Sixty: A Diary: My Year of Aging Semi-Gracefully Info

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This is the thing, you see: I am on my way to
being an old man. But at sixty, I am still the youngest of old
men.


As acclaimed journalist and author Ian
Brown’s sixtieth birthday loomed, every moment seemed to present a
choice: Confront, or deny, the biological fact that the end was now
closer than the beginning. Brown chose instead to notice every
moment—to try to capture precisely what he was experiencing,
without panicking. Sixty is the result: an uncensored, seriocomic
report, a slalom of day-to-day dramas (as husband, father, brother,
friend, and neighbor), inquisitive reporting, and acute insights from
the line between middle-aged and soon-to-be-elderly.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Sixty: A Diary: My Year of Aging Semi-Gracefully:

4

Oct 26, 2015

I heard Ian Brown on the radio talking about this book how he chronicled one year after turning sixty. He sounded good and I loved "The Boy in the Moon." Plus sixty isn't that far off (sigh). My wife told me to buy it and she read it first.

"Did you like?" I asked her. "It was okay. It was kind of depressing regarding all the aging stuff and there was a lot about older guys thinking about sex. Maybe you will like it?" she replied.

Ouch.

About half way through (and I was going to visit my I heard Ian Brown on the radio talking about this book how he chronicled one year after turning sixty. He sounded good and I loved "The Boy in the Moon." Plus sixty isn't that far off (sigh). My wife told me to buy it and she read it first.

"Did you like?" I asked her. "It was okay. It was kind of depressing regarding all the aging stuff and there was a lot about older guys thinking about sex. Maybe you will like it?" she replied.

Ouch.

About half way through (and I was going to visit my mother-in-law) I decided to read something else. Drug violence in Mexico is not a cure for a book on turning sixty. So I finished this book after our return.

Ian Brown is a very good writer and I love his wit and sarcasm. He uses the F-word a lot but I empathized with him a lot too (there was a good reason to swear). He is blunt and I appreciate it.

Since it is a diary, often I found myself reading a few pages or dates at a time. This was good because it never felt like I had a mission to finish it. There was a lot about how the body ages and to be truthful, I hated this. No young person is ever going to relate to this. That's okay because that isn't his audience. It's people like me. There were some very funny episodes throughout the book and often the book made me laugh out loud. I loved this. There were no great revelations made after his year was up (I liked this) and he was so busy that he almost forgot about his sixty-first birthday (that would be something I would do). I was impressed by how many references he made to both contemporary artists and poets (I liked that even more) and he has been pondering a "secret" art project that sounds truly interesting. DO it, Ian!

So I was torn between giving it a 1 because I hated it - he sounded like me at times (I guess showing my personal angst, sheesh) or giving it a five because he made this far, as a semi-celebrity (in Canada), having raised a special needs child and working at a newspaper in today's environment. I would settle for a 3.5 but the laughter pushed it to a 4.

I didn't think there was that much sex pre-occupation. But then I am an aging guy and maybe we all think this way. Maybe?

Fun, crazy and timely (well, more so on my part). Glad I read it. ...more
4

Jun 29, 2016

I'm turning sixty this year, and my husband did so last month, and all my old friends either just have or are just about to, so how could I pass up this little memoir?

Ian Brown decides to keep a journal of the year he turns sixty and that's this book. He's balding and he tires more easily and he worries about whether he can still write and he knows he's slowing down; Brown shares all the aches and pains of his new life as an old man, and interweaves the information he's learned from the thorough I'm turning sixty this year, and my husband did so last month, and all my old friends either just have or are just about to, so how could I pass up this little memoir?

Ian Brown decides to keep a journal of the year he turns sixty and that's this book. He's balding and he tires more easily and he worries about whether he can still write and he knows he's slowing down; Brown shares all the aches and pains of his new life as an old man, and interweaves the information he's learned from the thorough research he's done about the changes our bodies undergo as we age.

You will want to read it, too, if you are approaching this pivotal age yourself or you are on the other side of it.* It's good preparation. It's good fun, too.

*One small footnote: It's written by a man and it's from a man's point of view and most of the facts are about men at sixty. Just know that going in. ...more
3

Feb 02, 2016

I wanted so badly to like this book because I have always admired Ian Brown's pieces in the Globe and Mail. However, the tone of the book really drove me crazy...so self pitying!! I am a few years older than Brown, and his constant whining about aging and his complaining about financial insecurity while spending huge gobs of money on vacations, made me very upset. The book does smell of narcissism.
I think that Ian Brown's charm lies in his brutal honesty about himself and what he sees in the I wanted so badly to like this book because I have always admired Ian Brown's pieces in the Globe and Mail. However, the tone of the book really drove me crazy...so self pitying!! I am a few years older than Brown, and his constant whining about aging and his complaining about financial insecurity while spending huge gobs of money on vacations, made me very upset. The book does smell of narcissism.
I think that Ian Brown's charm lies in his brutal honesty about himself and what he sees in the world. However, this book just didn't work for me....time to grow up, Ian.
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4

Feb 06, 2016

Getting older is a process of getting lonelier and lonelier until, at the end, you are completely solitary, and then you are officially dead.
When national columnist and frequent essayist Ian Brown turned 60, he decided to keep a journal for a year, recording his thoughts on aging and what, in particular, made entering his seventh decade feel like the beginning of the end (or is that the end of the beginning?). As a subscriber to a rival newspaper, I hadn't read anything by Brown before, and I Getting older is a process of getting lonelier and lonelier until, at the end, you are completely solitary, and then you are officially dead.
When national columnist and frequent essayist Ian Brown turned 60, he decided to keep a journal for a year, recording his thoughts on aging and what, in particular, made entering his seventh decade feel like the beginning of the end (or is that the end of the beginning?). As a subscriber to a rival newspaper, I hadn't read anything by Brown before, and I was pleased to discover that I really enjoyed his voice: with plenty of snark and self-deprecating humour, there were nice turns of phrase on nearly every page; I was certainly never bored by the writing. On the other hand, this is a very masculine book, and although the experiences of aging and gradually approaching natural death are (hopefully) in the cards for all of us, Sixty doesn't quite come off as the universal struggle; but that's okay, too.

What Sixty most reminds me of is Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, and probably for good reason: in each case, an author was looking to the literature for what others have written on something they were trying to process (for Brown it was aging, for Didion, grief), and finding the canon lacking, they wrote their own guide for others. In each case, there is much quoting from what little others have had to say before, and much autobiographical information to shore up their discoveries. All good stuff. I do wonder, though, just how short Sixty would have been without long passages quoted from poetry and writers like David Foster Wallace and Karl Ove Knausgård; the sporadic medical information that Brown shares could get a little dull; much of it felt like padding.

Like I said, this is a very masculine book, and at the risk of having Brown whip out his willy “to prove (he) still has one”, I can't tell if his sexed-up mind is typical or not: do all sixty-year-old men habitually size up every woman they meet as a potential sex partner? Do they all size up every man they meet, comparing relative age and physique and hair loss? If this all felt so very adolescent to me, does that simply prove that Brown is doing a service to hexagenarian men everywhere by making sure we women know they're not simply neutered and grandfatherly codgers? I couldn't personally identify with all this but acknowledge its usefulness to those who might.

There's an overall vibe that Brown isn't completely happy with what looks like an enviable life; full of professional success, travel, adventure, and time with good friends. He writes frequently of fights with his wife, but also of the happiness he finds in his family. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who would marvel that Brown worries constantly about money and how he'll afford to retire, yet still pays $95 for haircuts and $17 for takeout salads at lunch. If nothing else, this feels like an honest story, warts – a hemorrhoid named George – and all.

The specifics of a single person's life are always arguing against the impersonality and generality of the larger world – the existential smack-down between seeing and feeling and hearing and smelling and touching and being, and therefore aching, on the one hand, and the total extinction that lies on the other side of the river, when you're dead. . ...more
5

Sep 21, 2016

A very enjoyable read about the trials of turning sixty - humorous and informative, but mostly humorous, I found it laugh-out-loud funny often enough to annoy my kids. I told my older son it would be a great gift to pass down in the family and bestow upon my brother, also approaching 60 (though not as soon as I) who replied "you're really weird Mom". So be it. It's one of the privileges that comes with the age.
5

Sep 22, 2016

I don't think you need to be sixty or over to enjoy this book but it probably helps. The author started writing about turning sixty and aging in general after his sixtieth birthday. He is candid and honest in this recording and the gentler souls among us may find him disturbing. The rest of us will have a good laugh. He is well aware of his failings and vanity and can laugh at himself.

The book provides good but somewhat depressing information about aging in a humorous way. I found myself I don't think you need to be sixty or over to enjoy this book but it probably helps. The author started writing about turning sixty and aging in general after his sixtieth birthday. He is candid and honest in this recording and the gentler souls among us may find him disturbing. The rest of us will have a good laugh. He is well aware of his failings and vanity and can laugh at himself.

The book provides good but somewhat depressing information about aging in a humorous way. I found myself laughing out loud at some of this. ...more
4

May 22, 2016

This book changed my perceptions of aging. I can not look at person over the age on sixty and not think about the long lives they've already had, and the changes to their bodies that puts them in a different position than me. I have more compassion for my parents and grandparents now, and a greater appreciation of our differences. And also: I now have an exercise routine!

An important book, written with charm and humour, and the kind of jazzy details expectation of someone so accomplished.
2

Nov 07, 2016

Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am just burnt out on funny books about aging. Maybe I am getting so close to 70 that people belly-aching about turning 60 just seem like sissies. Maybe this one wasn't as well written as some of the other aging books are, but I just got bored. And I quit reading. Too many other wonderful choices out there. Sorry if I didn't give it enough of a chance but hey, I am running out of time here.

I would like to set up and put it on a didn't finish shelf but I can't seem to Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am just burnt out on funny books about aging. Maybe I am getting so close to 70 that people belly-aching about turning 60 just seem like sissies. Maybe this one wasn't as well written as some of the other aging books are, but I just got bored. And I quit reading. Too many other wonderful choices out there. Sorry if I didn't give it enough of a chance but hey, I am running out of time here.

I would like to set up and put it on a didn't finish shelf but I can't seem to get that to work. Oh well.... ...more
0

Aug 27, 2016

I just now finished reading this book by Ian Brown, a diary that he wrote when he turned sixty years old. I had hoped that the book would contain much wisdom, but I was disappointed. I found it to be a superficial and tiring rehash of what many other writers and thinkers have said before, many of them much more skillfully. Perhaps the writing was a useful process for the author as he tried to deal with his feelings about aging, but I did not find anything in it interesting or of value. Brown I just now finished reading this book by Ian Brown, a diary that he wrote when he turned sixty years old. I had hoped that the book would contain much wisdom, but I was disappointed. I found it to be a superficial and tiring rehash of what many other writers and thinkers have said before, many of them much more skillfully. Perhaps the writing was a useful process for the author as he tried to deal with his feelings about aging, but I did not find anything in it interesting or of value. Brown seemed to have difficulty deciding if he wanted to be amusing or profound, and he ended up being neither. The reading of the book was not time well spent. ...more
3

Dec 13, 2015

I'm torn between a rating of 3 and 3.5.... To me there is a difference.
It's good... And some parts great... I think Brown is a great writer and I decided to read Sixty even tho I'm nowhere near 60 because I enjoyed The Boy on the Moon so so much!!!! Such a humbling and deeply moving book. Sixty on the other hand is at times a bit of a narcissistic rant that I found somewhat repulsive - the name dropping especially, his obsessing over women, and all the chest pounding... It really wasn't I'm torn between a rating of 3 and 3.5.... To me there is a difference.
It's good... And some parts great... I think Brown is a great writer and I decided to read Sixty even tho I'm nowhere near 60 because I enjoyed The Boy on the Moon so so much!!!! Such a humbling and deeply moving book. Sixty on the other hand is at times a bit of a narcissistic rant that I found somewhat repulsive - the name dropping especially, his obsessing over women, and all the chest pounding... It really wasn't necessary - he could have achieved a stellar book without all that peacocking !!!
But then I ask myself what did you expect of a diary... ? It's all about him... Of course it is.... It is and it isn't... At times it's about so much more... There is so much I found I could relate to - in my 40's to boot!!! There are exquisite moments of great insight and wisdom that I often found myself reading over and over and sometimes out loud. This is what made me keep reading.... And this is what leans my rating towards 3.5.... Depending on the day I may have even leaned so far as a 4... But today I'm feeling more of a 3.5 - overall I'm really glad I read it.
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1

Apr 17, 2017

Although he had me laughing out loud at times, it wasn't often enough.
I found that I tired of the rambling on. I also was wondering how he could still be married to his wife after all these years as he seemed to have had been in love with every woman he had dinner or coffee with from his past. That turned me right off.
He just isn't my cup of tea.
4

Feb 01, 2017

Really liked reading this book on aging from a man's point of view. Have read several by women writers so it was interesting to hear the other side. I liked the writing.
5

Oct 06, 2017

Loved it. The book made me one part empathetic to those who are 60+ and another part slightly terrified of heading there myself. Nice mixture of personal reflection, philosophy, poetry & culture.
4

Feb 08, 2017

As a 59 year old, I found this book to get my thoughts churning. However, the authors a whiney-baby. So agreed the book group I'm in. Its worth reading to begin thinking of the best ways to live your life fully and completely in your 50's and 60's, but get ready to skim the parts where he whines, because most women would acknowledge the issues and move on!
0

Feb 22, 2017

Not even worthy of one star. Thank goodness I got it out of the library and did not waste my hard earned cash purchasing it. Do not waste your time on this book.

Synopsis:

Author needs money even though he spends rather freely.
Sees his income stream dwindling with age.
Lands upon a scathingly brilliant idea to diarize his journey through his 60th year.
The result is this book with little content and nothing to recommend it.
2

Jan 10, 2017

Although I'm now past 60 I would like to think my last few years fared better than author Ian Brown's physically and emotionally challenged, panic attack-filled and rather sad trek through his 60th year. My wife picked this book by the chilly Canadian and I can't recommend it for those who are happily in their continuing middle ages.
Brown finds many things to complain about month by month. There are a few bits of humor sprinkled like crumbs by the crusty old man.
Maybe I disliked Brown's diary Although I'm now past 60 I would like to think my last few years fared better than author Ian Brown's physically and emotionally challenged, panic attack-filled and rather sad trek through his 60th year. My wife picked this book by the chilly Canadian and I can't recommend it for those who are happily in their continuing middle ages.
Brown finds many things to complain about month by month. There are a few bits of humor sprinkled like crumbs by the crusty old man.
Maybe I disliked Brown's diary because 60 is not really that old anymore;-)
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2

Aug 28, 2016

When I read the preview for this book, I thought I would like it. I am slightly older then the author and was curious about his experiences and perspectives given that we are both in our 60s. To be honest, the book was rather depressing to me. I did not need to know that our best days are behind us, women no longer find us attractive and that friends and people we know in our age group die or suffer from illness or other injuries. We also begin to lose our memory and our judgment is not as sharp When I read the preview for this book, I thought I would like it. I am slightly older then the author and was curious about his experiences and perspectives given that we are both in our 60s. To be honest, the book was rather depressing to me. I did not need to know that our best days are behind us, women no longer find us attractive and that friends and people we know in our age group die or suffer from illness or other injuries. We also begin to lose our memory and our judgment is not as sharp as it used to be. This book may be an interesting read for those who are in their late 40s and 50s as they will be able to see what their imminent future holds.

I can't say that I learned anything new from reading this book – – maybe that was not the author's intention. It certainly wasn't a book that uplifted my spirits – – that's for sure. ...more
3

Jan 18, 2016

Ian Brown is a much better writer than my rating for this book suggests. I loved "A Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for his Disabled Son," the nakedly honest story of his severely disabled son, Walker. But this book, a diary of his 61st year, feels forced. I appreciate that he is struggling with the inevitability of aging but I feel you become what you think about all day, and Brown is looking for things that make him unhappy -- age spots, memory lapses, a reduced sex drive. It feels like a Ian Brown is a much better writer than my rating for this book suggests. I loved "A Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for his Disabled Son," the nakedly honest story of his severely disabled son, Walker. But this book, a diary of his 61st year, feels forced. I appreciate that he is struggling with the inevitability of aging but I feel you become what you think about all day, and Brown is looking for things that make him unhappy -- age spots, memory lapses, a reduced sex drive. It feels like a long night drinking with a friend you love who just can't stop talking about himself and by the end of it you just want to say, "Snap out of it!" My wish for Ian Brown is that he would turn his attention to some subject, real or fictional, in which he was not the central character. He's a major talent and, even though he might not agree, he has plenty of gas left in his engine.


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4

Oct 09, 2015

Ian Brown’s ’60’ A Diary of my Sixty-First Year is a book that I shared with my father who is also this age. My dad found the book interesting.

I think what struck me the most about this book is how the author kept this journal of his life events for the whole year. And, sometimes there is a connection or linkage to the events from day-to-day, and sometimes the topics are unrelated. Some stories involve his family, some his work. I though that it took a lot of determination to keep the Ian Brown’s ’60’ A Diary of my Sixty-First Year is a book that I shared with my father who is also this age. My dad found the book interesting.

I think what struck me the most about this book is how the author kept this journal of his life events for the whole year. And, sometimes there is a connection or linkage to the events from day-to-day, and sometimes the topics are unrelated. Some stories involve his family, some his work. I though that it took a lot of determination to keep the commitment to accumulate actual events in a journal. I know that Ian Brown is a writer, and this probably helped with the preparation for this book, but, I think in committing to this book there is a certain amount of personal vulnerability, and this is certainly present.

I am only 19, so this was a more difficult book for me to personally relate to. However, I very much could relate to the storytelling styles. I also incorporated some of the style into some of my recent university projects requiring autobiographical information. I think there is a lot to be learned from good authors. I think readers closer to the age of Ian Brown will find this book interesting! ...more
1

Nov 20, 2016

It took me forever to finish this book. It was not what I was expecting, and really, I think it’s a book men might relate to much more than women.
Mr. Brown focuses on two main things in this book: sex and death. Or maybe sex and “decline”.
He’s kind of obsessed with proving himself physically, still trying to do all the sporty things he’s been doing for the last 40 years, so there’s lots of mentions of that – diving, skiing, riding his bike. And he has a bad habit of evaluating almost all the It took me forever to finish this book. It was not what I was expecting, and really, I think it’s a book men might relate to much more than women.
Mr. Brown focuses on two main things in this book: sex and death. Or maybe sex and “decline”.
He’s kind of obsessed with proving himself physically, still trying to do all the sporty things he’s been doing for the last 40 years, so there’s lots of mentions of that – diving, skiing, riding his bike. And he has a bad habit of evaluating almost all the women who appear in this book by their sexual attractiveness. Old colleagues on the newspaper, women he’s interviewing, women roughly his daughter’s age, and, to be fair, I guess? – his wife. He might also mention that they are bright, or funny, or capable, but always the physical descriptions, involving how they appeal specifically to him. Often this includes whether or not he would have in the past, or would like to now, sleep with them – if he weren’t married. The only women who escape these evaluations are wives of friends, children (thank goodness), and his old British auntie. He doesn’t need to include all this stuff. I would have taken it on faith that Mr. Brown was a sexual being – after all he’s only 60, not dead.
Maybe he’s clinically depressed. This author seems consumed with regret over what he hasn’t accomplished and terrified of aging and not accomplishing anything else, to the point – some days – when he says it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t relate.
His experience of aging and mine are just different. Or maybe it’s our attitudes. Here’s a passage from the book:
“After sixty, the pressure to conform, to behave, to be a polite and respectable, ‘wise,’ even ‘cute’ human being without any troubling signs of humanity (lust, anger, principles, disagreeableness, inconvenient truth-telling), is unending; our obedience is the price society wants for paying attention to us, for not shunting us off to the end-of-life stockyards.”
As I’ve aged, I’ve just not felt that pressure. Is this a Canadian thing? Or is it because I am already wise, cute, polite, and respectable? I do keep having opinions, though, and principles, and I’ve been known to be disagreeable. We’ll not get into the “lust” or “anger” things. Just remember, I, too, am not dead.
Overall this book is just a depressing view of aging, and I cannot recommend it to anyone who is currently doing that.
When I told a friend about this book, she said “Why did you bother finishing it?” I didn’t have a good answer.

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5

Aug 02, 2017

Life is a speck next to the sea:
Try to become what you want to be.
3

Oct 28, 2017

Well, I’m not sure that this can be precisely defined as a novel. That statement, of course, is open to debate. Perhaps we could agree that the book is presented in an epistolary manner. It is written as the author traces, reflects and comments on his 60th year. It is an enjoyable look at what and how Brown copes with the vagrencies of aging. As someone in that age group myself I was drawn into the entries. At times, I was pleased to see that I have not yet experienced what Brown has confronted, Well, I’m not sure that this can be precisely defined as a novel. That statement, of course, is open to debate. Perhaps we could agree that the book is presented in an epistolary manner. It is written as the author traces, reflects and comments on his 60th year. It is an enjoyable look at what and how Brown copes with the vagrencies of aging. As someone in that age group myself I was drawn into the entries. At times, I was pleased to see that I have not yet experienced what Brown has confronted, both physical and emotional. Of course, I have also experienced health and personal events that Brown has not yet encountered.

There is humour, candour and confession within the pages of the text . Brown is an accomplished writer and knows how to turn a phrase and engage a reader, so a fair and logical question would be why not a higher rating? I gave it a three because about half way through the text it was apparent Brown was not going to reveal any apocalyptic personal event... obviously, he lived to the end of his 60th year. He is still writing his columns and I still, on occasion, read them. It’s just that too much of the same thing tended, for me anyway, to drag.

This text can be seen as a weird form of personal experience for a reader. Find out what may be around the corner in your personal and medical life. Celebrate the events not yet visited upon you and compare and read about how someone else coped with what you have experienced.

It’s all depressing somehow. ...more
4

Apr 02, 2017

Brown kept a journal of the year he turned sixty, and used this as the basis for a memoir about aging. He threw in some scientific trivia about what is happening physically to the human body at the age of sixty - the actual manifestations of aging, like muscle loss and brain shrinkage and huge ears and rapidly diminishing capacity.

But mostly Sixty is about the emotional and psychological aspects of aging. Some of these I'm already experiencing ahead of sixty; I guess I'm precocious. For Brown kept a journal of the year he turned sixty, and used this as the basis for a memoir about aging. He threw in some scientific trivia about what is happening physically to the human body at the age of sixty - the actual manifestations of aging, like muscle loss and brain shrinkage and huge ears and rapidly diminishing capacity.

But mostly Sixty is about the emotional and psychological aspects of aging. Some of these I'm already experiencing ahead of sixty; I guess I'm precocious. For example, feeling that you have to make good use of what little time you have left - there's a finite number of books you can read, or countries you can visit, or hobbies you can pursue, so you must choose wisely. (And honestly, I'm not sure I actually choose wisely, but rather just feel pressure to do so.)

When you're young, you know you don't have forever, but you still have plenty of time so you don't have to prioritize the same way. The world is your oyster. If you're young and poor, for example, there's still hope for "someday." But when you're older, you have to shed your illusions about the future. You kind of already know how it's going to end. You've pretty much achieved what you're going to achieve.

Wonderfully written, smart and wry, but awfully depressing. Even though he tried to end it on an upbeat note, his belated and feeble attempt to be optimistic was not convincing. Sixty sucks. The only thing it's got going for it is it's better than seventy. ...more
5

Feb 02, 2019

Reading this memoir of Ian Brown's sixty-first year has made me laugh and cry, something few books succeed in doing these days. I’m shocked and gratified by what he writes - a little surprised by his vulgarity, slightly disapproving of his naming of names (whether he uses initials or first or full names), blown away by his openness and his willingness to make himself vulnerable to judgment, and grateful for his having done the research on the aging process that I am either unwilling or unable to Reading this memoir of Ian Brown's sixty-first year has made me laugh and cry, something few books succeed in doing these days. I’m shocked and gratified by what he writes - a little surprised by his vulgarity, slightly disapproving of his naming of names (whether he uses initials or first or full names), blown away by his openness and his willingness to make himself vulnerable to judgment, and grateful for his having done the research on the aging process that I am either unwilling or unable to do myself. My new primary care physician has no idea of the debt he owes to Ian Brown. I would have chosen him as my doctor anyway because he fits my criteria: young enough to not die or retire while I'm still likely to need him and yet not so young he's Dougie Hauser material. But at least I won't be peppering him with questions about cognitive decline. It's made me start to think I should consider writing a book about male vanity, because Brown is so very frank about his and because he's the third man I've encountered in this general age bracket recently who's neurotic about his weight and many other aspects of his appearance (without any particularly good reason to be - he's absolutely recognizable, despite what he says about his bald spot).

If only I had been paying more attention, I would have realized Ian is less than two years older than me. Instead, when I knew him slightly in the 1980s in Toronto, I assumed, because he was such a successful journalist, that he had a good five years on me, maybe more.

Discovering how many regrets Brown has about having been a generalist (although he really wasn’t, at the outset of his career, he was a business writer), about having written about whatever he was interested in, and about not having had the courage to tackle fiction (yet) was extremely sobering. So was his ongoing struggle for money, although he aspires to a lifestyle far more expansive than the one I've ever wanted for myself.

I read recently that writers tend to over-explain and perhaps we do. But I loved every word of this book, every meandering pathway down which he led the reader. I knew it had to end, but I didn't want it to. Onwards and upwards, Ian. Because there's only one way out of this life and we're all on the same path from the moment we're born, no matter what route we take.
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3

Dec 08, 2017

Really mixed feelings about this memoir on the writer's experiences after turning 60. On the positive side, he has some wonderful descriptions of his feelings about the people most important to him, especially his wife and his daughter. He says while he and his wife may not have sex as much, their "companionship gets greener and wide, more forgiving." They stay together not out of "duty" but because they "can make each other laugh, reliably, and because we have a past together, which we don't Really mixed feelings about this memoir on the writer's experiences after turning 60. On the positive side, he has some wonderful descriptions of his feelings about the people most important to him, especially his wife and his daughter. He says while he and his wife may not have sex as much, their "companionship gets greener and wide, more forgiving." They stay together not out of "duty" but because they "can make each other laugh, reliably, and because we have a past together, which we don't want to throw away." These generous words of appreciation for his spouse make the other passages where he is checking out every female young and old with comments on their physical description and questions about whether they might desire him a bit painful to get through. He also shows tremendous insecurity at times about his physical appearance and the general physical decline of bodies with age, which he describes in almost too much detail! Brown definitely would be more in the pessimist camp on aging (move over, Philip Roth, you have company) despite some feeble attempts to point out its virtues. He is certainly entitled to his opinion, but some of what he describes as happening seems over-dramatized for effect--lots of worries about his hair, age spots, and erections. Also, a little too much description of gardens on trips and meals with friends, parts of the "diary" that I read over rather quickly, waiting for more of the humor and insight to unfold. ...more

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