Coffee with Authors – 2017

It is time for a favorite event of the year for book lovers, Southern Festival of Books, brought to you by one of our favorites, Humanities Tennessee.  Here’s another favorite, our Coffee with Authors event, co-sponsored with the Nashville Public Library, so get your reservations in early.  The event is Saturday, October 14 starting at 9:30 at the Nashville Public Library Auditorium. Check-in and coffee are from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Please check our National Reading Group Month page for more information.


WNBA Second Century Prize to Little Free Library

In November of 1917, a group of women booksellers gathered at Sherwood’s Bookstore in New York City to form an organization of women active in all aspects of the book world. Having been shut out of the all-male American Booksellers Association and the Booksellers’ League, the women connected, educated, and advocated for themselves, and the Women’s National Book Association was born.

One of the signature programs of our Centennial is the awarding of the WNBA Second Century Prize, a $5,000 grant to an organization that supports the power of reading, past, present, and into the future. The one-time cash award will be given to the Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that promotes reading for all ages, but especially children, by building free book exchanges.

Under the guidance of Second Century Prize co-chairs Mary Grey James and Susan Larson, nominations for the prize came from WNBA chapters throughout the country. A committee chose Little Free Library (LFL) based on its grassroots organization, which has impacted thousands of readers of all ages and backgrounds. LFL embodies the goals of the Women’s National Book Association by promoting literacy and the love of reading.

Little Free Library was founded in Hudson, Wisconsin, by Todd Bol to honor his mother, a school teacher. In just eight years the organization has become an international movement of mini-libraries sharing the message of “give one, take one.” LFL has over 50,000 libraries in 70+ countries with millions of books exchanged annually.

No longer known only for its charming small libraries placed in front yards and public spaces, it continuously develops new initiatives. The WNBA particularly applauds the LFL’s new Kids, Community, and Cops program, which helps police departments set up book exchanges in their precincts, and Action Book ClubTM, which encourages social engagement through shared reading—a commitment that resonates with the WNBA’s own National Reading Group Month program.

“This means so much,” said Todd Bol, creator and executive director of Little Free Library. “Little Free Library is about 90 percent women, so it really is a women’s movement, supporting friends and family and community.”

Coffee with Authors 2016

The annual Coffee with Authors event was held Saturday morning during the Southern Festival of Books at the Nashville Public Library. Seated below are authors Curtis Sittenfeld Eligible; Danielle Dutton Margaret the First; Adam Haslett Imagine Me Gone; Yaa Gyasi Homegoing; and moderator Mary Laura Philpott. (photo credit: Kay Tyler) Those in attendance received Book Bags filled with several books plus other book-related goodies.


Southern Festival of Books – WNBA Booth

sfob-booth-2016-1Be sure to check out our booth at the Southern Festival of Books this weekend (October 14 – 16). We have some great book-related items for sale, plus information about our organization. And some of our Nashville members will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Hope to see you there!




(Photo by Kay Tyler)

Great Group Reads Selections – 2016

Great Group Reads LogoThe Great Group Reads Selections for 2016 have been announced. Check out the list on the National Reading Group Month website.



Monthly Meeting, Thursday, September 8

SFB_2016Please join us Thursday, September 8 at Jonathan’s Grille in Green Hills for our annual presentation of authors to check out at the Southern Festival of Books. Gail Vinett, the immediate past president of the WNBA Nashville chapter, will discuss programs and authors you won’t want to miss. The program starts at 6:00 and is free and open to the public. Arrive early to network with members and guests, starting at 5:00. Meals and beverages are available for purchase if desired. 

Great Group Reads 2015

Great Group Reads LogoThe following information on the Great Group Reads selections for 2015 is provided by Liberty Schauf, the Women’s National Book Association, New York Chapter Blog Editor.



All My PAll My Puny Sorrowsuny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
(McSweeney’s, TP 978-1940450711)
This novel is an honest, compassionate story about sisters and what it feels like to love someone who is determined to take her own life. This book takes a clear-eyed look at devotion, jealousy, and depression, examining right-to-die issues and what it means to be family.

More about: McSweeney’sAll My Puny Sorrows

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir by Shulem DeenAll Who Go Do Not Return
(Graywolf Press, TP 978-1555977054)
A courageous memoir about faith, doubt, freedom, and hope from the author, raised in one of the most restrictive Hasidic Jewish communities. From his arranged marriage at eighteen and subsequent parenthood, to his transgressions which led to his questioning of the faith, he details his painful pathway to integrity.

More about: Graywolf PressAll Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

The Book of Strange New ThingsThe Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
(Hogarth, TP 978-0553418866)
Peter is a Christian pastor who goes to proselytize a community of earthlings and another race on a distant planet. The inventive story is an elegant device for a meditation on faith, the profundity of life, the communication of love, and a multitude of contemplative concepts. The work is intelligent, genre-bending, and full of provocative questions.

More about: HogarthThe Book of Strange New Things

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Call Me Home by Megan KruseCall Me Home
(Hawthorne Books, TP 978-0990437000)
Three distinct voices are woven together with depth and compassion in a story about family, individual decisions, and what it means to be home. Kruse explores love, betrayal, family bonds, domestic violence, and hope, even false hope, asking us all to consider how we love, and why we make the choices we do.

More about: Hawthorne BooksCall Me Home

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

Delicious FoodsDelicious Foods by James Hannaham
(Little, Brown And Company, HC 978-0316284943)
A story about addiction and human trafficking that is told with unforgettable beauty through three distinct characters: a mother, her son, and the actual drug, crack, that threatens to overpower them and their love for one another. Disturbing and timely, this is a novel that is unforgettable.

More about: Little, Brown And CompanyDelicious Foods

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill CleggDid You Ever Have A Family
(Gallery Books/Scout Press, HC 978-1476798172)
Clegg explores the effects of terrible loss in this wrenching debut novel told from multiple viewpoints. From its opening lines to the final ones, this lyrical novel is brutally direct yet ultimately optimistic — a tour de force of empathy and healing, with unforgettable characters.

More about: Gallery Books/Scout PressDid You Ever Have a Family

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

DietlandDietland by Sarai Walker
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HC 978-0544373433)
This witty, subversive story follows Plum, the 300-pound main character, as she struggles with her weight, joins a cult-like group aimed at helping her lose weight, and comes to an understanding of herself and her body. This is a multi-layered send-up of the diet industry and a close look at society’s obsession with appearance.

More about: Houghton Mifflin HarcourtDietland

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma HooperEtta and Otto

(Simon & Schuster, TP 978-1476755687)
One morning, eight-three-year-old Etta starts walking the 3,232 kilometers from her rural western Canada home to the Atlantic Ocean. Husband Otto and neighbor Russell have their own journeys as Etta continues eastward with the coyote James by her side. Flashbacks fill out this heartfelt story of longings and memories.

More about: Simon & SchusterEtta and Otto and Russell and James

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Henna HouseHenna House by Nomi Eve
(Scribner, TP 978-1476740287)
A sensuous and intimate tale of a Yemenite Jewish woman’s coming of age and the ancient art of henna painting, evocatively told from the 1920’s in a village in the mountains of Yemen, through the devastation of the Holocaust to the 1948 birth of Israel. Eve’s beguiling story covers love, loss, betrayal, and forgiveness, threaded throughout with the powerful ritual of henna.

More about: ScribnerHenna House

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

Landfall by Ellen UrbaniLandfall

(Forest Avenue Press, TP 978-0988265776)
The stories and destinies of two teenagers—one black, one white—converge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In her debut novel, Urbani shows us the resiliency of the human spirit through the voices of these women as they alternately narrate their enthralling stories.

More about: Forest Avenue PressLandfall

Community: Goodreads

Make Your Home Among StrangersMake Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet
(St. Martin’s Press, HC 978-1250059666)
Cuban American Lizet is caught between two worlds, as the first of her family to go to college. This debut novel adroitly, humorously, and heartbreakingly describes the “double vision” of being a part of an immigrant community, aspiring for more but without the support of your calamitous family, and finding yourself out of your element in both worlds.

More about: St. Martin’s PressMake Your Home Among Strangers

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Manby Thomas Page McbeeMan Alive
(City Lights Publishers, TP 978-0872866249)
What does it takes to be a man? Here, we meet one person who is preparing to transition from female to male and deal with his abusive father. A tender novel about manhood and imperfection, violence and self-possession, this book is a timely example of one man’s experience of masculinity, personal identity, and change.

More about: City Lights PublishersMan Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

Community: Goodreads

Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks LeagueMiss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell
(Maiden Lane Press, TP 978-1940210049)
A rich white woman and her black maid despise each other in 1950’s Mississippi, but their painful losses and the powerful currents of social change around them challenge them to reconsider each other. Themes of racial patterns, family and marriage, and friendship are gracefully explored.

More about: Maiden Lane PressMiss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

Community: Goodreads

No. 4 Imperial Lane by Jonathan WeismanNo. 4 Imperial Lane

(Twelve, HC 978-1455530458)
In this beautifully written debut novel, a young American signs on as a caregiver to a quadriplegic to extend his year abroad in Britain. As David gets to know the Bromwells, he learns about their tragic connection with war-torn Angola, and his own life is changed.

More about: TwelveNo. 4 Imperial Lane

Community: Goodreads

Orphan Number EightOrphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade
(William Morrow Paperbacks, TP 978-0062338303)
A tale inspired by true events, the Jewish orphanage in early 20th century New York City comes to life through 4-year-old Rachel, who suffers disfigurement from medical experimentation there, becomes a nurse, and later finds herself caring for the doctor that experimented on her. Beautifully atmospheric, each character provides thought-provoking dilemmas and decisions.

More about: William Morrow PaperbacksOrphan #8

Bonus Resources: Reading Group ChoicesReading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

 A Perfect Crime by A YiA Perfect Crime

(Oneworld Publications, HC 978-1780747057)
A stunning psychological story from the People’s Republic of China centered on a motiveless murder. The author, a former policeman in China, subtly and chillingly examines the social isolation and morality issues of a country trying to rapidly adjust to immense upheaval in its social fabric and culture.

More about: Oneworld PublicationsA Perfect Crime

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

A Secret Wisdom of the EarthThe Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
(Grand Central Publishing, HC 978-1455551927)
A man reflects on the revelatory summer he spent in a remote Appalachian coal town. This debut novel, full of richly drawn characters and lovingly portraying the beauty of the mountains, powerfully delves into issues of prejudice, environmental and economic conflicts, love, loss, and redemption.

More about: Grand Central PublishingThe Secret Wisdom of the Earth

Bonus Resources: Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

A Sister to Honor by Lucy FerrissA Sister to Honor
(Berkley, TP 978-0425276402)
Afia Satar and her brother Shahid leave their devout Islamic home in Pakistan to study in the U.S. Shahid promises his parents he will protect his sister, but when a Facebook photo shows Afia holding hands with an American boy, the consequences spiral out of Shahid’s control — a riveting and very relevant novel.

More about: BerkleyA Sister to Honor

Bonus Resources: Booklist ReviewReading Group Choices

Community: Goodreads

 Without You There is No UsWithout You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim

(Crown, HC 978-0307720658)
Kim’s memoir of her six months teaching English in North Korea to the son’s of North Korea’s elite is fascinating and troubling, a rare look into a closed society where contact with the world outside is strictly forbidden.

More about: CrownWithout You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review

Community: Goodreads

 The Wonder Garden by Lauren AcamporaThe Wonder Garden

(Grove Press, HC 978-0802123558)
A serene suburban location, Old Cranberry, is the setting for thirteen interconnected stories of oddities, revelations, and dichotomies that are sharply imaginative and highly original. Frequently compared to Cheever, Wharton, and O’Connor, Acampora’s debut offers a stylish and new interpretation of contemporary residential American life.

More about: Grove PressThe Wonder Garden

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review


Southern Festival of Books – 2015

SFB2015poster_CageFreeVisual_0The dates for the 2015 Southern Festival of Books have been announced. This year’s Festival will be held October 9 – 11, with the Women’s National Book Association’s Coffee with Authors event on Saturday morning, October 10. A list of authors currently scheduled for the Southern Festival of Books can be found on the Humanities Tennessee website

Monthly Meetings Resume in September

Please note there will be no monthly meetings from June through August. Our meetings will resume the first Thursday in September. We look forward to seeing you then! In the meantime, if you need some recommendations for your summer reading list, check out these selections, located on our WNBA National Reading Group Month website, that are from our 2014 Great Group Reads list.


Sign Up Now for Coffee with Authors

cup & coaster & napkinRegistration is now open for the National Reading Group Month Coffee with Authors event on Saturday, October 11 from 9:00-10:45 a.m. at the Nashville Main Library, 615 Church Street. There will be complimentary coffee with the author panel to follow in the auditorium. To obtain a reserved seat (2 tickets per request available) please e-mail Lee Fairbend at lfairbend [at] Overflow seating will be available