They meet one Wednesday a month in the wood-paneled boardroom of the art-filled Cerritos Library, with its life-sized replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex and 15,000-gallon saltwater fish tank.
They are mostly retired and most sincerely avid readers. They are polite and funny and kind. They are the Cerritos Library Book Club for Adults, and they always come prepared.
On this day, the third Wednesday in April, they are reading Sherwin B. Nuland’s “The Art of Aging.” Some members of the group grip sheaves of notes. Carmen Mendoza’s copy is peppered with orange Post-it notes. Each reader has a sheet with 14 questions to spur the conversation.
And they all have opinions.
Once these 11 women and two men get through discussing Nuland’s 2007 work, two things are abundantly clear. The National Book Award Winner needed an editor. And this is one discerning group of close and demanding readers.
Question No.1 goes by fast. Rae Lynne Wright takes it, laughing: “What did I like best about the book? It make me think of myself.”
Wayne Robertshaw gets Question No. 2, and his answer is echoed throughout the 90-minute-or-so meeting. “What did you like least about this book?”
“It was 228 pages that should have been 120,” Robertshaw says. “It was redundant. He used big words when he could have used smaller words.”
“Yes!” Mendoza chimes in. “Thank you.”
The group is also extremely well organized. This is what a year in the life of the Cerritos Library Book Club for Adults looks like:
Jan. 16: Reader’s choice biography.
Feb. 20: “Glass Houses,” Louise Penny
March 20: “Orphan Train,” Christina Baker Kline
April 17: “The Art of Aging,” Sherwin B. Nuland
May 15: “At Home in Mitford,” Jan Karon
June 19: “Force of Nature,” Jane Harper
July 17: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” Mitch Albom
Aug. 21: “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl
Sept. 18: To be determined
Oct. 16: “Becoming,” Michelle Obama
Nov. 20: “A Gentleman in Moscow,” Amor Towles