Seniors: Good Reads on Rainy Days

Sep 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

During the month of August and now moving into September, I have been devoid of television.  What an utterly delicious experience.  We have been in our home in Texas, where for sometime now we have had our satellite service disconnected.  The end result is to be driven to the library and the full bookshelves with books that have long sat waiting for my visit. It has been like meeting old friends again.  It is like digging for gold and discovering a trove so rich that I keep going back.

So, my joy today is to recommend some books recently read, some read years ago and some I am leafing through.  How appropriate that that be today.  It has just come a welcome rain, following an overcast day, one of those that invites the pleasure of hermit-like privacy.  So, I have taken the books back down, recently completed, and have sorted through the ones I feel most needing recommendation. 

Those read years ago include books that brought with them an account of better times and better days.  Walter Lord’s 1960 edition of The Good Years, 1900 to the First World War.  Standing next to that is Joseph C. Goulden’s 1976 volume of The Best Years,1945-50.  This one came out in 1976.  What a wonderful reminiscent tale. 

If you are into a longer stretch of time, William Manchester’s The Glory and the Dream, in two volumes, would keep you well occupied through rain storms and fall evenings, not too far away. 

I flipped through a very schmaltzy account of Eisenhower, by the same name, authored by John Gunther.  It is a quick read in a small volume that can be carried easily on the plane.  However, it is so Eisenhowerish, you may not want to be seen reading it.  Pick up David Eisenhower’s, much larger volume, it you are into that kind of thing.

Two more contemporary and very provocative books are Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch.  This covers the King Years, 1954-63 and is a non-stop account of the pathos and pain of the era of desegregation.  It will grab you and not let you go.  It shames us and our country and it raises to the rightful place the heroes and heroines who helped focus the shame of that time.

The American Century by Harold Evans, while a large and heavy volume, not unlike Parting the Waters, provides a summary of the century which brought America to its prominence and pride in the 20th Century.  It is well written, well documented with superb photography and incisively instructive. 

I have always been a fan of Sinclair Lewis, whose 1938 volume, Prodigal Parents, I had never read.  So I whizzed through this dated study of a family in the 30’s and learned a great deal of the psychology and pain of the struggles of growing up, both as adults and children, in that decade.

This serendipitous list may intrigue you or at least set you to scanning your own shelves, where you may find some volumes worth reading.  My sense is if you are reading, you aren’t wasting time.  And if you are wasting time, you aren’t reading. Best to you in your search.

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