Literary Lovers find listening an enjoyable luxury Little by little, books are digested

January 20, 1993|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

The print is too small and the book is too large. That's why Marion Duckett, 70, and 10 other Crofton Convalescent Center residents get together each week.

The Literary Lovers, a group of avid readers, meets three times a week to enjoy the luxury of being read to.

Ruth Delpino, activities aide at the center, has been reading James Michener's "Chesapeake" to them, 10 pages at a time.

The book, 865 pages long and 2 inches thick, has consumed six months of the group's reading time.

Their previous conquest, Alexandra Ripley's "Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind," took about eight months to read.

"I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of books over the past 65 years," said Mrs. Duckett. "I read to get away from things, and Ruth helps me do that."

Mrs. Delpino said she decided to form the group more than a year ago.

"We're always trying to find programs to keep the seniors busy," she said. "Many of these seniors were avid readers when they were younger."

Because of their failing eyesight and the weight of hardback books, it has become difficult if not impossible for the residents to read on their own.

Joe Ford, 69, said he attends the meetings regularly because he enjoys historical novels.

Mrs. Delpino "makes me go way back and think about the way things used to be," he said.

"I've decided I'd rather be read to," he added.

Mrs. Delpino and the seniors pause periodically to discuss what happened and to share their thoughts on the subject matter being read.

Tuesday, the seniors discussed African religions and slavery.

Eloise Benson, 83, attended the meeting specifically to hear the story of the Chesapeake.

"I love history," she said. "I've always loved history. I want to learn about the history of the land."

Mrs. Benson said she belonged to a book club for many years until her eyes began to bother her.

She said her family members were always avid readers.

"I saw to it that my son had plenty of books to read," she said.

Mrs. Delpino said the seniors look forward to the readings each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"It's about keeping people interested," she said. "It's about continual learning and about companionship -- being with each other."

The Literary Lovers' next conquest is a book about Abraham Lincoln.

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