Groucho Marx used to say, “Outside of dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
That’s one reason why every Sunshine Retirement community has a comfortable, brightly lit library stocked with dozens of books to explore. As much as we encourage and facilitate social interaction and physical activity for our residents, we realize there’s nothing quite as enlightening, relaxing and fulfilling as settling down in an easy chair with a warm drink and a real page-turner of a novel.
Most of our libraries are run by resident-volunteers (often former librarians) who catalog the books and keep the space tidy. They’re also more than willing to give you a friendly “shush” if your conversation with a fellow resident creates too much of a ruckus.
Many of the books are donated by residents who are delighted to share some of their treasured “companions.” So there’s always a good adventure, romance or biography just waiting on the shelf to spark your interest.
Of course, a natural extension of a library in any community can be an active book club, where residents attain copies of the same book to read simultaneously, then get together to share their unique perspectives.
One such book club at Creekside Pines in Dallas, Georgia has a group of about 15 that meets once a month. Resident Georgene Galligan seeks suggestions from the group for books to read together and then facilitates the discussions with a list of questions. Currently, the group is enjoying The Last Lion, a biography on Sir Winston Churchill by William Manchester.
But book clubs aren’t the only ways Sunshiners share their love for words. Recently, residents at Deer Park in Novato, California chose to initiate a Poetry Club and it’s going quite well. Resident and former professional poet, Vincent DeMaio, launched the group, which includes three enthusiastic ladies and often a few others.
“Poetry,” says Vincent, “is like grabbing hold of some fantastic force. Hang on and don’t let it go!”
While Ernest Hemingway is about as polar opposite from Groucho Marx as two men can get, he did agree with him on the subject of books when he said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
Next time you’re feeling a little lonely or just in the mood for some adventure, romance, comedy or mystery, pay a visit to your community library. Better yet, ask your Activity Director about starting a book club and maybe taking a trip to the public library in your area. No two ways about it, you’ll end up with a whole stack of new friends.