How Hobbies Improve Your Personal Life
April 4, 2019

Five Books People Fifty and Over Should Have on Their Shelf

Young adult/teen literature has been one of the most popular genres for the past decade. While the genre has some impressive entries in it, not everyone wants to read stories about younger characters and their adventures. For some older readers, they want to read about protagonists who are dealing with more relatable issues. The question becomes, where do you start? With so many books out there, it can be intimidating to choose a starting point. Luckily, we have five recommendations for you. Here are five books people fifty and over should have on their shelf.


  1. Finding the Bunny by Samantha Paris

Description: “Through narration, flashback, inner monologue, and snappy laugh-out-loud dialogue, Samantha Paris’s Finding the Bunny artfully peels back the curtain on the fascinating world of voice-over, and much more. With untethered honesty and humor, voice-over genius Paris reveals her intensely personal story— that of a woman in mid-career, recovering from a disastrous childhood, dealing with a failed but far-from-loveless marriage, running a hugely successful business, shepherding thousands of students through the learning process so that they can realize their dreams, while dealing with a burning internal conflict about what happened to hers.

Through Paris’s odyssey, a reader will be inspired to examine and access one’s own inner true voice. As Peter Coyote writes in this book’s Foreword, “Finding the Bunny is an eye-opener, a thought-provoker, an education, an adventure and an inspiration. (It’s) about transformation more than anything else— offering ideas that may challenge or freshen your thinking, enrich your life and light your own path.”

Samantha Paris is a natural born teacher, entrepreneur and force of nature. Her greatest gift has been teaching others that the power of possibility actually already exists in your own internal life, if you just give voice to it.”

As a narrative about a woman who’s in mid-career and is trying to recover from a painful childhood, Finding the Bunny tackles what it’s like to figure things out past the early years of development. She deals with her failed and complicated marriage, helping students navigate their dreams, and the challenges of running a business. Her journey will help you to “find the bunny” for yourself. Both inspiring and insightful, you’ll find yourself thinking differently about your life and goals after closing this book.


  1. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Description: “With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.”

Shonda Rhimes has quite the list of accomplishments under her belt, so her memoir comes with both clever writing and a lot of insight. Rhimes dares the reader to try something new, something that puts us out of our comfort zone and does so for our betterment. Readers who want something thoughtful but not as heavy as other selections will find this book appealing.


  1. H is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Description: “The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald’s story of adopting and raising one of nature’s most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel’s temperament mirrors Helen’s own state of grief after her father’s death, and together raptor and human “discover the pain and beauty of being alive” (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.”

H is For Hawk is a great example of a book crossing different genres and reinventing the wheel. At its core, the book is a memoir, but it is also much more. She chronicles her time raising a hawk and gives readers a lot of insight into falconry. Her book will also appeal to pet lovers, as the relationship between them is reminiscent of what many pet owners have undoubtedly felt with their own pets. On top of this, it’s also a story about family, as she contemplates about the ones she’s lost. Thinking about both life and death, MacDonald gives readers great insight into her life which will transcend into theirs.


  1. Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

Description: “When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself—an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook—in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure—the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.

As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town—crumbling but still colorful—to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of  The End of Your Life Book Club and  The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s  New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.”

What makes Bettyville so enticing to read is the intimate way Hodgman creates a connection with the reader regardless of what background they come from. In sharing his story, full of wit and humor, he opens himself up and builds an unbreakable bond. His tone is conversational, so it’ll feel like he is sitting right next to you telling his tale. He peppers in little anecdotes here and there, and tone wise, the narrative does become a little dark as he reveals some of his struggles, but Hodgman rarely leaves readers in the dark for too long.


  1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Description: “In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.”

Part letter to his son and part critical analysis of modern-day America (and himself), Coates’s work is an exercise in tough love. For those who are able to get through the gritty, unapologetic passages of the book’s more critical parts, readers are rewarded with a book that will make them think differently about many of today’s social topics. What keeps the heart of the book beating however is his obvious love and compassion for his son and his son’s generation. Coates’s fatherly insights remind readers of their own fathers (or fathers of their own sons).