Well-Read Mom conference fuels love of literature

| February 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

What we read and how we read it matters. Because, according to Marcie Stokman, in the advent of eReaders, we’ve “out-sourced our spatial memory to Google.”

Book selections of the Well-Read Mom "Year of the Spouse" Jessica Trygstad/The Catholic Spirit

Book selections of the Well-Read Mom “Year of the Spouse” Jessica Trygstad/The Catholic Spirit

Stokman’s message to attendees of the third annual Well-Read Mom conference Jan. 31 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul urged them to re-engage with linear text (e.g., words on paper) in order to have an intellectual experience.

“Our reading patterns and comprehension are different with digital reading,” said Stokman, who founded the Well-Read Mom book club in 2012. “It’s more efficient and faster, but we lose deep-reading capacity.”

Stokman, who lives in the Diocese of Duluth, said women need to “reclaim time to read the best.” With the Well-Read Mom, that’s done through accountability and meaningful literature.

Great literature, she said, allows people to “stop to think about life . . . and helps us realize that we’re not alone.”

Each year, Well-Read Mom book clubs — nearly 200 across 36 states and five countries with roughly 900 women — designate a literary theme to delve into classic and spiritual works from the Western and Catholic tradition. This year, the “Year of the Spouse” selections include:

  • “Hannah Coulter” by Wendell Berry
  • “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
  • “Lilacs and the Long Ago” by Mary Lavin
  • “The Secret Diary of Elizabeth Leseur” by Elizabeth Leseur
  • “The Betrothed” by Manzoni
  • “Hound of Heaven At My Heels” by Waldron
  • “The Jeweler’s Shop” by Karol Wojtyla (aka St. John Paul II)
  • “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy

Rita Busam, 33, who is expecting her fourth child, has been in a Well-Read Mom group for two years.

“It’s really great to read great literature and discuss with other women,” said Busam, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Little Canada. She said that after college, she lacked the opportunity to get together with like-minded women for thoughtful discussions in a low-pressure setting. In addition to the classics, she has enjoyed reading contemporary works, such as “Hannah Coulter.” Her group meets once a month in St. Paul.

Well-Read Mom helps women find local groups. And this month, the newly established nonprofit is partnering with St. George Catholic Books and Gifts for an online store.

For more information about Well-Read Mom, visit http://www.wellreadmom.com.

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