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BookWorks hosts regional author reading 'Among Friends'

From left, the audience at the BookWorks on Third Street listens to Mary Lou Sanelli reading aloud from her new book,
From left, the audience at the BookWorks on Third Street listens to Mary Lou Sanelli reading aloud from her new book, 'Among Friends.'
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The BookWorks on Third Street hosted a special guest July 22, as Puget Sound region writer and professional speaker Mary Lou Sanelli read from her new book, "Among Friends," for an audience of roughly a dozen women from 5-7 p.m.

BookWorks owner and manager Mary Burns listens to Sanelli each week on the Everett-based KSER radio station, and was thrilled at the opportunity to host Sanelli in her store.

"I felt like I knew her personally, just from listening to her," Burns said. "When I read 'Among Friends,' it felt like she was reading it over my shoulder. She really analyses women's friendships, and the ways that we have to work at them, in ways that I'd never thought about before."

"It's very thought-provoking," store patron and Marysville local Jeanne Petersen said of "Among Friends." "It's allowed me to ponder my own friendships."

"Among Friends" is Sanelli's memoir of her own friendships over the course of her life. She spends three to four nights a week reading excerpts from the book at various public appearances, and makes a point of choosing representative passages from each chapter, albeit varied depending upon the makeup of each night's audience.

"If it's mostly older women, I don't read about women in the midst of raising babies," said Sanelli, an occasional NPR commentator who writes columns for variety of publications. "I just sort of look around each night and fly by the seat of my pants."

Sanelli explained that "it's never my intention to teach" when she reads, and she instead simply focuses on sharing "the experiences of ordinary women," but the introductory passage of "Among Friends" does draw a few conclusions.

"Not too long ago, a dear friend, a visual artist, asked me a question that caused me to take a deep breath and pause," Sanelli read from "Among Friends." "What does friendship look like to you? I remember trying to stumble through an answer and not being able to formulate my thoughts. In a way, this entire book is an effort to answer that question more clearly. Today the answer comes clearly. I see laughter, lots of it, and acceptance, of my friend and of myself, and a desire to learn from each other."

For more information on Sanelli, you can log onto her Web site at www.marylousanelli.com.

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