Barnard alumnae exhibit a tremendous diversity of interests, careers, and political opinions. However, one thing all alumnae appear to share is a voracious appetite for reading. Barnard book discussion groups have sprung up across the world, from Phoenix to Paris and beyond, to satisfy this need.

Book discussions have long been a staple of regional club activity, and these groups show the true spirit of alumnae clubs—women of all ages and interests, bound by their love of Barnard and their love of literature. The book lists often feature Barnard authors, but the books selected are as diverse as the women themselves. Alumnae read about significant moments in American history and about issues across the world; they read classics and contemporary literature.

In many cases, these book clubs are strongest in the areas that have the smallest Barnard populations, and they are the most consistent form of connection to other alumnae. The Paris group is particularly robust and also serves as an expat outpost. Genevieve Ramos Acker ’61, the president of the Barnard Club of Paris, reports, “It has evolved into a networking and support group that shares helpful hints about everything from jobs to adapting to life in Paris, and provides moral support for those who need it.”

Discussions are lively and insightful, and made richer by the diversity of Barnard women. Phyllis Edelstein Stern ’65, the president of the Barnard Club of North-Central Arizona, says, “As Barnard women, we are not shy about voicing our many opinions, which makes the group a lot of fun. We come from varied professions and span a wide age range, which also adds to the enjoyment of being together in a small group and makes the conversation more interesting. Kind of like being back at Barnard!”


To learn more about a book discussion group or Barnard alumnae club in your area, visit