older man reading

“I loved it.”

“I liked it too … it was sweet.”

“What … I’m the lone voice but I don’t get it … a 70-year-old woman decides to approach her neighbor about spending nights with her?”

Laughter erupted among the women sitting at the table in The Open Book, an independent bookstore on Main Street, in mid-December. Co-owner Cammie Fuller was among them. The occasion was the monthly gathering of the adult book club that Cammie created just after the store opened last summer.

December’s read was “Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf. The book is short and was a good selection for a busy month. The theme – a senior couple finding love and friendship in a small town – sparked lots of conversation.

The group ranges in age, professions and personal interests. But our common thread is a love of reading and discovering new authors; the list of possibilities is long.

I credit my mother for my lifelong pleasure of picking up a new book. Many of my memories of her are her sitting comfortably in the living room or on the front porch during the summers engrossed in a good read. She introduced me to Carlos Castaneda when I was in my 20s – that was a surprise. And Wallace Stegner was another of her favorites. My older sister is currently rereading and discovering other titles by John Steinbeck.

Walt Whitman. Isabel Allende. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ernest Hemingway. John Grisham. James Patterson. The list is endless, and the mind travel limitless.

One of my best friends is eagerly awaiting the ninth in the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon.

Fighting ageism, Ashton Applewhite has written a manifesto of sorts, “This Chair Rocks,” that kicks back against aging stereotypes and inspires those of us over 60.

Popular author Judith Voirst who delighted many of us, and our children, with “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” shares her wit, humor and empathy in “Suddenly Sixty (and other shocks of later life),” a funny and touching book that speaks directly to the 60-ish woman, inviting us to laugh, sigh and come to terms with the challenges of new decades in life.  

She goes on with “I’m Too Young To Be Seventy” (and other delusions) where she explores our sex lives and status of our teeth in addition to the joys of being a grandparent.

Several of the women in the book club have shared that they have stacks of books bedside, another stack in the living room and books on tape for when they are traveling. For those of us who share in the joys of being a bibliophile, know that you are in good company and that reading is not only good for your soul but adds to our years of living healthier.

I found some stats that say good reading habits not only preserve our mental faculties but enable folks to live independently longer. My mother lived to be 93. Sadly, her eyes wouldn’t cooperate toward the end so her ability to read was interrupted, but her mind never faltered. Her journals over the years are filled with books that she was reading or wanted to read.

As we enter a new year, let’s keep those books piling up. Reading is proven to enhance our memories, sharpen our decision-making skills, possibly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, reduce stress and help us sleep better.

So, read on!

Reach Anita Sherman at asherman@fauquier.com

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.