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Just as exercising is good for physical health, flexing your mental muscles is vital – especially as you age. Reading daily is a wonderful way to give your brain a workout. It stimulates your imagination, engages your concentration and memory, and allows you to learn something new.

Whether you prefer holding a book, using a tablet, or listening to audiobooks, diving into stories you enjoy is relaxing and fun. If you need some suggestions, here are five different genres you might like to try – along with some recommendations.

Mystery and Suspense

Mystery novels often pit a clever sleuth against a wily criminal, and some of the best keep us on the edge of our seats. As an eager armchair detective, getting caught up in a story and putting together the clues triggers your logic and reasoning skills. Everyone loves a page-turner, unexpected plot twists, and surprising outcomes!

Popular classic mysteries include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s indelible detective series, “Sherlock Holmes” and Agatha Christie’s whodunits like “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Best-selling author James Patterson is a modern thriller master who dips his fictional pen into many different sub-genre pots. His new release, “The President’s Daughter,” is co-authored by President Bill Clinton. The gripping political thriller follows a fictional U.S. president on a hunt to find his kidnapped daughter.

If you enjoy some wry comedy and romance in your mystery, check out globally renowned author Janet Evanovich. Her bumbling, brainy, and beautiful bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, always gets tangled up in a crazy caper while she’s trying to apprehend FTA bond clients. “Fortune and Glory: Tantalizing Twenty-Seven” is the latest series installment.


Historical novels often use actual events like the Civil War, WWII, the New York World’s Fair, and the Chicago World Series as backdrops for fictional stories told by a set of fictional characters. Some of the settings might prompt you to remember important experiences in your own life or the lives of your ancestors.

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen is a critically-acclaimed historical romance novel set in the late 1700s-early 1800s in rural England. To date, it remains one of the most popular novels in English literature.

Ken Follett is one of the most renowned historical fiction writers today, with over 160 million copies of his work sold worldwide. His first novel, “Eye of the Needle,” is a WWII spy thriller set in 1940 that was made into a movie. The book made the BBC News 100 Most Influential Novels list in 2019. Many critics deem Follett’s medieval saga “Pillars of the Earth” as his most epic historical tale.

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Love has a profound impact on our lives. In fiction, the main characters often go to extreme lengths to find it. Well-told tales keep us captivated and waiting for true love to prevail in the end.

World-renowned romance novelist Danielle Steele has sold over one billion copies of her novels to date. Many of her sweeping love stories feature strong, glamourous women seeking or navigating love, relationships, or family situations in a myriad of circumstances and locales. “The Promise” launched her bestselling writing career in 1978, and “Finding Ashley” is her latest release.

Nicholas Sparks is a consummate romantic storyteller, with many of his novels being adapted into movies for film and television. He was inspired by his wife’s grandparents’ timeless love story in his debut novel-turned-international bestseller and movie “The Notebook.” To date, he’s written 21 novels, with his most recent “The Return” published last year.

Classic Literature

Classic literature covers a broad spectrum of American and World novels. These timeless stories cross multiple generations of readers with each new decade. They tell unforgettable tales in vivid settings with magnetic, memorable characters who linger long after the book ends. The classics will arguably be well worth another read – or a must-read if you have the chance.

Popular and beloved titles include “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Little Women” by Louise May Alcott, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, and so many more.

History (Non-Fiction)

If you’re fascinated by or want to learn more about a particular era, event, or notable historical person, non-fiction history books offer an abundance of information about important national and global people and events. Reading detailed historical accounts may conjure memories or teach you something new about a given topic.

Notable nonfiction historical titles include “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand, and more.

Ultimately, you should let your heart, passions, interests, dreams, and curiosity be your reading guide. A trip to the library, your local bookstore, or an internet search should turn up stories and authors you can’t wait to read and enjoy!

The Active Aging Series is brought to you by our partner, Cambrian Homecare. Cambrian Homecare has been assisting individuals to stay independent in their homes for 25 years. Flexible experience you can trust, when the best place is still at home. Click here to see all of Cambrian’s informative articles.