Clinton book club keeps love of reading alive during COVID-19

Jocelyn Cahill (l) and Janice Maurice are members of the Clinton Book Club, which met in Reg Conn Park over the summer. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski/100 Mile Free Press)Jocelyn Cahill (l) and Janice Maurice are members of the Clinton Book Club, which met in Reg Conn Park over the summer. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski/100 Mile Free Press)

Nothing quite stimulates the mind like a good book, as Jocelyn Cahill can attest.

Cahill is a member of the Clinton Book Club, which provides seniors with a place to both socialize and keep their wits sharp. The 10-member group usually gathers once a month in a free room at the Clinton Library, but the pandemic chased them outdoors to Reg Conn Park during the summer.

Organized by resident Janice Maurice, the group usually spends an hour discussing what they’ve read before trying to “solve the problems of the world and community” afterwards, Cahill says.

“I love to read, and I think that most of the girls that are there like to read and like to get together with other gals,” says Cahill, who is particularly fascinated by stories about pioneers. “It’s very nice to join with other people who like to read.”

The library has since reopened, which means the group can order in sets of books that they can read and trade with one another at the meetings. Maurice says that discussing books has helped deepen her own understanding of the text and introduced her to different authors.

“We always discussed the book but we had lots of fun discussing other things,” Maurice says. “We’d often bring a book we’d been reading at home that we were willing to share and pass around, so those went around, as well as the bin of books we’d discuss when everyone was finished it.”

The club is open to anyone, and Maurice encourages people to give it a try. “It keeps you aware of your surroundings and gets a lot of people out that may not get out ordinarily. I know some who say they have missed a lot of things but they never miss book club, so that kind of makes me feel good.

“It’s brought a camaraderie between us all, even though we didn’t know each other really well before. I think it’s really important to belong to something like that keeps us on track.”

To Cahill, the club is a way to stay connected. Before the pandemic, the group would meet in the pub once every three months for lunch and visit with the book club from Big Bar Lake.

“In my case, I’m kind of winding down and looking for things I can still do,” says Cahill, who has lived in the same house in Clinton off and on for 75 years. “I did lots of community work and I’m a quilter, so there was always lots to do, but as my health ran down the book club is still something you can do.”

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