When it's cold outside in the winter, what’s better for a senior to do than curl up with some hot coffee or tea and a good book?
Many of the residents in our Cincinnati retirement community enjoy reading not just as a pastime, but as a passion. The Deupree House Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of every month in our Conference Room. And a few of our residents are writers in their own stead.
Looking for a good read to get you through the chill weather? Today, we thought we’d share with you a few of our favorites.
by James Baker Hall
The late Kentucky poet laureate’s first novel was published in 1963 and continues to delight readers today. It’s less widely known, but often compared favorably to its contemporaries A Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
This darkly comic book follows 13-year-old Yates, the best (and youngest) photographer’s assistant in all of Lexington, as he struggles with familial strife, his father’s inattention and crushes on older women.
by Graham Swift
Upon its release in 1983, Waterland was hailed as Swift’s masterpiece and was subsequently shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is a highly regarded British novel and considered one of the seminal examples of New Historicism.
The book is narrated by Tom Crick — a middle-aged history teacher who is going through a divorce — who, in the course of giving a lecture to his students, confesses the hidden, meandering story of his childhood on the River Ouse, interweaving it with the story of his own impending split from his wife. Crick ties the loose ends neatly together for his students with thoughts about the place and people of his native East Anglia, and its larger relationship to a Cold War world on the nuclear brink.
Waterland is a tragic tale of adult regrets, adolescent wonders and childhood secrets. And it’s well worth the read.
One of the first books banned by the new Soviet government after its publication in 1921, Zamyatin’s novel We is a quintessential dystopian novel about the authority of the state run amok.
Set at some point after the Two Hundred Years’ War, the last remnants of humanity reside within a walled-off city called the One State. Nearly all buildings in the One State are made of completely transparent glass (to make surveillance easier); all individuals are known only by identification numbers and their actions are completely dictated by state-issued computer logic.
D-503 is a spaceship engineer who is working on a new design for an interstellar warship. He meets and falls in love with the mysterious I-330, a woman who seems, bewilderingly to him, not to be under the control of the One State. Their affair exposes him to a heretofore unknown world outside the One State, where humanity is reasserting itself.
We was smuggled to the West after it was banned and Zamyatin became one of the first Soviet dissident artists-in-exile. His novel profoundly influenced later works like Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984 and George Lucas’ film THX 1138.
by Bobbie Ann Mason
Another offering by a Tristate author, In Country is told through in the voice of Samantha “Sam” Hughes, a teenage girl living in Hopewell, Kentucky, in the early 1980s.
Her father, Dwayne, was killed in action during the Vietnam War before Sam was born, and she has recently become more than a little obsessed with learning about him. Sam lives with her grandmother and her uncle Emmett (also a Vietnam veteran and an alcoholic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder) because her mother has left her in their care, moved to Lexington with a new husband, and taken a job.
Together, Sam and Emmett help heal each other’s wounds — voids left by war and family strain — and plan a life-changing trip to Washington, DC.
Choices above didn’t tickle your fancy? Head to the library and choose something on your own!
We’re fortunate to have a wonderful library system here in Hamilton County, including the Hyde Park branch, just down the street from Deupree House.
A Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County membership is free and entitles you not only to check out printed books, but also to the system’s enormous catalog of downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, as well as distance learning programs and other internet-based services.
Even seniors who are aging in place and can’t get out much can enjoy access to the larger world through a library membership — and a few great winter reads.