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This summer I was delighted to finally meet Mollie Hoben, co-founder with Glenda Martin, of the Minnesota Women’s Press that organizes terrific Reading Retreats and Book Groups on the Road excursions and publishes bookWomen, a magazine about books written by women and for readers “who love women’s words.” I love bookWomen and eagerly read it cover-to-cover, unlike other magazines that end up in my when-I-have-time-I’ll-read-this pile. In 2002, Mollie and I had talked by phone for her piece about my book Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in America. Last year she wrote a profile of me and Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference (“Real Women, Real Stories.” bookWomen, June-July 2005: 3-4) Along the way, Mollie told me that she was a fan of my daughter-in-law Sarah Jones, the Tony-award-winning star of her one-woman hit Broadway show, “Bridge and Tunnel.” Come to New York, I told Mollie, you can stay with us. Mollie came. During Mollie’s visit, I had fun driving her here and there as she scouted the possibilities of bringing one of their Book Groups on the Road to New York City & holding a retreat on the coast of NJ. We talked and talked about books, etc. etc.

Happily Mollie got everything arranged. “The Seaside Reading Retreat, New Jersey” is Sept 7-9 at Stella Maris, near Long Beach, NJ. “Books Afoot, New York City” is scheduled for June 14-20, based on the campus of Columbia University. Mollie is the facilitator and here’s what she wrote about “Books Afoot” : “Highlights will include meetings with authors; visiting famed libraries and bookstores; a night at the theater; a women’s history walking tour;* trying a variety of NY cuisine; exploring sites related to our reading, walking; and taking in the vibrancy of this storied city. Each day we’ll have book-group discussions of one of the books we all will have read. This is not a traditional New York City sightseeing trip; there will, however, be free time for readers to take in sights of personal interest.”

*I’ll be leading the women’s history walking tour, with a focus on literary women. For information about bookWomen and all of the 2007 Reading Retreats and Book Groups on the Road check: or call 651 646-3968

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