Books on Healthy Living – Illness – Disability – Family Planning – Abortion

Books on healthy living and health issues, family planning, aging, abortion, living with chronic illness, women’s health after 50, AIDS.

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library



Aging Collection

About 1,500 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Aging”. Be patient as the page loads.

Caring for your Parents: The Complete Family Guide. Practical Advice You Can Trust from the Experts at AARP

Caring for your Parents Book Cover

Delehanty, Hugh
AARP 2008        Dewey Dec.    362.6

“The authors provide information on everything from the first difficult conversations with parents about their changing situation to coping with terminal illness and death. The book has a wealth of data on long-distance caregiving, financial matters, community-based and professional case management, Medicare, and agre-related physical changes.” -Libr J.

Senescence; The Last Half of Life

Hall, Granville Stanley
Appleton 1922 Dewey Dec. 612

Presents “the subjects of Old Age and Death from as many viewpoints as possible in order to show how the ignorant and the learned, the child, the adult, and the old, savage and civilized man, pagans and Christians, the ancient and the modern world, the representatives of various sciences, different individuals have viewed these problems, letting each class. . . speak for itself.”
– Foreword
“Rich in scholarship and personal experience, is a comprehensive review of the sum of human knowledge on this subject. . . All students of human nature will feel that this text is the gift of a mature mind to those who would struggle wisely to meet the problems of advancing age.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years after 50

Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009        Dewey Dec.    305.26

“New opportunities for creativity and self-fulfillment await men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 …, as illustrated in the author’s extended interviews with 40 well-educated, affluent Americans. Founding her thesis on classic formulations of life-stage development, particularly that of Erik Erikson, the author offers a wide range of models for people who feel burned out, restless or dissatisfied with their lives …” – Publ Wkly

Contents: Introduction : facing the mirror — Loss and liberation — Constancy and change — Healing wounds : the journey home — Looking back and giving forward — Crossing boundaries and embracing contradictions — New learning : body, voice, and soul — Conclusion: cracks in the mirror.

The Clock of Ages: Why We Age– How We Age– Winding Back the Clock

Medina, John
Cambridge Univ 1996 Dewey Dec. 612

“This is the best biology book written for the lay public to appear in many years.” Libr J.
Who ages? — A slippery overarching definition — Humanizing aging and death — Why age at all — How do we age? — How the skin and hair age — The aging of bones, muscles and joints — The aging of the brain — How the heart ages — The aging of the lungs — What happens to the digestion — How the senses age — The aging of the reproductive system — Why do we age? — A tale of two theories — Error accumulation — Programmed death — Winding back the clock

Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development

Vaillant, George E.
Little, Brown 2002        Dewey Dec.    305.26

“In an unprecedented series of studies, Harvard Medical School has followed 824 subjects-men and women, some rich, some poor- from their teens to old age. Harvard’s George Vaillant now uses these studies, the most complete ever done anywhere in the world, and the subjects’ individual histories to illustrate the factors involved in reaching a happy, healthy old age. He explains precisely why some people turn out to be more resilient than others, the complicated effects of marriage and divorce, negative personality changes, and how to live a more fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding life in the later years. He shows why a person’s background has less to do with their eventual happiness than the specific lifestyle choices they make. And he offers step-by-step advice about how each of us can change our lifestyles and age successfully. Sure to be debated on talk shows and in living rooms, Vaillant’s definitive and inspiring book is the new classic account of how we live and how we can live better.” -Publisher

Contents: 1. The study of adult development — 2. Ripeness is all : social and emotional maturation — 3. The past and how much it matters — 4. Generativity : a key to successful aging — 5. Keeper of the meaning — 6. Integrity : death be not proud — 7. Healthy aging : a second pass — 8. Retirement, play, and creativity — 9. Does wisdom increase with age? — 10. Spirituality, religion, and old age — 11. Do people really change over time? — 12. Positive aging : a reprise — Appendices — A. The three cohorts — B. An illustrated glossary of defenses — C. Methodology for assessing maturity of adaptive mental mechanisms (a.k.a. defenses) — D. Assessment of childhood scales — E. Basic trust at age 50 associated with childhood environment and future successful aging — F. Scale for subjective physical health (instrumental activities of daily living) — G. Scale for objective mental health (age 50-65) — H. Scale for objective social supports (age 50-70, Harvard cohort only) — I. Scale for subjective life satisfaction — J. Table contrasting the happy-well with the sad-sick and the prematurely dead — K. Graceful aging scale

Exercise & Diet

Physical Fitness Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Physical Fitness”. Be patient as the page loads.

Exercise for Women Collection

About 200 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Exercise for Women.

Weight Loss Collection

More than 1,300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Weight Loss.
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The New Calisthenics; a Manual of Health and Beauty

Pratt, Mara L., M.D.
Educational 1889 Dewey Dec. 613.7

Fully illustrated book of exercises for boys and girls.

Healthy Living

Health & Fitness – General Collection

About 200 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Health & Fitness – General.

Healthy Living Collection

About 800 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Healthy Living”. Be patient as the page loads.

Women’s Health Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Women’s Health”. Be patient as the page loads.

The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about your Health

Davis, Robert J.
University of California 2008 Dewey Dec. 613

The author “shares his experience of researching current health trends. From exploring ancient health “wisdom” to uncovering the real agendas of modern-day health promoters, Davis guides the reader in analyzing and thinking critically about health-related information.” Libr J.

Selected Articles about the History of Medicine

The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health after 50

Margolis, Simeon
Black Dog & Leventhal 2005 Dewey Dec. 613

An alphabetically-arranged medical encyclopedia specifically aimed at the middle aged and elderly provides detailed information regarding health conditions and ailments, including recommendations for treatment and prevention.
Introduction — Guide to disease prevention — Body atlas — Guide to medical disorders : A to Z index, Problem area index — Information on medical care — Organizations and support groups — Glossary of medical terms.

The Art of Right Living

Richards, Ellen Henrietta
Whitcomb 1904 Dewey Dec. 613

Not a manual of specific directions, but a brief survey of considerations which should influence eating, exercise, ventilation, sleep, amusement, work, environment. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904-1911

The Cost of Cleanness

Richards, Ellen Henrietta
Wiley 1908 Dewey Dec. 613

Subtitle: “Cleanness, the state of being clean, a sanitary necessity of the Twentieth Century whatever it may cost.”
Practical study of the relation between public and private cleanliness and the cost of uncleanliness. Contains suggestions for finding out what the actual cost of keeping clean is. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904-1911

Health Education

College of the Canyons
Independent 2018

“Readers will learn about the nature of health, health education, health promotion and related concepts. This will help to understand the social, psychological and physical components of health.” -Open Textbook Library Website

The Science of Living; or, The Art of Keeping Well.

Sadler, William Samuel
McClurg 1910 Dewey Dec. 613

Compendium in small compass of all the factors which may influence health—air, clothing, bathing, rest, sleep, worry, sanitation and nutrition. Its special value lies in its conciseness and in the table of food substances. – A.L.A. Catalog 1904-1911

What a Young Husband Ought to Know

Stall, Sylvanus
Stall 1899 Dewey Dec. 613

What a Young Woman Ought to Know

Wood-Allen, Mary, M.D.
Sylvanus Stall 1898 Dewey Dec. 613

From the “Self and Sex” series. Chapter headings are: 1. What are you Worth?, 2. Care of Body, 3. Food, 4. Sleep, 5. Breathing, 6. Hindrances to Breathing, 7. Added Injuries from Tight Clothing, 8. Exercise, 9. Bathing, 10. Creative Power, 11. Building Brains, 12. You are More than Body or Mind, 13. Special Physiology, 14. Becoming a Woman, 15. Artificialities of Civilized Life, 16. Some Causes of Painful Menstruation, 17. Female Diseases, 18. Care During Menstruation, 19. Solitary Vice, 20. Be Good to yourself, 21. Friendship Between Boys and Girls, 22. Friendship Between Girls, 23. Exercises, 24. Recreations, 25. Love, 26. Responsibility in Marriage, 27. The Law of Heredity, 28. Hereditary Effects of Alcohol, Tobacco, etc., 29. Effects of Immorality on the Race, 30. The Gospel of Heredity, 31. Requisites of a Husband, 32. Engagements, 33. The Wedding

Daily Ways to Health

Bishop, Emily Mulkin
Huebsch 1910 Dewey Dec. 613.7

Practical, untechnical book of hygienic advice, giving 35 special health exercises, without apparatus, intended to benefit directly special conditions, physical and mental. – A.L.A. Catalog 1904-1911

See our collection of books on Substance Abuse & Addiction

Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century: A Book by and for Women

Boston Women’s Health Book Collective
Touchstone 1998 Dewey Dec. 613

“… reflects the vital health concerns of women of diverse ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and sexual orientations. In these pages, women will find new information, resources, and personal support for the decisions that will shape their health – and their lives – from living a healthy life, to relationships and sexuality, to child-bearing, growing older, dealing with the medical system, and organizing for change. This is a book for women of all generations to use, to rely on, and to share with others.” Book cover.

The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health

Carlson, Karen J. et al.
Harvard 2004 Dewey Dec. 613

2004 updated edition. With original publication in 1996, “… women seeking answers to questions about their health had access to the combined expertise of physicians from three of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions … With complete information on women’s health concerns, physical and behavioral, this A to Z reference quickly became a definitive resource, praised especially for its coverage of topics not previously considered under the umbrella of women’s health.” Book cover.

Disease & Physical Ailments

Living with Disabilities Collection

About 160 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Living with Disabilities”. Be patient as the page loads.

Deaf Collection

About 400 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Deaf.

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Children with Disabilities Collection

More than 500 books from the Internet Archive, free online on the subject of Children with Disabilities.

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Chronic Illness Collection

About 280 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Chronic Illness”. Be patient as the page loads.

Eating Disorders Collection

About 300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Eating Disorders.
Be patient while the page loads.

Terminally Ill Collection

More than 300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Terminally Ill.

Pain Collection

More than 400 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Pain.

Cancer Collection

About 140 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Diseases – Cancer”. Be patient as the page loads.

Heart Disease Collection

About 350 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Heart Disease.

Be patient while the page loads.

Alzheimer’s Collection

Over 100 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Alzheimer’s Disease”. Be patient as the page loads.

Mentally Ill Collection

About 450 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Mentally Ill.

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My Stroke of Luck

My Stroke of Luck Book Cover

Douglas, Kirk
Morrow 2002        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“The actor shares his story of survival after a debilitating stroke in 1995, which changed his life and taught him valuable lessons, and provides anecdotes from other famous figures who have triumphed over adversity” – Publisher
“Entertaining and uplifting, Douglas’s story is a lesson in survival…” -Pub Wkly

The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight against AIDS

The Invisible Cure Book Cover

Epstein, Helen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2007        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“Ms. Epstein …here offers one of the most personal, thorough and conclusive studies of this human plague that has utterly devastated a continent. The book is largely a comparison between AIDS in Uganda, which has instituted a variety of successful policies thwarting the disease, and South Africa, which has one of the highest HIV incidence rates in the world.” -NY Sun

Sleep with the Angels: A Mother Challenges AIDS

Sleep with the Angels Book Cover

Fisher, Mary
Moyer Bell 1994        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“Fisher learned she was HIV-positive in July 1991 and began telling her story in public in 1992. [This book contains] transcripts of 24 speeches, including her address to the 1992 Republican National Convention.” -Libr J.

A Life Shaken: My Encounter with Parkinson’s Disease

A Life Shaken Book Cover

Havemann, Joel
Johns Hopkins Univ. 2002        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“The author chronicles the physical and emotional effects … Parkinson’s disease has had on his life since his diagnosis in 1990.” -Libr J.

Over 100 magazines free and online, from the early 1800s to today, at Read Old Magazines Online

A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing

A Whole New Life Book Cover

Price, Reynolds
Hall 1994        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“Price gives an account of his mid-life collision with cancer and paralysis…. He pauses to ponder nature’s systemic breakdowns, the importance of friendships in times of stress, how to handle pain psychologically. His book is primarily a chronological narrative of events in the treatment of his disease and his rehabilitation.” -Booklist

And the Band Played On

And the Band Played On Book Cover

Shilts, Randy
St. Martin’s 2000        Dewey Dec.    362.1

“Traces the history of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. “Shilts successfully weaves comprehensive investigative reporting and commercial page-turner pacing, political intrigue and personal tragedy into a landmark work.” -Pub Wkly

Disabilities Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information about Disabilities that Affect the Body, Mind, and Senses …

Disabilities Sourcebook Book Cover

Sutton, Amy L.
Omnigraphics 2011        Dewey Dec.    362.4

“Provides basic consumer health information about physical, cognitive, emotional, and sensory disabilities, along with facts about assistive technologies and other tools and services to foster independence, and guidance for families on educational, legal, and financial concerns. Includes index, glossary of related terms, and other resources” -Publisher

Family Planning

Family Planning Collection

About 1,000 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Family Planning”. Be patient as the page loads.

Birth Control Collection

About 300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Birth Control.

Abortion Collection

About 1,100 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Abortion”. Be patient as the page loads.

Pro-Life Movement Collection

About 100 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Pro-Life Movement.

The Abortion Controversy

The Abortion Controversy Book Cover

Almond, Lucinda
Greenhaven 2007        Dewey Dec.    363

Is abortion immoral? — Deciding abortion: an overview / Daniel Oliver — Selective abortion is immoral / Patricia E. Bauer — It is immoral to treat a fetuses as property / Carl Estabrook — Abortion cannot be reguarded as immoral / Richard C. Carrier — Religion does not condemn abortion / Freedom from Religion Foundation — Should abortion rights be protected or restricted? — Religious groups aim to eliminate women’s rights / Austin Cline — Legal threats aim to undermine abortion rights / Karen O’Connor — Most Americans favor restrictions on abortions / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — Abortion is a social failure / Misty Mealey — Should women have greater access to abortion? — Women need greater access to abortion / Michelle Goldberg, plus many more essays.

Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints

Abortion Opposing Viewpoints Book Cover

Torr, James D.
Greenhaven 2006        Dewey Dec.    363


When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973

When Abortion Was a Crime Book Cover

Reagan, Leslie J.
Univ. of California 1999        Dewey Dec.    363.4

A history of abortion from its criminalization between 1860 and 1880 to Roe V. Wade in 1973. “Important and original, vigorously written even down to the footnotes, this book manages with apparent ease to combine serious scholarship … and broad appeal.” -Atl Mon

Safe, Legal, and Unavailable?: Abortion Politics in the United States

Safe, Legal and Unavailable Book Cover

Rose, Melody
CQ 2007        Dewey Dec.    363.4

“Finding that her students readily defend various positions on the abortion controversy, but rarely know what the actual status of abortion policy is, Rose (political science, Portland State U., Oregon) sets out the current policy–arguing that abortion is neither illegal nor available on demand–then places the partisan maneuverings of abortion debate within that context. Each chapter contains discussion questions and suggested readings” -Publisher

Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes

Abortion the Clash of Absolutes Book Cover

Tribe, Lawrence H.
Norton 1991        Dewey Dec.    363.4

The Author examines both pro-life and pro-choice arguments and analyzes major court and legislative decisions.

Family Planning Sourcebook

Family Planning Sourcebook Book Cover

Keyzer, Amy Marcaccio, ed.
Omnigraphics 2001        Dewey Dec.    363.9

“Basic consumer health information about planning for pregnancy and contraception, including traditional methods, barrier methods, hormonal methods, permanent methods, future methods, emergency contraception, and birth control choices for women at each stage of life.” -Publisher

America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation

America and the Pill Book Cover

May, Elaine Tyler
Basic 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.9

The author describes “the now extravagant-seeming hopes and fears the pill first elicited, how the pill became a symbol of the 1960s sexual revolution without demonstrably affecting it … Understanding that the book is fundamentally… pro-pill, one couldn’t ask for a better short history of its subject.” -Booklist

Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America

Devices and Desires Book Cover

Tone, Andrea
Hill and Wang 2011        Dewey Dec.    363.9

“Part 1 examines the ‘contraceptive entrepreneurs’ who practiced what was for many years an illegal trade, regulated by no one. Pin part 2, ‘From Smut to Science,’ Tone considers the development of relatively reliable contraceptive techniques … part 3,’The Medicalization of Contraceptives’, covers birth control pills, Norplant, and intrauterine devices.” -Booklist


Century Past Library