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Join Our Book Discussion: Why We’re Reading The Island of Sea Women

Looking for your next great read? As a part of Ashley Hall’s Lifelong Learning Series, faculty members are hosting an in-person book discussion on The Island of Sea Women on March 9, and we’re excited to invite current parents to join us. The event will be held on campus in the McBee Drawing Room.

The Island of Sea Women is based on the lives of the Jeju Haenyeo, Korean women divers who harvest resources from the sea working in all-female collectives,” explains Assistant Head for Academic Affairs and discussion leader Carolyn Newton.

Written by New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, this book was chosen to specifically align with what’s happening on campus this year. As we celebrate the second half of our Year of Water, students are continuing to learn about global and local water conservation and protection. Water serves as an integral part of The Island of Sea Women, and it’s a great way to join in on the conversation.

“The Haenyeo are still diving today, carrying on the traditions, but they have embraced aspects of more modern technology,” says Newton. “The themes of the book are about how this culture has adapted to the resources of this location and how the women respond to the pressures in their lives, from being wives, mothers, friends, members of the collectives, and the breadwinners for their families, all set against the backdrop of how outside forces reshaped Korea in the 20th century.”

In our book discussion, we’ll dive into micro issues, including how women navigate personal relationships while also serving their communities, as well as macro issues of what it means to protect your culture and values in the face of competing global forces, explains Newton.

To join the book discussion, purchase a copy of the book and RSVP here:

Here’s what others are saying about the book:

Lisa See excels at mining the intersection of family, friendship, and history, and in her newest novel, she reaches new depths exploring the matrifocal haenyeo society in Korea, caught between tradition and modernization. This novel spans wars and generations, but at its heart is a beautifully rendered story of two women whose individual choices become inextricably tangled.” – Jodi Picoult, author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

I was spellbound the moment I entered the vivid and little-known world of the diving women of Jeju. Set amid sweeping historical events, The Island of Sea Women is the extraordinary story of Young-sook and Mi-ja, of women’s daring, heartbreak, strength, and forgiveness. No one writes about female friendship, the dark and the light of it, with more insight and depth than Lisa See.” – Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

“Compelling, heart-wrenching, and beautifully written, The Island of Sea Women will plunge you into a world and a story you’ve never read before and remind you how powerful women can and must be to survive.” –Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone