Embracing Seventy

At the end of January, I turn seventy. It feels like a big deal to me, similar to the feeling I had when I turned 30. I’ve always embraced my age and looked forward to each milestone, and I’m particularly excited about this birthday and look forward to this 8th decade of my life.

So I decided that I will celebrate 70 by putting together a list of books to read this year, all related to my age in one way or another. Some are birth year books, some are books about turning seventy, some are by authors born in the same year as me, or on the same day, and some have main characters that are seventy years old!  I’ll try to review most of them and provide interesting links, as well. And if I find more books that aren’t listed here, or that might work better, I’ll add them to my list or make some substitutions. I think I’ll throw in some movies from 1949, and perhaps some music and art from that year, too.  It’s a birthday celebration that will last all year for me! Please check back here occasionally during the year to see how I am coming along with this milestone-birthday project.

Books:

  1. At Seventy, by May Sarton
  2. Doing Sixty and Seventy, by Gloria Steinem
  3. I’m Too Young to be Seventy: And Other Delusions, by Judith Viorst
  4. Charles at Seventy — Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams, by Robert Jobson
  5. 70 Things to Do When You Turn 70: More Than 70 Experts on the Subject of Turning 70, by Sally Wyman Paradysz and Ronnie Sellers
  6. 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole
  • A Classic published in 1949:  Death Be Not Proud, by John Gunther
  • Book by an author born in 1949:  Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
  • Newbery Medal winner for 1949:  King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry
  • Caldecott Award winner for 1949:  The Big Snow, by Berta and Elmer Hader
  • Pulitzer Prize for Drama for 1949:  Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
  • Nobel Prize for Literature for 1949:  William Faulkner: Light in August
  • Mystery book from 1949:  The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler
  • Children’s Book from 1949:  The Secret Seven, Enid Blyton
  • A Short Story from 1949:  The Golden Apples, by Eudora Welty
  • A Memoir from 1949:  This I Remember, by Eleanor Roosevelt
  • A Book to Movie from 1949:  The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck
  • A Book of Essays from 1949:  Willa Cather On Writing
  • A Novel from 1949:  Kinfolk, by Pearl S. Buck
  • A Non-Fiction book from 1949:  The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir
  • A “Birthday Buddy” (born on the same day, though not the same year) book:  The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey
  • A Book of Poetry from 1949:  Collected Poems of Robert Frost 1949
  • A book to reread: Pied Piper, by Nevil Shute (main character is 70!)
  • A Dr. Seuss book from 1949: Bartholomew and the Oobleck
  • A Fiction book from 1949: Vittoria Cottage, by D.E. Stevenson
  • A book by an artist born in 1949: WOMEN, by Annie Leibovitz

Movies from 1949:

  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (I love these old Alec Guiness movies!) I was able to stream this old movie through my library. Alec Guiness plays all the different characters in this darkly humorous story of revenge. One note: Towards the end of the movie, there are some racist comments that are not acceptable in today’s world, but that reveal the ingrained racism of the culture of that time.
  • Little Women (the one with Elizabeth Taylor)
  • The Secret Garden (with Margerat O’Brien)
  • The Third Man (with Carol Reed and Joseph Cotton)
  • The Red Pony (with Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy)
  • Stray Dog (a film by Akira Kurasawa)

18 thoughts on “Embracing Seventy

  1. Marlo Quick

    I turned seventy earlier this year and I am finding much to enjoy in this new decade. I hope you don’t mind if I use your list as a guide for creating my own! Love all your posts and look forward to your reviews of seventy!

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Marlo, dear fellow septuagenarian! I don’t mind at all! And if you find something special that would be just right for my list, please let me know. Happy reading!

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  2. Kay

    Oh this is lovely, Robin! What a good idea! I see that you have the Judith Viorst book on your list. I received her book Suddenly Sixty last year when I turned that particular age. I had no idea that Viorst had written books for adults until my daughter showed up with it for my birthday. I just remember reading her Alexander books to my girl over and over and over. They were some of her favorites. Wish I could come and be with you and Les when you get together in the new year. One day again perhaps.

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  3. Robin Post author

    Thanks, Kay! I’m planning on having a lot of fun with my list this year. I, too, didn’t know that Judith Viorst had written these books for older folk. Our whole family absolutely loved the Alexander books. And this summer, on the day my Mom was feeling so ill, she referred to her day as her “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” (I miss her sense of humor which was with her until the very end.) This book on Seventy should be a lot of fun. I’ve ordered it from the library.

    I wish we could all get together again, too! We must plan something. Hugs.

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  4. Nan

    I read this a few days ago, and have been trying to get back! I think of all the books you listed, May Sarton’s stands alone. It is an excellent diary of the year she turns 70. And it reads as if she is sitting across from you, chatting. Oh, Light in August. Oh, Faulkner. He was the literary love of Tom’s and my life in our early years. There is no one like him. But I don’t think I can read him now. When I was young and strong and knew little of the world, I could do it. And sometimes I still think of trying to reread. I have most if not all the books, and will never let them go. I haven’t read Pied Piper yet, though I own it, and I do so love Nevil Shute.

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    1. Robin Post author

      Nan, I’m really looking forward to reading this May Sarton journal! I’m very intimidated by Faulkner, but will listen to the audiobook of this one because I’ve heard the narrator does a great job with it. I’ve already read Pied Piper but am going to reread it because I remembered that the main character was 70 years old. It was one of the first I read by Nevil Shute, and I loved it. This time I’ll write a review for it.

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