Readings: some notes

Texts are at the heart of AGING BY THE BOOK.   We’re providing a sample reading list.  These are readings that our groups have enjoyed. You are welcome to use this list, but may wish to add your own choices- there are many, many options.


Everyone reads differently, so choosing and arranging texts involves including enough variety each week so that most participants will find something to pique their interest.  Offer material written at various reading levels,  and drawn from a variety of perspectives.  As you’ll see in the sample reading list, each week we try to include poetry, memoir, fiction, and non-fiction.

When adding new items, think about these questions:

  • Will this piece of writing stimulate conversation about aging?
  • If it’s an excerpt from a larger work, what set-up will it require to be enjoyed out of context?
  • Will it be accessible to a range of participants of varying reading levels and interests?
  • Will participants see themselves, and/or have their eyes opened to other realities through these readings?
  • Is there enough variety in the tone of the selections?  Try to make sure each week reflects a broad emotional range.


At the end of week one  (a discussion of brief quotations about aging) AGING BY THE BOOK programs supply photocopied sets of the readings to participants. Compiling five weeks’ worth of readings with copies for everyone can be time-consuming and expensive, depending on access to copying facilities.  Can your organization cover the copying costs?  If not, can participants contribute?

From a copyright perspective, ensure participants understand that their photocopies of the readings are for personal use only.

Aging and engaging through the power of stories.