SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 5, 2013

Hamilton Readers' Club celebrates 45 years

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — Ginny Seavey held up “The Light Between Oceans,” a novel by M.L. Stedman, in front of the group gathered inside the town’s old library yesterday.

“It is a page turner,” she said. “It really catches you. I won’t tell you what happened, but I really liked it.”

Seavey, 89, of Hamilton is one of the founding members of the Readers’ Club, which has been going strong for 45 years. Unlike a book club, the group gathers on the first Monday of each month to review what they’ve been reading and make recommendations.

“Everybody is different,” Seavey said. “Some people like mysteries, true stuff, historical stuff; it’s quite a mix. So you get a little bit of everything.”

Many books were scattered across the table in front of the group as they met yesterday, everything from “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel to “Alex Cross’s Trial” by James Patterson.

The group was started in 1968 by Jean Buckley, who is currently one of the trustees of the Hamilton-Wenham Library. It originally met at the Hamilton Library on Bay Road. While the library has moved to Union Street since merging with Wenham in 2001, the group still meets in the old library building, now run by the Council on Aging.

Seavey said the group is more than a book club; it’s a place to meet new friends. When finished with the book reviews, they talk about current events around the world and things happening around town.

People find out about the group through word of mouth, Seavey said. It started with only a few people and has grown to about 15. “It is still going on when other clubs have faded away, because new people always come,” Seavey said.

Seavey calls each member of the group the Sunday night before the meeting to remind them to join in on the discussion.

Joan Snavely, 83, had just read “Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly.

“I think you guys would like it,” she said. “Because it is our age group, we were all glued to the TV when it happened.”

She said she has been a part of the group for a long time, but can’t remember exactly when she joined.

“It is good to hear, ‘This is a good one and you should read this,’” she said. The friendships are her favorite part about the group.

“If I am sick, they send me flowers,” she said. “It is good to be remembered.”

Betty Dunbar has been a part of the group for about 10 years.

“It is great fun,” she said. “It is the friendships and it is interesting to see what people get out of their books.”

What is the future of the group?

“We hope to keep going,” Seavey said. “We get new people all the time and we don’t even have to try. People like coming.”

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.