Hospice House Book Club Connects Caregivers

Book clubs form in a variety of ways for a number of reasons. Most commonly, people involved in book clubs simply enjoy reading and discussing what they've read with others, whether those "others" are strangers, friends, co-workers, family, neighbors, or a combination. 

At Hospice House - The Josie Harper Residence, a former volunteer coordinator gauged staff and volunteer interest in a book club as a way of getting to know each other better. There were some early participants and it has grown from there. Not all current book club members are directly associated with the Hospice House, but in some way, their paid or volunteer positions frequently interact with death, dying and grief. One member shared that the book club initially focused on books about death and dying as a way to help them learn more about others experiences and develop empathy - in short, to help make them better equipped to serve others. 

Since the book club was established in February 2019, they have expanded their reading to include such titles as "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi, "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande, and "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas. 

Many of the titles the group has tackled have been available as book club bags, making it easy and convenient for the club to provide a copy to each member. 

"I have found the kits to be very helpful because it makes the task of trying to gather books for everyone in the group a very simple one. It is easy, reliable, and cost efficient means of getting books for everyone in our group! I also really appreciate the effort that goes into the kits, thinking specifically of the reading guides attached with the book kits that can be useful for discussion facilitation," said Hospice House Volunteer Coordinator and book club member Tina Geistfeld. 

Though this book club originated in its own unique way, the benefits of belonging that these members shared reflect comments that might be heard in nearly any book club:

  • "I love comparing my thoughts about characters and the story in general with other readers and getting someone else's perspective. Sometimes they see the story line or a character's actions very differently from my own interpretation."
  • "I stepped into the book club very recently and it has really been a blessing on my time at Hospice House (HH). I got to know some of my own HH volunteers in a whole new way, plus I got to meet and build a relationship with volunteers from other hospice care providers. The women in the group all bring something different to contribute and the conversations and insightful thinking creates a learning environment for us all."
  • "I learn so much and love the discussions."
  • "I wouldn't miss this book club for anything. It's fun to be together and I like these people."
  • "We are grateful for each other... feel blessed."
  • "This book club is organized, but not rigid. It's gentle, friendly, and safe to be you."

Whether you're looking for a book club to join or thinking about starting your own, there are many things to love about being part of a community of readers! Check out OPL's Book Club page for more information.