Your July Reading List

Whew! It’s hot out there. Whether you’re soaking up the sun or relaxing in the shade, it’s a great time to grab a cool beverage and dive deep into a book! This month, we have a book on redefining aging (our favorite topic at SAIL!), a sonnet sequence about a modern Pilgrim, and a classic epic picked for the summer by the SAIL Book Club! Click on the titles to be taken to either the author’s website or the page for the book. 

elderhood-cover-1Elderhood by Louise Aronson

For more than 5,000 years, “old” has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. Now that humans are living longer than ever before, many people alive today will be elders for 30 years or more. Yet at the very moment that most of us will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, we’ve made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, disparaged, neglected, and denied.

Noted Harvard-trained geriatrician Louise Aronson uses stories from her quarter century of caring for patients and draws from history, science, literature, popular culture, and her own life to weave a vision of old age that’s neither nightmare nor utopian fantasy—a vision full of joy, wonder, frustration, outrage, and hope about aging, medicine, and life itself.

The story of aging is the story of what it means to be human. It’s both a timeless tale and one that’s rapidly changing with advances in science, technology, and society. Aronson tackles this epic topic with the precision of a scientist, the compassion of a clinician, and the eloquence of a literary writer. Elderhood will transform how readers think and feel about aging. This intensely compassionate book reframes “life’s third act” in ways both revolutionary and revelatory.

$18.00 in Hardcover on Amazon, $11.99 on Kindle.  Available at Madison Public Libraries. Click here to see which branches have it. 


41ysio6qa2l._sx326_bo1204203200_Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust

This unique book has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating on It’s also notable for SAIL members because Foust, like many authors, didn’t start her writing career until she was in her fifties, proving that time and wisdom prepare you to achieve your dreams. 

In her book-length sonnet sequence, Paradise Drive, we come upon a Pilgrim contemplating the deadly sins while hiding out in the bathrooms at some of Marin County, California’s swankiest parties. As the Pilgrim swaggers into an idiosyncratic, believable, frail spirituality, her unmediated, un-medicated new life emerges. The sonnets of this new life are jagged, fresh, and formed in only the way a stunningly skilled poet can craft them. Foust drives her Keatsian sensibility straight into the 21st century of terrorism and autism, divorce and yoga, soldiers and syringes, booze and valet parking, determined to prove that truth makes beauty. Not only is Paradise Drive a magnificent achievement, but it’s also a deep comfort as well.

$11.85 in paperback on


514ovcnr2bwl._sx296_bo1204203200_Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo

This classic long-read is the SAIL summer book for our Book Club! Grab a copy and then get ready to join SAIL members to discuss it when Book Club resumes in the fall!

Clad in a doeskin, alone and unafraid, she stood straight and proud before the onrushing forces of America’s destiny: Sacajawea, child of a Shoshoni chief, lone woman on Lewis and Clark’s historic trek — beautiful spear of a dying nation. She knew many men, walked many miles. From the whispering prairies, across the Great Divide to the crystal capped Rockies and on to the emerald promise of the Pacific Northwest, her story overflows with emotion and action ripped from the bursting fabric of a raw new land.

Ten years in the writing, Sacajawea unfolds an immense canvas of people and events, and captures the eternal longings of a woman who always yearned for one great passion — and always it lay beyond the next mountain.

$8.01 in paperback on, $8.99 on Kindle. Available at Madison Public Libraries. Click here to see which branches have it. 

If you’re shopping on Amazon, don’t forget to use AmazonSmile to give back to SAIL! Visit and search for “AgeBetter” to have a small portion of your purchase go back to SAIL.

Happy reading!

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