Time to Read (and Talk about It)

All of my acquaintances who are retired love the fact that they have so much more time for activities that used to be just shoehorned into a work week. One of the things I plan to do when I retire–besides volunteering, adding a  second weekly yoga class, learning to knit, and writing that novel I’ve been creating in my head since college–is join a book group. (Yes, I know many of you juggle work and book groups at the same time, but I don’t have your stamina.)

I was intrigued to learn a few days ago that a long time friend of my husband’s is a member of The Tacoma Retired Men’s Book Club. None of your quick-and-popular reads for them. Their December selection was Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano. In January they read David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System. Tomorrow (February 3) they’ll be getting together at Satellite Coffee to talk about local author Ruth Tiger’s The Away Place, and Tiger will be joining them. The pick for March is The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde.

Check out the Tacoma Retired Men’s Book Club blog where members often post commentaries–sometimes very long commentaries. Because they have time.



About the Author:

Mary Ellen Quinn is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Librarianship (2014), the former editor of Reference Books Bulletin, and a long-time contributing writer to Booklist.

2 Comments on "Time to Read (and Talk about It)"

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  1. mirgies1@gmail.com' Mohsen M. says:

    “TIME TO READ”, while it may seem a group of oldies but goodies with nothing to do but to read, is quiet the opposite. This group of 10 are committed to reading and learning, not just read to pass the time away. Our latest posting, is a member’s real life event, which is to follow by an up-coming book soon. The February read which includes the author
    in our discussion, is just another chapter in learning what you read.

  2. psyrgb@emory.edu' Ron Boothe says:

    Mary Ellen,
    Thank you for your kind remarks about our book club. We do read some difficult as well as some lighter works of fiction and nonfiction. A few other notable reads we have discussed in the last couple years include:

    Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies, Faber and Faber, 1994.

    Homer, The Odyssey, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, Bantam Classic, 1991.

    Richard Slotkin, Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860, University of Oklahoma Press, 1973

    Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence, Random House, New York, 2008.

    J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey, Little Brown and Co, 1961

    T. R. Reid, The Healing of America, Penguin, 2009.

    Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin, Nan A. Talese, 2000.

    Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, Knopf; 1 Amer ed edition, 1999.

    One comment I hear repeatedly from our members is something along the lines “That is a book I would have never picked up off the shelf to read on my own, but now that I have read it due to it being our official discussion selection, I am so glad I did.”

    Another advantage to being in a book club for me is that I find I read a book with more care when I know that I am going to be discussing it with others later than I would if I did it on my own.

    And then, there is the value of close friendships forged through the process of reading and discussing books. I am always surprised at the intensity of feeling that comes out in these discussions. There is something deep seated in human nature that causes us to not only want to read and discuss books, but to care deeply about the (fictional) characters as well as about the (fictional and non-fictional) issues raised in these books. Through discussing these books over the past couple years, I have come to value the thoughts, feelings, and life-stories of the members of our club. All-in-all, retirement can be a good life, and I recommend joining a good book club to all retirees!
    Ron Boothe

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