Recommend a book for a middle-aged woman (2011 edition).

I made a similar thread last year looking for book suggestions for my mother for Mother’s Day.

I ended up getting her Devotion by Dani Shapiro, which she really enjoyed.

Since last year, I’ve found that she really likes books that are written with clarity. Two of her favorite American books are Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn.

Her favorite topics are still books on spirituality and how to live life.

As with the last thread, middle-aged females and self-proclaimed experts on middle-aged females are invited to respond.

OK, I’ll bite the bullet: God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett.

This middle-aged woman just finished Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One. And I’m kicking myself for not snapping it up the minute it was published. It’s certainly written with clarity (& humor).

Of course, I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love; what I’ve heard of it nauseates me. Perhaps not every female in the same age group is identical.

The Miss Julia series by Ann Ross. These are fun books about a proper Southern church lady who gets into all sorts of interesting situations after taking in her dead husband’s illegitimate child (and his mother)! A guilty pleasure of mine, although I’ve missed the last few.

I’m not quite middle aged, but I adored Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, and I think it definitely appeals to that audience. It’s a romance/little English village story about two widowed, middle-aged people.

Your mother might enjoy books by Becca Stevens.

Check out Caroline Kennedy’s “She walks in Beauty”, I was lusting after it in the bookstore just yesterday. Awesome, and totally fits what you’re asking for, and just released. I can’t wait to buy it!

I am middle aged, though my tastes are probably a little more acerbic than those of the OP’s mother – and I really enjoyed this book. Lovely.

Sorry, I have to ask: why “middle-aged” as a qualifier? (If this wasn’t meant in a patronizing way, how WAS it meant?)

I’m 62 (only middle-aged if I live to be 124) and my taste in books hasn’t changed over the years. I’m reading the Steig Larson trilogy, but I also love Guideposts magazine. I like explicit sex scenes… and I also like stories of spiritual awakening. I’ll read any GOOD book… don’t care about the plot or setting as long as it’s well-written. Best book I ever read (listened to, actually) was All the King’s Men. Another terrific recent book was Cutting for Stone.

BTW, I also loved Eat, Pray, Love. I hear the movie was awful. This board did such a number on the movie that people dissed the book, which was really quite good and a lot of fun.

I’d recommend A Green Journey, but Jon Hassler


Yeah…I’m 32 and can’t imagine that when I hit 40, all of a sudden my tastes will change to reflect the new stage in my life.

Anyway, if she loves books on spirituality and how to live life, I’d recommend Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, but it’s not exactly a fun, light-hearted read. It’s profoundly moving, though.

I thought there might be a difference between what young adults and people in their middle ages read. I could be wrong.

THIS middle-aged woman loves police procedurals and mysteries - Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Ronald Hill, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and the entire oeuvre of Ed McBain, without whom there would probably be no NYPD Blue. Also any Hollywood biography makes me swoon. Also any travel books, Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson being two biggies. “Women’s Books” - sex n’ shopping, single gals in the big city, romanceromanceromance - generally have, still do, and always will, make me vomit.

You know, it all depends on what KIND of middle-aged woman your mother is (and what you know she’s interested in). There are some spirtitual-type suggestions above, which is why the SD is such a treasure for those in search of suggestions.

But I’m really insulted that you seem to think people somehow change into doddering old frumpy farts at a certain age (of course some do!) I’d like to think my mind and knowledge has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of reading - ain’t ready to sit in the rockin’ chair reading the large-print Bible!

Speaking only for myself, there is an overlap between what I liked in my twenties and in my fifties, but there are also some major differences, so I can understand the qualifier.

I somehow missed this post before.

What have I said that gave you the idea that I think middle-aged woman have worse taste than younger women. Why can’t the opposite be true? That I added the middle-aged qualifier because I wanted suggestions for books that dealt with more substantive and intelligent subject matter?

My taste has changed a lot over the years. I like novels and I want to be able to relate to the books I read. I am no longer interested in investing a lot of time reading books about young women. Been there, done that. I’d like to find books about bright, married women in their 50s who are dealing with adult children, aging parents, getting tired of work. Most of the books I’ve found are about women reinventing themselves after their husband dies or leaves them. I want books about making marriages work as you age and change.

Agatha Christie books, particular those that feature Jane Marple. Miss Marple is such a rational person with a keen understanding of human nature. And though there are some satisfying twists in the mystery, the prose is straightforward and rooted in logic. A Murder Is Announced is especially good, with a full cast of interesting characters.

The only drawback to this suggestion is that Agatha Christie has been popular for so long, your mother has likely read them already. If so, maybe she’d like to read them again.

Another popular author with a straightforward writing style and a touch of spirituality is Alexander McCall-Smith. He has several series, one (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) is a mystery series, but the others are more general fiction.