Great Group Reads
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2015
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner is the Great Group Reads Manager. She is an experienced information professional, working with online content as an editor, publisher, and as senior product manager for ProQuest LLC, a global information provider, and she is the co-founder of enskri, a white-label, digital gifting platform. She is the past president of the Nashville chapter and co-chair of the WNBA National Web site committee. Bebe holds a Master’s degree in information and library science. She participates in the Nashville chapter’s book discussion group and Nashville Reads.
Leslie Adams is a charter member and co-president of the Seattle Chapter. Retired from her career as a buyer, district and divisional manager, she is an active community volunteer. She has worked to support education for women and children through the Junior League of Seattle, P.E.O., PTA, Dollars for Scholars, and as president of Assistance League of the Eastside. She organized her first book group 25 years ago and is currently a member of two diverse groups.
Sonia Adams is an educator, literary scholar, poet, and cultural worker. Her areas of scholarship are Transnational Ethnic Women’s and American Multicultural Literatures, Contemporary Avant Garde Poetry and Poetics, and Creative Writing Studies. Her poetry explores the experiences of women from the African Diaspora. Sonia is currently working on a critical study of Australian Aboriginal, African, and Caribbean women’s writings as well as a poetry manuscript. She aspires to travel abroad and form partnerships with other writers and cultural workers.
Sally Brewster is the owner of the bookstore Park Road Books in Charlotte, N.C., past president of SIBA (Southern Independent Bookseller's Alliance), and a former Random House sales rep. As a bookseller, she works with the 60 book groups registered at her bookstore. Sally also sits on the board of SINC (Sisters-In-Crime). She is a current member and the former treasurer of the Charlotte Chapter.
Lori Feathers is a freelance book reviewer and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her reviews are published in World Literature Today, The Mookse and the Gripes, Rain Taxi, Three Percent, and Bookslut. Lori is vice president of the board of directors of Deep Vellum, a non-profit publisher of translated literary fiction and creative non-fiction, located near her home in Dallas, Texas. She has led many book club discussions over the years and writes staff recommendations for her local independent bookstore. Lori holds a B.A. in Russian from Penn State and M.A. and J.D. degrees from American University. She is in-house counsel for a Dallas-based company, and a network member of WNBA.
Beth Frerking is a high school librarian in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to that, she was a librarian in rural Alaska, serving schools in Iñupiat communities along the Arctic Ocean. She has master’s degrees in Library and Information Science and Secondary Education and has taught in Tennessee, Alaska, Arizona, and Tanzania. She is a past-president of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and a board member of the WNBA Nashville Chapter.
Lynn Henriksen is a past president of WNBA-San Francisco, a member of the California Writers Club–Marin, and is currently enjoying Face in a Book Club. She is the founder of “TellTale Souls,” an enterprise promoting writing memoir creatively through workshops, classes, and her award-winning guidebook, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit. As an intuitive leader, Lynn discovered a profound way to keep spirits alive after witnessing Alzheimer’s disease ravage her mother’s mind. By leading people to the writing path, she has helped hundreds capture the memories and feelings they never thought they could record.
Pauline Hsia is the treasurer of the WNBA New York City Chapter. Formerly, she was a literary agent assistant at DSM Agency, but currently works at a financial management company. She is exploring artistic expression in food, fashion, and other fulfilling passions through her co-created blog: Three Green Chairs. She is a member of the NYC Chapter.
Pat Klemans retired as the director of the Wayne County, Michigan, Public Library System. During her tenure, she particularly enjoyed interaction with patrons, and took every opportunity to discuss their reading choices and act as a reader’s advisor. In retirement, she is an active member of two book groups, and continues that love of matching book to reader. Pat was also Regional Librarian for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and a Board Member of Seedlings Braille Books for Children. She holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon Univ. and an A.M.L.S. from the Univ. of Michigan. She is a member and former president of the Detroit Chapter.
Kristen Knox has a Master’s degree in English Literature and is a former editor and bookseller and member of many book clubs, both virtual and offline. She maintains the blog BookNAround and is the owner of a Yahoo group called Readers Journal which allows readers to record what they read and discuss their reading with others. Kristen is the current president of the Charlotte Chapter.
Emily La Iacona is a director at a NYC-based non-profit that provides scholarships to low-income students. She graduated with honors from Cornell University with an English literature degree and earned her Masters at the London School of Economics. She is a life-long reader, active participant on Goodreads, and has been a part of many book clubs. This is her second year as a member of the New York City Chapter, whom she discovered at the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Carolyn Martin spent years as a volunteer parent and paid assistant in the Lake Washington School District with emphasis on reading and Explore Art programs. She now spends her time volunteering with nonprofits, such as P.E.O. and Assistance League of the Eastside, in an effort to improve conditions for women and children. She is a member of the Seattle Chapter and is in two reading groups.
Mary McCarthy has spent her life in the book business. Currently the Executive Director of Retail at Cokesbury (where she is also the senior book buyer) Mary has also held positions at Ingram (Director of the Large Publisher buying team) The Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop (C.O.O.), The Booksource (VP of sales), and The Library Ltd Bookstore (VP and General Manager). Mary started out at Kroch’s and Brentano’s where her father was the president and senior book buyer. Mary is in charge of the WNBA Author Breakfast at the Southern Festival of Books. She also has been a board member of Book’em, an organization that provides books to Nashville’s underserved schools, for five years. Mary is one of the Selection Committee Coordinators of Great Group Reads.
Sue McDanel, a network member of WNBA, is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where she majored in English. After teaching high school English, she returned to the University of North Texas as a teaching fellow in the English master’s degree program. A life-long reader, she shares books and discussions about books with a circle of friends and family. She retired after 15 years as an administrative assistant at an Episcopal church, where she currently co-teaches a mid-week class that includes reading and discussing books on a variety of spiritual topics.
Pamela Milam is a reader, author, and former therapist. She has a B.A. in English and Psychology as well as an MA in Counseling. She is the author of a book that takes a closer look at what happens inside the therapy office. Pamela writes articles for Rewire Me and enjoys supporting theatre and the arts. Pamela is a member of the New York City Chapter and is one of the Selection Committee Coordinators of Great Group Reads.
Naomi Milliner has reviewed hundreds of screenplays, novels and children’s books, and worked as Program & Events Coordinator for children’s literature. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s in Film and Screenwriting from USC Film School. She currently writes middle grade and young adult fiction, and is thrilled to be represented by Samantha Bremekamp of Corvisiero Literary Agency. Naomi is excited and grateful to be part of Great Group Reads for the 8th year in a row!
Deborah Milstein has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Lesley University. Her personal essays have been published in Harvard Review, The Drum, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and she freelances for the Harvard Business Review online (HBR.org). A member of Grub Street (Boston's writing center) and of the WBNA Boston chapter, she's thrilled to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the second year running.
Shelley Mitchell has been a voracious reader since the second grade. She writes grants for nonprofits throughout California and teaches grant writing for the Northern CA Association of Nonprofits. Shelley has a Master's degree in literature from Humboldt State University and currently teaches writing in the Natural Resources Department at HSU. When she has spare time, she writes fiction, which gives her the opportunity to use adjectives. She is a member of two book groups and the Los Angeles Chapter of WNBA.
Elissa Pugh-Arguello is a writer and former bookseller with a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing. She has also taught English in a variety of settings. She is a member of three reading groups, and tries to read and write as much as she can. Elissa is a member of the Nashville Chapter, and is excited to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the fifth year.
Rosalind Reisner is a former librarian and the author of Read On...Life Stories: Reading Lists for Every Taste and Jewish American Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests. She writes about books and reading on her blog A Readers Place. She was the first Great Group Reads Coordinator and is a member of the New York City chapter of the WNBA.
Linda Rosen is one of the Selection Committee Coordinators of Great Group Reads. She is a fitness professional and budding novelist, blogs as The Literary Leotard, weaving her professional expertise with her love of literature. She is the founding member of her book club, ongoing for over 25 years. In addition to her blog, she has a website for her fiction http://www.linda-rosen.com. Her unpublished novel, Flourish, was a semi-finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Linda is a member of the New York City chapter where she chairs the Hospitality Committee.
Rachel Slaiman is a freelance magazine writer with an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. Her two passions in life are reading and writing. She is excited to be a part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee to put into action her belief that everyone should always be reading something. She has been an active member of the New York City Chapter since June 2010.
Lois Van Stipdonk is a past president of the Detroit Chapter of WNBA and past National Secretary of the WNBA. She is the retired director of the Wayne (MI) Public Library and presently serves as a trustee of The Library Network, the library cooperative serving most of southeast Michigan. She enjoys reading many types of books and belongs to two reading groups.
Rachelle Yousuf is a graduate student in English Literature at California State University, Northridge and the current president of the Los Angeles Chapter. She also works as the membership assistant for PEN Center USA and is an editorial intern at Rare Bird Lit, an independent press in Los Angeles. This is her fourth year on the Great Group Reads Selection Committee.
Marika Zemke holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences and works as the Adult Services Manager at a public library in Michigan, where Reader’s Advisory is her passion. Marika facilitates three book groups through her work as a librarian, including a Pre-Pub club. She is currently on hiatus from reviewing fiction for Library Journal. She is a current member of the WNBA Detroit Chapter.
NRGM Featured Books — 2015