Whenever you’re passionate about an activity or subject matter, it means a lot to be able to share it with other people. When you are part of a book club, you get to share both.
During your senior years, you have more time and freedom for reading. However, being part of book club with other older adults is way to add a social component to this routine activity that has personal benefits as well. You can create a group filled with friends or neighbors from your senior living community in Seattle or draw from any social circle to create your book club.
Now that people have become more comfortable with video-conferencing software, such as Facetime, Zoom and Google Meets, you also have the option of setting up a virtual senior book club that is open to community members from the entire Seattle area, or even friends and family who live in another city or state.
Best Options for Senior Citizen Book Club
One of the fun things about being part of a book club is that it doesn’t necessitate the reading of anything particularly pedantic, technical or significant. It’s more important you find a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, that appeals to you and other members of your group in Seattle. Here are a few popular books for senior citizens to consider for your club in 2021:
1. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah
This historical fiction novel, published in 2015, is set during World War II. It tells the story of two sisters living in France during the German occupation. Separated by life experience, ideals and circumstances, each sister responds differently to the situation, with the younger sister eventually joining the Resistance and risking her life to help others. The book is the basis for a film adaptation coming out in 2021, so your book club can plan to watch the movie after finishing the novel.
2. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi
“When Breath Becomes Air” is a memoir written by neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who experienced the other side of the equation when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. It chronicles his journey from a curious, ambitious medical student to a successful physician and then a patient confronting the prospect of his own death with life-affirming reflections. Touching, poignant and unforgettable, the book was published posthumously in 2016, after Kalanithi’s death.
3. “The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules” by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Set in Sweden, this book is a comedy of errors that centers on a group of older women living in a retirement community who call themselves the League of Pensioners. Unwilling to spend the rest of their days relaxing and doing nothing, the band of friends—led by 79-year-old Martha Anderson—commit a serious of humorous hijinks as they resist early bedtimes and plastic meals. Their antics escalate until they plot to rob a bank to reclaim their independence.
4. “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman
“A Man Called Ove” is another Swedish comedy about a lovable and lonely man who hides behind a grumpy exterior. He finds his solitary world turned on end when an energetic family with boisterous young children moves in next door. This best-selling novel explores themes of loyalty and fairness, as well as the power of intergenerational relationships. There’s also a film adaptation of “A Man Called Ove” that was released in 2015 as a fun addition to your book club reading.
5. “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown
Anyone who is a fan of powerful nonfiction will enjoy this novel about the 1936 Olympics set in Berlin. The book tells the dramatic story of the American rowing team, a group of nine working class boys who beat the odds to overcome elite teams with infinitely more privilege and spark hope within millions of Americans. The book uses excerpts from the young men’s own journals and diaries to capture the raw emotions of their epic experience.
6. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the summer of the 1960s, “The Help” explores the story of black women living the South and their experiences raising the children of white women. With humor and heart, it highlights the cultural, socioeconomic and racial disparities of the Jim Crow Era and celebrates the spirit and courage of those who found ways to resist in their own quiet yet powerful way.
7. “Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant” by Anne Gardiner Perkins
Anne Gardiner Perkins takes readers to Yale University in the late 1960s in her novel that chronicles the experiences of the first female students to attend the centuries-old institution. Those who attended college around the same time will find much to relate to and discuss about this book, which also explores how Yale failed to properly confront issues like harassment and discrimination on its campus at the time.
8. “Prime of Life” by P.D. Bekendam
In this book, the protagonist leaves his successful career as a cardiothoracic surgeon to become a janitor at a retirement community in hopes of a stress-free life. However, his new circumstances aren’t all he imagined they would be, especially when his past threatens to catch up with him. This entertaining read features a cast of interesting side characters that bring home themes such as dealing with adversity and the importance of friendship.
As you’re mulling over senior book ideas to introduce to your club, prioritize those that are available as large print books, e-books and traditional books. This enables a wider demographic of individuals to participate in your book club, regardless of their preferred reading method. Fortunately, reading lights, book holders, magnifiers, audio books and other adaptive tools and technology have made the reading process easier and more accessible.
Whatever you select for your senior book club, keep in mind that socializing, having fun and engaging in discussion are as important as actually getting through the book on a set schedule.
Starting a Book Club at Your Retirement Community
Participating in a book club is a fun way to pass the time, introduce yourself to new genres and cultivate a social circle around a shared passion. At Daystar Retirement Village, residents are encouraged to engage with others and start group activities if they wish. However, our team also provides a wide range of life-enrichment events and activities that offer regular entertainment and engagement for any and all members of the community.