? Ask your Upside Manager to help you connect with local book clubs, where you’re sure to meet some wonderful and unique (nonfictional) characters with their own delightful stories to share.

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