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Mid-Southerners age 50 and better

The Best Books: July

Jul 8, 2013, 9:17 a.m.

By Lester Gingold

The Best Times

Mortality, Christopher Hitchens, 104 pages, Published by 12, $22.99

Christopher Hitchens, was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the Atlantic and author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and George Orwell. I read his writings for years in Vanity Fair, and knew of his reputation as an outspoken atheist. Then I heard that he had esophageal cancer and was living on borrowed time.

This award-winning columnist, while on a book tour with his newest book Hitch-22, suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of the malady.”

Hitchens continued his beautiful writings in his columns for the next 15 months, until his death at 62 at MD Anderson Clinic in Houston.

Mortality is the exemplary story of one man’s refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament.

You may not agree with his philosophy, but you will certainly find this a significant piece of literature that is an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.

I only wish that I could have known Hitchens -- for I am sure that just 30 minutes of conversation (before he lost his voice completely) would be a lifetime memory.

The Spirit of Retirement, James A. Autry, 285 Pages, Prima Publishing, $22.95

Jim Autry writes with a poet’s understanding and basic common sense in his newest book. He gives us the inspiring stories of retirees with a map and a compass for finding the right direction.

Autry highlights some of the many aspects we face in retirement:

• Preparing for transition.

• Determining who you want to be for the rest of your life.

• Reconnecting with those you love, appreciating your roots and reinvigorating friendships.

• Allowing time to develop your inner self.

Anecdotes from people who whose retirement years are filled with beauty, deep meaning and purpose were shared with us as examples of the good life.

Some thoughts worth considering:

“The potential for personal and spiritual growth through making yourself emotionally available to another person is enormous”.

“There is no limit if you have skills, there’s a place to use them in service to others.”

“Retirement provides us opportunities to do all of the things we night have done in life but abandoned or thought we’d never do again…”

“Be the first to seek forgiveness. Demonstrate that you value the relationship more than your own ego.”

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