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Great Group Reads

Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2014

Readers' bios

Bebe (Sarah) Brechner is the Great Group Reads Coordinator. 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 digital gifting platform. She is the 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 Vice President of the Seattle Chapter. Retired from her career as a retail 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. She is a member of the New York City chapter.

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 also on the board of SINC (Sisters-In-Crime). She is a current member and the former treasurer of the Charlotte chapter.

Beth Frerking is a high school librarian in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to that appointment, 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 the past-president of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and a member of the Nashville chapter.

Lynn Henriksen is a past president of WNBA-San Francisco Chapter and a member of the California Writers Club–Marin. 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.

Pat Klemans is 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 BFA from Carnegie Mellon Univ. and an AMLS from the Univ. of Michigan. She is a member and former president of the Detroit chapter.

Kristen Knox has a Masters degree in English Literature and 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. 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 WNBA, whom she discovered at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Emily is a member of the New York City chapter.

Kate Lyons is a freelance technical writer based in Charlotte, N.C., who does not remember a time when she did not know how to read. In addition to a B.A. in Foreign Languages from the University of Notre Dame, she also has her Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). Her diverse work experience ranges from serving as a library page to teaching English in Malaysia; that experience also encompasses varied human resources positions, qualitative marketing research, and inventory control for a textile company. While Borders Books & Music still existed, she handled special orders for its Charlotte location. Kate is the founding member of a book group which has been meeting for over 15 years, and has been a member of two other book clubs.

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 WNBA’s sponsored National Reading Group Month’s Coffee with Authors at the Southern Festival of Books in 2014. She also has served for five years on the board of Book’em — an organization that provides books to Nashville’s underserved schools. Mary is a member of the Nashville chapter.

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 Masters 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. Sue is affiliated with the New York City chapter.

Pamela Milam a New York member of the WNBA, is a reader, author, and therapist living part time in Manhattan and in Dallas. She has a BA in English and Psychology as well as an MA in Counseling. She is the author of a book which takes a closer look at what happens inside the therapy office. Pamela serves on the board and executive committee of Community Partners of Dallas, offering support to abused and neglected children and writes articles for Rewire Me. She is a member of the Association for Creativity in Counseling, Counselors for Social Justice, and the Association for Humanistic Counseling and Development.

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 YA fiction, and is this close to being published (or so she keeps being told). Naomi is excited to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the sixth year. She is a member of the Washington, D.C., chapter.

Deborah Milstein has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Lesley University. Her personal essays have been published in Harvard ReviewThe Drum, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and she freelances for the Harvard Business Review online ( 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 first time.

Lorine Kritzer Pergament has an MFA in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University. She 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-club facilitator, and budding playwright. She is a member of the Washington, D.C., chapter and the Book Review Editor of Signature, the chapter's newsletter. She writes the blog, Pergamentations 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 Nashville chapter, and is excited to be part of the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for the fourth 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 and belongs to two reading groups. She was the first Great Group Reads Coordinator and is a member of the New York City chapter.

Quressa Robinson, book devourer and editorial assistant at one of the big six publishers, holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. You can find her musings on books, creative writing, and other word-related tidbits at and random tweets @qnrisawesome. She is a member of the New York City chapter.

Linda Rosen, is the Selection Committee Coordinator. 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. 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.

Rayme Waters is the author of the novel The Angels’ Share and the short story collection The Island of Misfit Girls. She studied at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University and before she turned to writing full-time worked at Apple, Jossey-Bass Publishers as an acquisitions editor, and as a tutor for low-income students. Rayme's short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart prize and the Dzanc Best of the Web Award. Rayme belongs to a close-knit book club which includes several authors and has attended many other reading groups when her novel or story collection is the current pick. She is a member of the San Francisco chapter. Her website is

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 a technical writer and a YA literature reviewer for an online journal. She has co-edited an anthology of motherhood poems that was released in 2012. This is her third 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 member of the 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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