The member diversity in the WNBA makes our goal of connecting, educating, advocating, and leading possible. As bookwomen, we believe “Books Have Power.” The Bookwoman welcomes Linda Rosen (South Florida), the WNBA’s National Recording Secretary, to the “Power behind the WNBA” interview series!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m proud to be the National Recording Secretary for our great organization. Originally, I joined the New York City chapter and was quickly recruited as Hospitality Chair as well as an initial reader for Great Group Reads (GGR) where, for the past four years, I’ve held the post of Co-Coordinator of the Selection Committee.
In 2014, when my husband and I became “snow birds,” to south Florida, I desperately needed to stay connected with the organization during the winter months. So, along with Andrea Baron, I started a chapter there and recently switched my affiliation, though I won’t break my bond with NYC. As co-founder, I sit on the South Florida board and assist with programming and whatever else is needed. Along with my roles in the Women’s National Book Association, I am a fitness professional and writer. My blog, The Literary Leotard, weaves my professional expertise with my love of literature.
Why did you join the WNBA?
I think it was eight years ago, when I was participating in an online writers’ group, a fellow writer realized I lived in the NYC vicinity and suggested I join WNBA-NYC. Taking her advice, I went to a “Neighborhood Lunch” and was hooked. The benefits of membership are enormous. I have made many new friends from across the country, formed a writers’ group, was invited to write sidebars for Women in the Literary Landscape, and proudly participated in Centennial programs related to the book, in addition to expanding my personal library from GGR submissions and becoming a faster reader.
I’m constantly recruiting new members, and the biggest benefit I share is networking—making friends with women of like-mind and expanding their horizons.
One might think it a stretch for how WNBA would benefit me in my career as a fitness professional, yet it definitely has. Whether working privately with a client or teaching a group exercise class, talking books is always a plus. Conversation can’t only be about the benefits of exercises, posture, strength, balance. Clients love to be hear about upcoming titles and debut authors, events I’ve attended and authors I’ve met. Some have even come with me to National Reading Group Month programs. Being a member of WNBA has made me a more interesting person.
What value does the promotion of books bring to your community?
Thankfully, both towns I live in, in New Jersey and Florida, have wonderful libraries with terrific programs, and what better institution is there to promote books, connect us with our history, and expand our minds? When I was in Charlotte for the WNBA Annual Meeting last June, two quotes carved in stone on the city’s library grabbed me.
The first by Henry Ward Beecher: “It is a man’s duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.”
And from Toni Morrison: “Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this mission.”
Both say it better than I ever could.
Share a book that has had a lasting impression on you and why?
Whenever I’m asked this question or something similar, my choice goes right to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson. My mother gave me this wonderful story to read when I was about ten years old. I wish I could remember if we sat cuddled up reading it together, or if I read it on my own. Nevertheless, this sweet story with its fascinating characters and setting on the moors of Yorkshire England made me a voracious reader. Later on, I introduced a friend’s daughter to Mary, Dickon, and Colin, and just today, she told me that this engaging story contributed to her love of reading. Several years ago, I used the book when I tutored for Project Literacy, and I continue to recommend it to young readers.
Interview compiled by assistant editor Pam Ebel (New Orleans).