Marianne Heywood

I grew up in Bellingham, Washington the daughter of a teacher and a professor.  I never gave much thought to our family economics. We had more than some, less than some and my parents were always careful with money.  Except when I brought home the Weekly Reader Book Club order form from school.  Somehow this was exempted from all normal limits.  I could order as many books as I wanted, which I did.  And I read them all. Possibly this could be fingered as the root of a lifelong addiction. The adrenaline surge when presented with the tallest stack of ordered books among my classmates is alive and thriving today.  I’m still sprinting home to “get started.”

I give my mother credit for letting me roam freely and frequently in the library.  There was a clear division between the “children’s section” and the “adult section”.  As an early and insatiable reader, I quickly drifted into more complex books. I remember my mother staring down the librarian until the matronly woman blinked, daring her to prevent my crossing to “the other side”.  I hadn’t considered this moment for years. But the powerful and silent message from my mother was; you are welcome to read any book in print, and I trust you to navigate.

Off I went to Whitman College, a liberal arts school providing a mountain of reading and small group discussions.  Plus, I didn’t have to take math to graduate. I pursued a career in public relations, advertising and marketing because it was all about ideas, words and connecting.  Then came a litter of kids who are now 25, 24, 22 and 20. Weaving among their needs, I’ve been a freelance writer, events manager and am deeply engaged in my community.  Recently I completed a nine-year term as a trustee for the Bellevue Schools Foundation. I also open a pop up cashmere store with two close friends every fall, because what could be more fun than that?

Book clubs are the bomb.  And if you’re reading this, you’re most likely already a convert.  It’s a fantastic space to read things you otherwise might not encounter, hear voices you need to understand and consider perspectives necessary to mind growth.  My personal collection of books remains fairly constant in numbers. Books are meant to be shared; the bad ones leave and the good ones are quickly placed in grateful hands.  How better to express friendship?