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Books by Richard J. Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tales from a Twilight House

    Life is an escalating process of saying goodbye.

    Every book is written for a particular audience. This book is written for retired persons, or persons near retirement. Younger people may enjoy it as an insight into old age. Tales from a Twilight House is a compilation of commentary, poetry and prose written by a man residing in a continuing care retirement community on the west coast of Florida. At the age of eighty-nine, having lost his wife of sixty-four years and many friends, he looks at life from the top of a ladder of years and decades. His insights from that perch offer readers a philosophy to grow old by.


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  • Musings of an Old Man

    Musings of an Old Man: Some Prose and Poetry to Ponder is like a bowl of vegetable soup. Each selection is nourishing in itself, and in combination leave readers intellectually and emotionally satisfied.

    The selections are humorous, serious, thought-provoking and written with an economy of words. The subject matter ranges from the idiosyncrasies of the English language to observations of nature to living well in old age.

    Musings of an Old Man is a book that can be picked up and put down at any time. The short narratives, essays and poetry all address the everydays of life we often fail to notice. They prompt both smiles and tears. Each offers something to think about and discuss with others. All are to be enjoyed while giving the reader thoughts to ponder.


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  • Once Upon A Christmas

    ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS  is a collection of short stories, all with Christmas settings, plots, and sentimentality.  The author writes of his own boyhood Christmases, eighty-some years ago, and the Christmases of characters drawn from his imagination.  He prepares us for each story with a commentary about the background for it.  The stories are intended to activate our memories, provoke thought and elicit a smile, a frown, a laugh, or a tear.  To paraphrase Francis Bacon [1561 – 1626], they are to be tasted, perhaps chewed; some are to be swallowed and digested.  All are to be enjoyed and read in the spirit of Christmas.


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  • Life After Eighty

    Old age might be measured by changes in physical and cognitive health rather than by birthdays. We grow old differently, but we all grow old. At some point we experience a diagnosis, an accident or an event that signals that we will never be as comfortable or safe living as we have in the past.

    Those who investigate and find suitable accommodations for their old age fare better than those who do not. Timely and prudent actions pay off in comfort and safety. Denial and delayed action often result in passing the unwelcome job to children—often themselves old—who do it less easily and less satisfactorily than their parents could have done it themselves had they initiated the process when they were still able to do so. In the intervening time their parents have been uncomfortable and perhaps unsafe, by unnecessarily “toughing it out” or “hanging in there.” The author explains why neither is wise nor necessary.

    At eighty-five the author knows a lot about growing old. He knows his own story and the stories of men and women who have shared the last twenty-five years with him. Some of them make the transition better than others. This book will tell you why, and give hope to those growing old that life can be grand and full of joy.


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Dr. Richard J. Smith is Professor Emeritus at University of Wisconsin, Madison and recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from that university. He is author or co-author of five college textbooks and various curriculum materials that contain his original poetry, essays and short stories. He also has published numerous articles in professional journals for teachers and school administrators. His latest book, published in 2016, Life After Eighty, is his personal perspective on living well and staying happy while growing older. Richard and his wife live in Bradenton, Florida, at Westminster Towers and Shores, a retirement community where he is a featured writer for the community newspaper.