Welcome to the Boston Area Swarthmore Alumni Book Group. Our group has been around since 1998 and serves Boston-area alumni of Swarthmore College, as well as parents, friends, spouses, and other assorted folks. As those in the class of 1983 can tell you, you need not have graduated in the Amphitheater in order to attend our meetings.

Books for 2023-24

Our books this year (with one exception) come from a list of “Short Perfect Novels” in Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence. As the main character says, these are “books that knock you sideways in around 200 pages. Between the covers there exists a complete world. The story is unforgettably peopled and nothing is extraneous. Reading one of these books takes only an hour or two but leaves a lifetime imprint…”

The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald (Read for February 20th)

First Love, Ivan Turgenev

Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

Waiting for the Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee

Fire on the Mountain, Anita Desai

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka

NYTimes Review of Seven Moons

Too Loud a Solitude, Bohumil Hrabel, Hrabal Review in NYT, 1990

Train Dreams, Denis Johnson

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, 1970 NYTimes review of The Bluest Eye, The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison, NYTimes, April, 2015

The Shadow-Line, Joseph Conrad

The All of It, Jeannette Haien

Swimmer in the Secret Sea, William Kotzwinkle

Winter in the Blood, James Welch