Smith College Alumnae Reading Suggestions

From Lizanne Payne ’74, Library Collections Consultant

book cover Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The author of Seabiscuit tells the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini during World War II, who not only survived weeks on a life raft after his plane ditched at sea, but subsequently endured years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp after he was rescued.  Reading about his trials and courage, I kept thinking "No one in middle-class America is allowed to complain about anything ever again."
book cover Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
I first read this while I was at Smith, and enjoyed the mystery and romance.  Reading it again just recently, after decades away from Smith, I was struck by the poignancy of the historical moment she captured (1936): Hitler, before the Holocaust was known; the rumblings of another war so soon after The Great War; the struggles of women scholars to be taken seriously and the infighting among women about women's roles -- which continue to this day.
book cover Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Smith ’03)
This wonderful novel about three generations of women centered around their summer house in Maine is often described as “funny”, and there is plenty of humor in it, but I found it tender and almost sad.  The alternating point of view shifting among four major characters brilliantly reveals how people see each other and how people are, why people do and say the things they do and say, and how those things are interpreted and misinterpreted by other people.