Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell
by Professor Alexandra Horowitz
Focusing on a dog’s sharpest sense, Horowitz explains how smells change a dog’s perception in surprising ways. “I’m very keen on trying to understand what it might be like to be a dog,” says Horowitz, an adjunct associate professor of psychology at Barnard and a research scientist in the field of dog cognition. To take the imaginative leap into a dog’s perception of the world, Horowitz interviewed smell experts and sniffed what her dogs sniffed. She describes the spectacular biology of the dog snout and details how, for dogs, every breath of air is loaded with information: “I stuck my nose in all manner of places in order to become used to simply experiencing smells—something I think we rarely do these days.”
The Women Who Made New York
by Julie Scelfo ’96
New York is a singular city, thanks in part to the women featured in Scelfo’s book, some world-famous, some woefully under-celebrated. Five of the women have Barnard affiliations: Zora Neale Hurston ’28 was a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance and author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger 1914 was the matriarch of the family that controls The New York Times. Comedian Joan Rivers ’54 is lauded for discussing abortion and beauty standards at a time when the word “abortion” was forbidden on television. Avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson ’69, who brought her pioneering work to New York City, is celebrated for her groundbreaking compositions and performance art. Elizabeth Milbank Anderson, trustee of the College, was a lifelong advocate for women’s education.
Couture Confessions: Fashion Legends in Their Own Words
by Pamela Golbin ’92
Fashion’s premier designers have dished about their careers and personal lives, and their words were compiled by Golbin, the chief curator at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Jeanne Lanvin preferred customers not buy her whole collection: “I try to teach [women] that they need have only two dresses instead of 10, as long as they have been chosen by a sure and competent hand.”
Gabrielle Chanel hated being called “Coco.” “It was grotesque. I would love to be rid of it, but I don’t suspect I ever will.”
Yves Saint Laurent described when an outfit worked: “The wonderful silence of clothing … when one forgets completely what one is wearing, where the garment doesn’t speak, doesn’t catch you, when one feels as good dressed as naked.”
The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream
by Courtney E. Martin ’02
Martin asks, “Are we living the good life—and what defines ‘good,’ anyway?” At a time when some equate being successful with being unrelentingly busy and distracted, she asserts that many people today are reassessing—and rejecting—the traditional American Dream: a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family. Instead, they are reinventing standards of success and happiness to embrace new ideals. The book examines how we view work, marriage, money, living arrangements, and spirituality. Using personal stories and social analysis, she explores trends such as freelancing, communal living, and the breakdown of gender roles.