“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
Margaret Fuller—a women’s rights activist and a journalist at the New York Tribune during the mid-19th century—was the first woman allowed to use the Harvard Library. Since then, it’d be a fair assessment to say the world has become a better, more informed place.
To celebrate the women leaders in our own community, we sought the nightstand reads and literary knowledge of the successful women all around us.
TAMMY MOSELEY RAY, president of The Detail Department
Is there a literary quote that has influenced you?
“Every time you do a good deed, you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” —Charles de Lint
I used this as part of my business’ 10th anniversary celebration last fall. I gave my guests a postage-paid note card and asked them to write a note to a small business owner whose products or services they enjoy, and I gave the guests a miniature flashlight as a reminder of the light they had shined into the darkness.
Was there a book that changed your life?
The first book that I remember loving to read was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. It captivated me and made me want to read more. I still have the book from my childhood.
REBECCA FREEMAN RADOVICH, co-owner of Lulu’s Chocolate Bar
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen and then immediately started The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I always have to be reading something!
Do you have a literary heroine?
This question is the hardest! I sort of want to be every main character in every book I read, or rather, I do become them. For the time I’m reading whatever book, I get totally immersed—even when the character isn’t someone you’d really want to be. But to be specific: Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Claire Waverly in Garden Spells, Nancy Drew, and of course, Lisbeth Salander.
PRESHUS JANUARY, founder of Let’s P Creative
What book character inspires you?
My favorite has always been Wonder Woman. She is as strong as her male counterparts, and she is smart and stylish.
What books are on your nightstand?
Right now, I’m reading Making the Jump by Steve Harvey & The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae. In fact, I would love for Issa Rae to write my life story. Her writing is so relatable and I share many common qualities with her.
BRENDA ANDERSON, co-owner of Smith Brothers Butcher Shop
Who is your literary heroine?
Penelope Keeling. She cooks, gardens, is a daughter, wife, mother, lover and the best friend to many. She appreciates beauty in all she sees. I want to be her! I read The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher every winter. The characters are so rich and the setting is dreamy. I am always sad when I read the last page.
Where is your favorite place to read?
Anywhere I have five minutes alone. I always have a book with me or a book downloaded on my phone.
JONI SAXON-GUISTI, owner of The Book Lady Bookstore
What is a book that everyone has told you to read, but just doesn’t speak to you?
Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; but I must say it is equal parts fun and torture. I have, on the recommendation of an author friend of mine, finally begun to read Murakami, although I was very hesitant given his penchant for the fantastical. He writes beautifully, fully creates addictive characters, but he also makes me want to scream when bizarre, unexplained situations arise with no full explanation, no logic and absolutely no curiosity on the part of the protagonist to need to know why these things are happening. All the unanswered questions and the strenuous apathy drive me nuts, but I cannot put the book down.
Where is your favorite place to read?
Alone, in my library surrounded by books, curled up on my great aunt’s tufted loveseat.