Each year, WNBA members from across the country have the opportunity to be readers for Great Group Reads. The 2020 Great Group Reads selection committee was comprised of 42 members who dedicated their time from February through July to reading books submitted by over 140 publishers and imprints.
A diverse group of readers, the Great Group Reads selection committee featured members from all 12 WNBA chapters who are from a variety of professions and backgrounds, all united by a passion for books and shared reading.
2020 Great Group Reads Selection Committee
Leslie Adams (WNBA-Network)
Leslie Adams is a past-president of WNBA-Seattle. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Environment and Design and is retired from her retail career as a buyer, district, and divisional manager.
As an active community volunteer, Leslie has worked to support education for women and children through the Junior League of Seattle, PEO, PTA, Dollars for Scholars, and as president of the Assistance League of the Eastside. She organized her first book group 25 years ago, and is currently a member of two thought-provoking groups.
Sonia Adams (WNBA-NYC)
Sonia Adams is an English Studies educator, researcher, and poet. Her literary interests include Global and American Multicultural Literatures and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. Currently, Sonia is at work on her dissertation, focusing on women writers of color from Australia, England, and Canada. She aspires to travel overseas and collaborate on scholarly projects with educational and cultural institutions.
Kathy Allen (WNBA-Charlotte)
Kathy Allen is an avid, lifelong reader, mother of two teenagers, and accounting and finance professional. She’s a member of the Charlotte chapter of the WNBA and a local Charlotte book social. As a community volunteer, Kathy has championed early childhood literacy and education, the arts, and, of course, the local library.
Lindsey Boettinger (WNBA-New Orleans)
Lindsey Boettinger is a pediatric occupational therapist at a French immersion school in New Orleans, assisting children who have special learning needs. Her previous career was as a case manager and educator for persons with experiences in armed conflicts and forced migration in the United States and Cairo, Egypt.
A new member of the Women’s National Book Association New Orleans Chapter, she has long been turning to books for solace, self-expansion, and community. She enjoys volunteering, painting, and traveling. Linsdey is also a member of two book groups.
Virginia Brackett (WNBA-Network)
Virginia Brackett, Professor Emeritus of English, retired in 2016 from Park University where she directed the Honors Academy.
Her love for reading began around the age of five, and she has since then continuously promoted the value of reading books. She served for three years as treasurer of the Missouri Center for the Book and as a discussion facilitator for Planting the Oar. She serves on the Kansas City Veterans Writing Team and has participated in various writing workshops and a monthly writing critique group for veterans and their families.
Virginia has published 16 books and more than 125 articles, stories, and blog entries for children and adults.
Stephanie Braunstein (WNBA-South Florida)
Stephanie Braunstein recently retired as the head of Government Documents and Microforms at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Middleton Library. She taught Government Information as an adjunct at LSU’s School of Library Science on campus and also via their online program. Along with her Masters in Library and Information Science Degree (MLIS), she has a second Masters in English (MA) and was an instructor in Composition and Literature at the college level for several years in California.
In addition to her professional writings in scholarly journals and monographs, she has published book reviews for the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper. In order to keep herself grounded in “writing for writing’s sake,” she is a life-long poet; and her poetry has been published in several anthologies.
Bebe Brechner (WNBA-Nashville)
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner is a longtime member of WNBA and has served in various capacities including as president of the Nashville Chapter and on the national board as vice president, website chair, and development chair. She is a librarian and has worked in the information industry for over 25 years, serving academic and public libraries around the world.
Sally Brewster (WNBA-Charlotte)
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 the former treasurer of the Charlotte chapter.
Holly Bullis (WNBA-Charlotte)
Holly Bullis is a writer. Her personal essays have been published in Writing Class Radio, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and She Explores podcast. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in Biology and English. She’s thrilled to be part of Great Group Reads, reading books by women, about women, and for women.
Sheila Cork (WNBA-New Orleans)
Sheila Cork is the Librarian at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Twenty years of reference work and book purchasing in public libraries has made her familiar with many different styles and genres of writing.
Cork belongs to the following book clubs and literary organizations: The Ladies of the Club, Slidell, LA; Les Amies Du Livre, The Greater New Orleans Area; The NOMA Book Club at the New Orleans Museum of Art (Founder and organizer); and the Jane Austen Society of North America, Louisiana.
Sarah Hahn Denham (WNBA-Metro Atlanta)
Sarah Denham is the president of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the WNBA. When she is not busy being a high school teacher; hanging out with her husband, baby daughter, and pets; planning author events; reading as many books as she can; or running the chapter, she is working on two personal projects.
First, she is editing her first novel (written during NaNoWriMo 2019) and finishing her second one. Second, Sarah is busy with her blog, Older Than I Thought, which focuses on her life dealing with PCOS, fertility problems, going through the adoption process, and becoming a new mother in her late 30s.
Nancy Dickinson (WNBA-Nashville)
Nancy Dickinson is a retired elementary school librarian whose favorite pastime has been reading, especially fiction, for longer than she can remember. She’s currently serving as Membership Chair of the WNBA Nashville Chapter and is on the Primary Grades Committee for the Volunteer State Book Award. She’s a past president of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and has also served on the board of the American Association of School Librarians. A member of three book groups, Nancy can’t wait to share these books with her friends!
Pat D’Innocenzo (WNBA-Greater Philadelphia)
Patricia D’Innocenzo is the vice president of the WNBA’s Greater Philadelphia chapter. She is semi-retired after more than thirty-five years in the investment business as an equity trader. She holds an MBA in Finance from St. Joseph’s University, and she has recently started working on another degree. She currently creates retirement plans and assembles investment reviews for clients. She is a judge for the SIFMA Foundation InvestWrite essay contest teaching school children the ins-and-outs of investing.
Eileen T. Donovan (WNBA-NYC)
Eileen’s personal background is quite varied. She has worked in magazine publishing, advertising, and education. She’s also owned two pubs. Although she has lived in New York City, upstate New York, Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, her home is now back in New York.
She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Association. Her historical fiction, Promises, based on the plight of two children evacuees in 1940 was released in July 2019. She is currently working on another historical novel based on the adventures of a woman reporter in 1944 Montana.
Ruth Garcia-Corrales (WNBA-LA)
Ruth Garcia is the CEO of Canterbury Business Center, a business development company. Ruth attended the University of Costa Rica, graduating as an engineer and later was appointed Consul General of Costa Rica for the U.S. West Coast. Following her Consulate years, she became the Advertising and Marketing Manager for Curacao.
Ruth is the co-author of What It Takes . . . from $20 to $200 Million: Jerry Azarkman’s memoir. Ruth has proved her expertise as Executive Director for the VEDC Women’s Business Center and volunteer President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Association of Women. She’s a current board member for Women’s National Book Association and the former President for SoCal AFCI Association for Creative Industries.
Lori E. Green (WNBA-New Orleans)
Lori E. Green is a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Denison University and master’s degree in library science from Kent State University. Always searching for interesting stories and good conversation, she started and/or joined book clubs in the three states where she has lived: Ohio, Louisiana and Alabama. A member of WNBA-New Orleans, she recently relocated to Ohio.
Lynn Henriksen (WNBA-San Francisco)
Lynn Henriksen is a past president of WNBA-San Francisco 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.
Jennifer Holmes (WNBA-LA)
Jennifer Holmes is the moderator for the Bookwoman Book Club, which reads books solely from the Great Group Reads lists, and she is the vice president of the Los Angeles chapter. She runs the Orange County Chapter of The Girly Book Club as well as her own book club, The Bookish Ladies Book Club, and reads and reviews for Bedside Reading. She has her own blog and guest blogs for a few others. Her favorite thing to do is travel and visit independent bookstores wherever she goes.
Janice Kehler (WNBA-Network)
Janice P. Kehler, PT, MSc, MA has over 30 years of health care experience both as a clinician and as an academic working in both Canada and the US. In 2006, Jan completed a master’s degree in Health Journalism and since that time has published creative nonfiction essays in a variety of media outlets.
She is currently working on a historical fiction novel that explores the impact of the discovery of the stethoscope on children and adults with rheumatic heart disease.
Sally Kim (WNBA-San Francisco)
Sally Kim is a long-time publishing executive with experience working at Macmillan, Penguin, Chronicle Books, and Callisto Media. Based in San Francisco, Sally consults for publishing clients around the world including Bayard, Hardie Grant, Chronicle Books, and Room to Read.
Kristen Knox (WNBA-Charlotte)
Kristen Knox has a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Connecticut and is a former editor and bookseller. She is a member and founder of many book clubs, both virtual and in person. She maintains the blog, BookNAround. For several years, she served as a first-round reader for the WNBA Writing Contest. Kristen is a past president of WNBA-Charlotte and is the Great Group Reads Chair.
Pamela Marino (Greater Philadelphia)
Carolyn Martin (WNBA-San Francisco)
Carolyn Martin spent years as a volunteer parent and paid assistant in the Lake Washington School District with an emphasis on reading and Explore Art programs. She now spends her time volunteering with nonprofits, such as PEO and Assistance League of the Eastside, in an effort to improve conditions for women and children. She is a member of the San Francisco Chapter and is in two reading groups.
Katy McCoy (WNBA-Charlotte)
Katy McCoy lives in San Diego with her husband and their three dogs. After earning a BA in Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School, she worked for McGraw-Hill Education writing and editing elementary grade reading textbooks. Since leaving the textbook industry, Katy has volunteered to improve literacy and writing skills for children and adults.
Sue McDanel (WNBA-Network)
Sue McDanel 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.
Pamela Milam (WNBA-NYC)
Pamela Milam serves as a Great Group Reads Selection Committee Member and first-round reader. She reads and reviews submissions for Creative Nonfiction Magazine, True Story Magazine, and has assisted with the upcoming Brain, Child Anthology.
She has worked as a writer, served on nonprofit boards, and is a former therapist. She has a BA in English and Psychology as well as an MA in Counseling. Pamela writes articles for Rewire Me and Spirituality and Health Magazine.
Naomi Milliner (WNBA-DC)
Naomi Milliner has reviewed hundreds of screenplays and novels, and she has been part of Great Group Reads since 2009. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Masters in Film and Screenwriting from USC Film School. Her debut middle grade novel, Super Jake and the King of Chaos came out May 2019. Naomi looks forward to finding more “great” books this year!
Deborah Milstein (WNBA-Boston)
Deborah Milstein is a writer and editor. Her personal essays have been published in The Boston Globe Magazine, Harvard Review, and The Drum, and she holds an MFA in creative nonfiction. She is delighted to be a part of Great Group Reads for the seventh year running.
Shelley Mitchell (WNBA-LA)
Shelley Mitchell writes grants for nonprofits throughout California and reviews grants for several organizations. She has a master’s degree in literature from Humboldt State. In 2016, after 46 years on the rural north coast of California, Shelley retired from teaching and moved to the southern CA desert, where she has become an active volunteer and pickleball player.
When she has spare time, Shelley writes fiction, which gives her the opportunity to use adjectives. She is a member of three book groups.
María Ochoa (WNBA-San Francisco)
María Ochoa’s work as a writer has always included visual art elements. Publications include the books Russell City: Images of America, a pictorial history of a rural community; Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence, an edited volume of written and visual narratives; Creative Collectives: Chicana Painters in Community, an oral history of Chicanx visual artists; and her essays, poetics, and reviews are found in academic and literary publications.
María’s current work is in the form of what she calls pedestrian photography, documenting everyday people and places, which she places in conversation with short stories and poems that she’s written. Under the supervision of Angela Y. Davis, she earned a doctorate at the University of California Santa Cruz, and holds the title Professor Emerita San José State University Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
Peggy O’Neal Peden (WNBA-Nashville)
Peggy O’Neal Peden grew up in Middle Tennessee and has lived in and around Nashville most of her life, except for a couple of years in graduate school and a few more in another southern music city, Memphis. Peggy has taught English and writing at the high school levels, has owned a travel agency, and written award-winning advertising copy.
She is published in regional magazines and was commissioned to write a book on Nashville’s annual outdoor Shakespeare-in-the-Park festival production of the Scottish play. Peggy’s first novel, Your Killin’ Heart, was published in 2017. Peggy has a BA, magna cum laude, from Lipscomb University, and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.
Rebecca Oppenheimer (WNBA-DC)
Rebecca Oppenheimer is a brand-new member of the WNBA-DC and could not be more excited to be part of Great Group Reads! Rebecca is a former buyer at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore (2012-2017) and Kramerbooks in DC (2017-2019), and has been a freelance book reviewer for over a decade. One of her proudest professional achievements is getting her favorite quarter-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012 all the way to the top spot. In addition to WNBA, Rebecca volunteers with National History Day at the University of Maryland.
Katharine Phenix (WNBA-Network)
Katharine Phenix retired from anythink libraries after 30 years in the profession. Her passion is readers advisory, that is, finding the right book for the right person at the right time. She has served on several American Library Association book award committees, most recently the Carnegie Award for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, Notable Books Council, and Sophie Brody Award. She facilitated three book clubs during her tenure as a public librarian in Colorado, one of which was a “Novel Conversations” group that read titles in a particular genre or fiction dealing with a particular topic. Katharine is currently working on citations for the Novelist database, and volunteering for BookGive.
Susan Phillips (WNBA-Greater Philadelphia)
Susan Phillips has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware. In addition to working full-time as a transportation planner, she works at the Towne Book Center and can often be found helping NAIBA at their annual conference. In addition to being an avid reader, she enjoys working with a local elementary school to encourage and empower young girls to embrace careers in STEM fields. She is committed to a life of learning and sharing the gift of literacy.
Elissa Pugh (WNBA-Nashville)
Elissa is a teacher, mother, and lover of words who resides in Nashville, TN. She is returning to the Great Group Reads selection committee after a brief break.
Maripat Quinn (WNBA-Charlotte)
Maripat is a native New Yorker, now living in Charlotte, NC. She first published poetry at age 12. She’s written books on tea, international etiquette, cross-cultural differences, and cultural orientations. Maripat worked in public relations and international public relations, writing many hundreds of articles, press releases, white papers, speeches, publicity, and coordinating many events & conferences. She’s helped international students, professors, new immigrants, and doctoral students on cultural matters and was a foster mom to many newborns as well as working part-time as a liberal wedding minister.
She has several master’s degrees, including in education and comparative religions. She earned her Ph.D. in cross-cultural communications. She’s recently gone back to public speaking to help people better recognize and understand cultural differences, which helps to bridge the chasm from hate/fear/ignorance to interaction/information/understanding.
Dr. Anne Marie Radke (WNBA-Charlotte)
Dr. Anne Marie Radke is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and widow. She’s also a member of Mensa, teacher, principal, student, and staff advocate who has spent over 28 years as an educator, lover of life and literature, and voracious reader of the written word.
Linda Rosen (WNBA-South Florida)
Linda Rosen, fitness professional and novelist, is one of the Great Group Reads selection committee coordinators . Her debut novel, The Disharmony of Silence, has been published by Black Rose Writing. Linda has also had short stories published in on-line magazines and in print. On her blog, The Literary Leotard, she weaves her professional expertise with her love of literature. She is the founding member of her book club, ongoing for over 25 years, selection chair for her community’s book club, founder of WNBA-South Florida, and national recording secretary of WNBA.
Rachel Slaiman (WNBA-NYC)
Rachel Slaiman is a reader, writer, and editor with an MS in Publishing from Pace University. She is an active member of the NYC chapter serving as co-recording Secretary; copy editor for the Bookwoman Newsletter, the National WNBA newsletter; co-chair of the NYC chapter’s Brooklyn Book Festival Committee; and a reader for the Great Group Reads committee. Her day job gives plenty of time to hone her business writing skills, while her free time is spent editing manuscripts and diving into a good book. A fun fact: she and her husband traveled to 12 states in 12 months as part of a monthly anniversary gift to each other. She is writing a book that documents their journey.
Lois VanStipdonk (WNBA-Network)
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.
Dorothy Vaughn (WNBA-Nashville)
Dorothy Vaughn is a retired career State of Tennessee Information Systems Analyst. She worked for the following agencies: Mental Health, Correction, and Finance and Administration. Dorothy has a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University and a master’s from Lipscomb University. Dorothy enjoys gardening, travels with family, and reads all the time. She volunteers weekly at her local branch library and also assists at the Main Library’s Salon 615 events for visiting wonderful authors on their book tours to Nashville. She enjoys attending a book discussions group at another branch library in the city.
Amy Lyles Wilson (WNBA-Nashville)
Amy Lyles Wilson, MA, MTS, believes it is the sharing of our stories that saves us. A native of Mississippi who calls Nashville home, Amy works as a story coach and spiritual director. She has thirty years of professional experience in the world of words: writer, editor, magazine columnist, blogger, and co-author/contributor to eight books. Her essay “The Guts to Keep Going” was featured on National Public Radio. Amy has served as an adjunct professor and writer-in-residence at the Earlham School of Religion.
She leads workshops and retreats across the South, as well as at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. She is a trained spiritual director (Haden Institute), a certified facilitator of both Amherst Writers and Artists and SoulCollage® workshops, and holds degrees in English, journalism, and theology.
Become a Reader
If you would like to be a reader for 2021’s list, you must be a member of the WNBA in good standing. You can join or renew your membership now.
A call for readers will go out through the Bookwoman, so make sure you are signed up.