Sixty: My Year of Aging Semi-Gracefully

Sixty: My Year of Aging Semi-Gracefully

by Ian Brown
  • from-ontario
  • general-other-non-fiction
  • memoir
  • narrative

Sixty is a report from the front, a dispatch from the Maginot Line that divides the middle-aged from the soon-to-be elderly. As Ian writes, "It is the age when the body begins to dominate the mind, or vice versa, when time begins to disappear and loom, but never in a good way, when you have no choice but to admit that people have stopped looking your way, and that in fact they stopped twenty years ago."

Ian began keeping a diary with a Facebook post on the morning of February 4, 2014, his sixtieth birthday. As well as keeping a running tally on how he survived the year, Ian explored what being sixty means physically, psychologically and intellectually. "What pleasures are gone forever? Which ones, if any, are left? What did Beethoven, or Schubert, or Jagger, or Henry Moore, or Lucien Freud do after they turned sixty?" And most importantly, "How much life can you live in the fourth quarter, not knowing when the game might end?"

With formidable candour, he tries to answer this question: "Does aging and elderliness deserve to be dreaded and how much of that dread can be held at bay by a reasonable human being?"


Ian Brown, author

Ian Brown is an author and a feature writer for the Globe & Mail whose work has won many National Magazine and National Newspaper awards. His most recent book, The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son, was a national bestseller and a New York Times and Globe & Mail Best Book. It was also the winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Trillium Book Award. His previous books include Freewheeling, which won the National Business Book Award, and the provocative examination of modern masculinity, Man Overboard. Sixty was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction and a finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize. He lives in Toronto.


  • Brown’s humor is pointed inward as often as outward, and he neither glosses over nor languishes on the fact that he has fewer years ahead of him than behind. - Kirkus Link to review
  • A spark of humor shines through even these serious topics, which he handles gracefully. Well considered and illuminating, "Sixty" allows readers to delve deeply into the real meaning of maturity. - Booklist Link to review
  • A rich new book [...]. Brown can’t help but turn some of the absurdities he faces into humor [...]. The laugh-out-loud passages are tempered by a poignant theme Brown comes back to time and time again: regret. - Forbes Link to review
  • Brown asks all the right questions in Sixty, an account that is by turns witty and poignant. I laughed aloud. - The Wall Street Journal Link to review
  • Mr. Brown is charming, thoughtful and edifying company. There’s loads to identify with in "Sixty". More than that: There’s loads to flat-out adore[...]. Brown’s reflections on friendship are soulful and worth committing to heart. So are his meditations on marriage and parenthood. - The New York Times Link to review


  • Shortlisted, RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction
  • Shortlisted, Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Westwood Creative Artists



rights sold: Canada, Korea, China, USA

rights available: World

Additional Information

age range: 13 and up

number of pages: 320

publication date: 09/25/2015

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book