Deborah Sussman

Graphic Designer; Interior Designer / United States / Sussman/Prejza & Company, Inc.

Deborah Sussman’s Book List

Literature and poetry, especially by and about women, have been a lifelong passion. While not directed specifically at the “design” profession, these books have informed and influenced my imagination, mind and soul. They also provide insights into various cultures, broadening our understanding of the world and learning how other people deal with life. . . . View the complete text
14 books
Mitch Albom

Along with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, this fairly recent book describes the beauty and achievements of an individual crippled by a genetic or circumstantial tragedy. These books also reveal how passion and generosity can transcend the cruelty of life. Be moved.

Jean-Dominique Bauby

Along with Tuesdays with Morrie, this fairly recent book describes the beauty and achievements of an individual crippled by a genetic or circumstantial tragedy. These books also reveal how passion and generosity can transcend the cruelty of life. Be moved.

Lesley Blanch

Truly wild: sexual, political, traditional, and detailed experiences of a few English and European women whose lives and passions transcended their hereditary culture and joined the Arab world. Considering today’s global confrontations, this is a fascinating and illuminating account of the meeting of two civilizations.


Lewis Carroll

In case you haven’t yet read this, do so!

Emily Dickinson
Introduction and notes by Rachel Wetzsteon

It’s humbling to read, and later think about, these poems. The deep insights and inspiration created by her original use of the most minimal of means will enrich the life of the reader: read everything she wrote and read it over and over. A brilliant example of “less is more” and how affecting such discipline can be.

Lawrence Durrell

Since I love to travel and have done so extensively, it’s compelling to read insights and descriptions by people one respects. How wonderful it was to read this description of discovering Sicily, where change only happens in centuries. It’s funny, too, if you ever travel with a group (we didn’t). Everything Durrell commented on still resonates. Plus, there’s a magical, elusive romance to ponder.

Jonathan Safran Foer

A sometimes hilarious but heartbreaking novel based on the collective memory of the Holocaust as experienced by the young author and his contemporaries. I roared and then I wept. This book is a magnifying glass focused on a shudderingly ghastly reality. The literary technique uses “Magic Realism,” of great relevance to visual designers. It also provides insight into the cultural background of many significant design leaders of our time.

Jon Godden
Rumer Godden

I have been an Indiaphile ever since the late 1960s, following 3 1/2 months spent living and working in that country in charge of graphics for an Eames exhibition on Nehru and his time. This book is written about the lives of two British-born sisters in India the early 20th century. Less known than E. M. Forster’s books , it educates us about international human relationships and the ways in which macro-societies impact the micro, personal self.

Each and every book by Maira Kalman is a delightful gift to my life. It does help to know who she’s picturing and writing about—and since I do, it’s a double-digit delight. If you don’t know who is who, try to find out. Her work transcends categories and proves that hands are still viable tools for making art.

Sylvia Plath

Provides insights into American womanhood in the early 1950s and the juncture between education and professionalism. It also reveals the author's internal struggles and describes the significant contribution that Mademoiselle magazine made to empower women, along with the hilarious foibles of the time. (I, too, was a guest editor at Mademoiselle.)

Marcel Proust

I read some of the seven books in this series in French at Bard College. Read as much of Proust as you can, starting with Swann's Way, for a profound description of individuals and a socio-political climate. Like a pebble thrown into a lake, the famous story of eating a “madeleine” begins an epic masterpiece. In Proust's invention the lake becomes an ocean. The characters and their intrigues, their social status and power (whether inherited or manufactured), are described in very dense text. This work is worth the effort, and will exercise your brain.

Ayn Rand

My husband, Paul Prejza, said, “Are you really sure that you want to recommend this book?” Judge for yourself.

Philip Roth

Tragedy happens and it’s necessary to grapple with “why” and “how.” Justice and ignorance, corruption, arrogance, and every other factor contribute to our destiny. Roth’s profound insights into human behavior and emotions will last more than our lifetime.

Lisa See

This great contemporary American writer, of Chinese descent, has been researching and describing lives of Chinese women and families across several centuries. Although a novel, the book builds on documented reality and reveals the extraordinary constraints, emotional torment, and strength in the lives of women in the 19th century.

comments powered by Disqus