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Women reading women: Baltimore book club that was founded to support female authors marks its 20th year.

More than 30 current and former members turned out for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Golo Lono Neai Book Club of Baltimore, Maryland, last October 29, held at the Edgar Allen Poe Room of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library. Participants heard a retelling of the club history and took part in an interactive quiz on books/authors and dub trivia.

Three Baltimore authors, Allegra Bennett, Gail Marie Mitchell and Shana Yarborough, facilitated lively discussion on "The Contribution of the African American Book Club." Bennett's books are Renovating Woman (Atria, 1997), How to Hire a Contractor (Renovating Woman, 2000) and When a Woman Takes an Ax to a Wall: Where Is She Really Trying to Go? (The Writer's Lair Books; second book and CD edition, 2006). She is also founder of Renovating Woman Magazine (www.renovatingwoman.com). Mitchell wrote Cling to Me (2003) and The Things She Does at Night (2005), both from Zomay Press; and Shana Yarborough, also a publisher, is author of Looking for Love in All the Small Spaces (The Writer's Lair Books, 2004; www.writerslairbooks.com).

Golo Lono Neai, the Swahili interpretation of "reading women;' was formed to support female writers. "Initially, the reading focus was on books by African American female authors because, for the most part, major publishers ignored them, and we felt the need to purchase their books;' says Brenda S. Harriel-Timmons, a member of the dub. "Fortunately, African American female authors have come a long way in recognition by the publishing industry. Therefore, the scope of our reading material has broadened"

Room for Men, Too

Harriel-Timmons says men have never been excluded. "In fact, our nickname was "Reading Women Plus One" when Stanley Butler, a local griot and librarian, became our first male member," says Harriel-Timmons, adding that the only criterion for membership is a love of books.

"Golo Lono Neai is the space in my world where I can enjoy literary exchange, uncomplicated decision making by consensus, and it's where members cheerfully volunteer talent, time and money when needed," says Harriel-Timmons.

The catalyst for this book dub in 1986, says Carolyn Eames, was news from her dear friend Casandra Fallin that a coworker, Rula Swann, belonged to a book dub in Washington, D.C., that met once a year in Baltimore.

Subsequently, says Eames, at the "nagging" of her older sister, Joyce Ross, to start a similar book dub, a few Baltimore women met in the Ross home and formed the dub.

"The enduring interest of the old-timers and the attraction for newer members may be credited to the varied but related events in which we've participated or attended over the years;' says Harriel-Timmons.

These have included visits from authors at monthly meetings and attendance at book discussions by J. California Cooper at the Smithsonian Institution In Washington, D.C.; Toni Morrison at Loyola University in Baltimore; and Bennett, the local author, at a Baltimore bookstore, as well as trips to the Harlem Book Festival and the Baltimore Book Fair.

THE CLUB: Golo Lono Neai

LOCATION: Baltimore-metropolitan area

BOOK PREFERENCES: All genres by black authors.

NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 18

HOW OFTEN THEY MEET: Fourth Sunday of each month, except November and December

HOW THEY CHOOSE BOOKS: Each club member hosts a meeting and the host selects the book.

LAST BOOK READ: Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray (Shaye Areheart Books, May 2003, ISBN 0-609-61004-)0

GROUP'S REACTION: "Charming and funny story of family relationship dynamics ... inspired the host to serve deserts she baked from cake recipes in this book."

NEXT BOOK: Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What Can We Do About It by Juan Williams (Crown Publishers, August 2006, $25, ISBN 0-307-33823-5)

For more information, call Barbara Waller at 410-265-8991 or e-mail: barbellen@hotmail.com.

Angela P. Dodson is the executive editor for Black Issues Book Review.

If you would like to have your book dub covered, visit www.bibookreview.com or e-mail bibookreview@aol.com or write us at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1522, Empire State Building New York, NY 10118.
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Title Annotation:books & clubs
Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:680
Previous Article:Signings & sightings: events.
Next Article:The Black Issues Book Review 2007 literary calendar.


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