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Great Group Reads

Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2012

Readers' bios

Rosalind Reisner, GGR Coordinator, 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 speaks and writes about books and reading and maintains the blog A Reader's Place. She belongs to two reading groups and is a member of the WNBA-NYC Chapter.

Leslie Adams is a charter member and vice president of the WNBA-Seattle Chapter. Retired from her career as a retail buyer, district manager 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, the Assistance League of the Eastside, P.E.O., PTA and Dollars for Scholars. She joined her first book group 25 years ago and is currently a member of two diverse groups.

Caroline Bock, a member of the WNBA-NYC Chapter, is the author of the debut young adult novel LIE, published by St. Martin's Press in 2011. She recently completed her MFA in Fiction at The City College of New York and is currently an adjunct lecturer there in the English and Mass Communication Arts departments. Prior to focusing on her writing, she led the marketing and public relations teams at Bravo cable network and at The Independent Film Channel. She is a founding member of her local book club, as well as an active volunteer in her son and daughter's Parent-Teacher Associations, especially on any efforts concerning reading, writing and books.

Bebe (Sarah) Brechner holds a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences and works as a senior product manager for ProQuest LLC, a global library information provider. She is the president of the WNBA-Nashville Chapter, Web site manager for the chapter, and co-chair of the WNBA National Web site committee. At ProQuest, she has developed, managed, and marketed literature, performing arts, and historical research databases for academic and public libraries. Her current focus is on resources for ethnic and gender studies, political science, and general reference. She participates in the WNBA-Nashville Chapter book discussion group and a local reading group.

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. She is a current member and the former treasurer of the WNBA-Charlotte Chapter.

Fran Cohen is a scholar-facilitator for the New York Council for the Humanities, writer, lecturer, and professional book group leader with a background in education, drama and writing. She has presented programs in educational settings, at conferences, to organizations, libraries, at destination spas, and on cruises. She is a member of the WNBA-NYC Chapter.

Marsha Toy Engstrom coaches and facilitates numerous book clubs. She also pens a book column for The Wildwood Independent, writes on all-things-book-club on her Web site Book Club Cheerleader — and its twin blog — and is working on her first book, Celebrate Book Clubs! Marsha serves as the Author Event Coordinator for her local Carnegie Library, is a team-member for her hometown's One City, One Book program, and recently spoke as a panelist for BEA's Book Club Facilitators Speak Out. She is a member of the WNBA-San Francisco Chapter and the National Book Critics Circle.

Lynn Henriksen is the immediate past president of WNBA-San Francisco Chapter and a member of the California Writers Club–Marin. She teaches workshops on writing the "mother memoir," and has spent the past decade helping hundreds capture character and spirit with memories and feelings they never thought they could record. Book reviews of fiction and nonfiction are found on her blog The Story Woman where her main thrust leads ordinary people to the writing path. She is the author of TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory & Write Your Story, April 2012.

Mitta Isley has been a research librarian for over 20 years in corporate and public libraries in North Carolina and Chicago. She volunteers with several organizations addressing food and shelter issues for people in crisis. Mitta has been a member of several book groups, the longest running of which, finding it easier to agree on what to eat than what to read, gave in to being a nontraditional group that meets to share their individual reads. She is a member of the WNBA-Charlotte Chapter.

Kristen Knox is a former editor and bookseller and member of many book clubs, both virtual and online. 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. She is the secretary of the WNBA-Charlotte Chapter.

Michele Leber is a retired librarian who worked most recently in collection management at the Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia. She is a long-time book reviewer for Library Journal and Booklist and was named the Library Journal Reviewer of the Year for Fiction in 1997, the first year the award was given. A charter member of a WNBA-based book group formed in 1994, she is a member of the WNBA-Washington, D.C. Chapter and was National Secretary of the WNBA.

Rachel Manwill is a current Masters student in George Washington University's Graduate Publishing program. She blogs about books at A Home Between Pages. She is also a founding contributor for Book Riot, a growing and well-respected literary blog. Rachel also earned a graduate certificate in Children's Literature from Penn State University, and as an undergrad at Hamilton College, served as the Editor-in-Chief for the campus literary magazine. A former bookseller, she currently works as a Senior Editor for PR Newswire and is a member of the WNBC-Washington, D.C. Chapter.

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 WNBA-Seattle Chapter and is in two reading groups.

Jeanne (JC) Miller is the author of On the Brink of Nora, originally published by Redwood Writers. Her novel, Vacation, has been accepted by Last Light Studio and scheduled for release in 2013. She holds an MA in education, National Board Certification in English language arts, and is a founding member of JAM, a community of writers offering writing workshops and manuscript consultation. She has been accepted to the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program and plans to attend next fall. Her Web site is JC Miller Writer. She is a member of the WNBA-San Francisco Chapter.

Naomi Milliner has reviewed novels, screenplays, and children's books, and worked as Program & Events Coordinator for Children's Literature. A long-time active member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), she currently serves as Critique Coordinator for the MD/DE/WV region. She also created the ABC (Author Book Club) series, in which local children's book writers and/or illustrators discuss the challenges and creative process involved with their latest (or first!) publication. She is excited to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the fourth year.

Shelley Mitchell has been a voracious reader since the second grade. She is currently the Director of United States Servas, the U.S. affiliate of an international nonprofit that promotes peace through home-stays in 130 countries. She also writes grants for nonprofits throughout California. Shelley has a master's degree in literature from Humboldt State University and currently teaches grant proposal 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 WNBA-San Francisco Chapter.

Lorine Kritzer Pergament is the author of several short stories and a novel inspired by her grandmother's experience as a survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911. She is also a winner of the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest, a book reviewer, book-club facilitator, and budding playwright. She is a member of the WNBA-Washington, D.C. Chapter and blogs at

Elissa Pugh-Arguello is a writer and former bookseller with a master's degree in English and Creative Writing. She teaches ESL to Sudanese women through the Southern Sudanese Youth Connection. Elissa is also an early childhood educator and adjunct instructor of English. She is a member of three reading groups and blogs about a little bit of everything at Green Moon Rising. Elissa is a member of the WNBA-Nashville Chapter, and is excited to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the second year.

Liz Ropers worked in the Lawrence, Long Island school district for over 30 years, during which time she was instrumental in the increased use of literature in classrooms. Presently, Liz is a literary consultant. She leads book discussion groups, presents book reviews and teaches in-service courses on writing and reading. She is a member of the WNBA-NYC Chapter.

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.

Natalie Wasmer is an award-winning advertising writer at Publicist Dallas who enjoys reading, running and practicing yoga in her spare time. Natalie attended the BFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College where she was an editor for Guideword, The Literary Arts Journal of Goddard College. Recently she received Honorable Mention for a short story she submitted to the 77th Annual Writer's Digest competition. She is a member of the WNBA-Los Angeles Chapter.

Rachelle Yousuf is a recent college graduate from California State University, Northridge and the current secretary of the WNBA-LA Chapter. She also works with the chapter president as an intern for her literary publicist company. She is co-editing an anthology of motherhood poems, to be released later this year. Rachelle is pursuing her Master's degree in Literature at California State University, Northridge and is looking forward to rediscovering her love of discussing books through the GGR program.

Marika Zemke holds a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences and works as an Adult Services Librarian 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.

Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2009
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2010
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2011
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2012
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2013
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2014
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2015
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2016

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National Reading Group Month Signature Event

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