Every month, a group of avid readers at Prospect Park Residence in Park Slope gathers to discuss the books they have read as members of the Prospect Park Residence Book Club. The club is moderated by Director of Activities Theresa Hines, herself a voracious reader.
“We talk about what we’ve read, discuss the author, and share our opinions about our books,” explained Hines. “We explore other novels by the same author, writing style and content in our discussions. Residents enjoy fiction and non-fiction: mysteries, biographies, historical novels, romance, and science fiction.”
A number of residents participate regularly in the book club including Ruth Willig,
Eleanor Greif, Lillian Marks and Mildred Blechman. “Anyone who lives here and loves to read or discuss books is invited to participate,” said Hines.
According to Hines, Book Club members read at their own pace, and some finish more than one book in between meetings. Others drop in just to listen and hear about what residents are reading, which also provides opportunities to socialize and connect to the world of literature. Hines helps by distributing a current bestseller list to book club members to spark ideas on what to read.
Eleanor Greif is currently reading “Sotah,” by Naomi Ragen, a story concerning the world of strict Jewish orthodoxy and the issue of infidelity. “I’ve read a few of this author’s books, and they’ve all given me something new to think about, although sometimes they have been somewhat disturbing,” said Greif. She explained that she particularly enjoys historical novels that weave facts into great story telling. “I like to read novels that have a good story and provide me with something new to learn.”
Ruth Willig prefers historical novels and books about people from other cultures. Recent favorites are: “The Space Between Us” by Thrity Umrigar about an illiterate domestic servant in India and her relationship with the upper-class family for whom she works;
“The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom, set in the 1800s, about a young Irish girl who ends up living with an African-American slave family in the antebellum South; and “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay, a story of a young woman’s journey from France to Nazi concentration camps and back.
“I also enjoy Batya Gur’s murder mysteries very much,” said Willig, “as well as Mitch Albom’s books and anything by Anna Quindlen, whose stories I followed when she was writing for the New York Times and Newsweek. She’s a very good writer.”
“The book club is just one way our residents come together to share interests, exchange ideas, and develop relationships,” said Hines. “Our art appreciation series, concerts and current events discussion groups all provide additional opportunities for residents to engage in enriching activities.”