Literary Roundup

Alumnae and faculty help readers update their bookshelves with new prose, poetry, historical fiction, and even a kid’s book about a young chef




















The Cast
by Amy Blumenfeld ’96
Inspired by a true story, five childhood friends reunite twenty-five years after one of them fell ill, only to uncover hidden truths about each other.

The Lake on Fire
by Rosellen Brown ’60
This narrative about nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants begins on a Wisconsin farm and follows two siblings to Gilded-Age Chicago, where they struggle to make a life for themselves.

Half Gods
by Akil Kumarasamy ’10
Ten interlinking stories explore the lives of members of a Sri Lankan family as they flee from civil war in their home country and end up in the suburbs of New Jersey.

Wild Milk
by Sabrina Orah Mark ’97
A poet turns her pen to prose in this collection of two dozen stories that center around themes of motherhood.

Those Who Knew
by Idra Novey ’00
In a deeply divided country, Lena suspects a senator she was once romantically involved with has killed a young woman, leaving Lena to decide whether to speak up or stay quiet.

Property: Stories Between Two Novellas
by Lionel Shriver ’78
This collection of ten short stories and two novellas examines the different ways property can affect relationships and character.

Their Houses
by Meredith Sue Willis ’69
Three adults, once close childhood friends, are reunited on land previously owned by a white supremacist group, only to find that there’s no safe space for them.

The Survivors Club
by Nubia DuVall Wilson ’04
Transported to a 1920s lounge, the protagonist Eva awakens to four strangers who unknowingly share a history of child abuse. Ultimately, they work together to help a young boy stay alive.


Animals and Animality in the Babylonian Talmud
by Beth A. Berkowitz, Professor of Religion & Ingeborg Rennert Chair of Jewish Studies
Professor Berkowitz offers insights into the ways early rabbinic commentators understood the intelligence, morality, sexuality, suffering, danger, and development of animals.

Microbia: A Journey into the Unseen World Around You
by Eugenia Bone ’83
Bone explains how life-forms too small to be seen without a microscope are central to the existence of almost everything.

Yes, You Can Heal: The Secret to Transforming Illness and Creating a Radiant Life
by Diane Goldner ’81
Goldner lays out her theories about why people become ill, and endeavors to help readers tap into their own healing resources.

A Girl Stands at the Door:  The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools
by Rachel Devlin ’89
After Brown v. Board of Education, more girls than boys volunteered to desegregate formerly all-white schools. This book tells the story of the brave African American young women who pushed for equality.

Poetry in a World of Things: Aesthetics and Empiricism in Renaissance Ekphrasis
by Rachel Eisendrath, Assistant Professor of English & Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
As the idea of objectivity emerged during the Renaissance, poets such as Spenser and Marlow used their writing to exalt subjective experiences.

Global Health Impacts of Nanotechnology Law: A Tool for Stakeholder Engagement
by Ilise L. Feitshans ’79
A deep dive into the ways nanotechnology can improve daily life and change the way consumers think about commerce and public health.

Viral Performance: Contagious Theaters from Modernism to the Digital Age
by Miriam Felton-Dansky ’02
This book argues that the concept of virality has deep historical roots linked to the contagious effect of live performance.

Totally Middle School: Tales of Friends, Family, and Fitting In
edited by Betsy Groban ’73
In eleven short stories, middle school issues, such as dealing with family and friends, finding yourself, and fitting in, are explored by bestselling and award-winning authors, including The Giver’s Lois Lowry and Newberry Medalist Linda Sue Park.

The Generous Prenup: How to Support Your Marriage and Avoid the Pitfalls
by Laurie Israel ’68
Israel, a lawyer with thirty years’ experience, has created a sourcebook for couples looking for peaceful and informed ways to discuss and execute prenuptial agreements.

Fading Out Black and White: Racial Ambiguity in American Culture
by Lisa Simone Kingstone ’85
As the boundaries between black and white begin to fade, this book takes a new look at what race means in America.

Clinical Evolutions on the Superego, Body, and Gender in Psychoanalysis
by Janice S. Lieberman ’62
A psychoanalyst’s account of societal changes and the struggles many face around  greed, envy, deception, body narcissism, gender roles, and relationships.

Masterpieces. Based on a Manuscript by Mario Modestini
by Dianne Dwyer Modestini ’68
A behind-the-scenes look into the world of art and art restoration, by the restorer of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi and widow of renowned art restorer Mario Modestini, whose memoir this book supplements.

The First Modern Risk: Workplace Accidents and the Origins of European Social States
by Julia Moses ’01
During the late nineteenth century, new laws held employers responsible for workplace injuries. This book investigates how these laws reflected a major shift in public thinking about individual responsibility and societal risks.

Marriage, Law and Modernity: Global Histories
edited by Julia Moses ’01
A collection of scholars from around the world offer perspectives on the history of matrimony.

The Cards I Was Dealt The Hand That I Played: The Life of JC Riley
by Holly O’Connor ’80 and Joel Riley
A shared memoir, between a foster mother and her foster son, Joel, who survived childhood neglect, fighting as marine in Iraq, and who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, offers hope and advice to other survivors.

The Margaret Palca Bakes Cookbook: Cakes, Cookies, Muffins, and Memories from a Famous Brooklyn Baker
by Margaret Palca ’76
An illustrated cookbook filled with step-by-step recipes from the mastermind of Margaret Palca Bakes, a popular Brooklyn bakery.

Healing Cancer: The Unconventional Wisdom of Ruth Sackman
edited by Consuelo Reyes ’69
This compendium of articles by Ruth Sackman, the late president of the Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy, details Sackman’s unconventional beliefs about treating and preventing cancer.

Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science
by Lesley A. Sharp, Barbara Chamberlain & Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Professor of Anthropology
A medical anthropologist’s ethnographic work, based in a range of animal research labs, uncovers complex moral worlds where intimate human-animal encounters are part and parcel of the everyday experiences of researchers, lab veterinarians, and animal caretakers.

Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro
by Rachel Slade ’91
Building upon audio recordings and more than 100 interviews with former crew members, Into the Raging Sea investigates why the 790-foot-long El Faro sailed into a Category 4 storm and disappeared.

Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental”
by Amy Sueyoshi ’93
This work examines the different ways white Americans’ views of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in 1890s San Francisco reinforced racial and cultural inequalities.

Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris
by Caroline Weber, Associate Professor of French
Professor Weber tells the story of the real women who inspired Marcel Proust’s composite character Duchesse de Guermantes, from Remembrance of Things Past.

Virginia Woolf’s Greek Tragedy
by Nancy Worman ’87, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Classics
An examination of how Virginia Woolf’s use of Greek tragedies in her work both echoes and questions modernist aesthetics and politics.

See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded
by Madeline Schwartzman, Adjunct Professor of Architecture
In this second volume in Schwartzman’s series on human perception and the senses, the artist imagines the human head of the future, including new organs, headdresses, prosthetics, and helmets made by artists, designers, inventors, and scientists.


by Sadie Dupuis ’11
The guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist of the indie rock band Speedy Ortiz turns her pen to poetry just months after her band released its third, critically acclaimed album, Twerp Verse.

Fruit Geode
by Alicia Jo Rabins ’98
Motherhood can be filled with both extreme love and also a profound loss of self. These poems consider what it means to be transformed by parenting.

Hiraeth: Tercets From the Last Archipelago
by Eileen R. Tabios ’82
A Welsh word with no exact English translation, hiraeth can mean homesickness. That feeling is explored in this collection’s twenty-six poems, which embrace the two languages.

One Two Three: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems
by Eileen R. Tabios ’82. Translations by Rebeka Lembo
Tabios invented the hay(na)ku poetry form in 2003. In this collection, her poems are accompanied by Spanish translations.

The Glamorganshire Bible
by Lynne Viti ’69
Written in free verse, this compilation tells the story of women who reject their confining circumstances, and journeys back to a childhood populated with coal mines, railroad depots, drinking binges, and two-dollar dresses.

A Long Drawn Face
by Homa Zarghamee, Assistant Professor of Economics
Intimacy, emigration, death, and beginnings are some of the topics this collection explores.

Children’s and Young Adult

When We Caught Fire
Anna Godbersen ’02
Set around the time of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this historical novel features a love triangle among three childhood best friends.

Neverworld Wake
by Marisha Pessl ’00
Time literally stands still in this thriller. To make it move forward, six teenage friends must make harrowing decisions that put them at risk.

The Summer of Us
by Cecilia Vinesse ’09
Five friends plan a grand expedition through Europe the summer before they go off to college. But old attractions surface and new ones threaten to derail what was meant to be a carefree adventure.

Little Chef
by Elisabeth Weinberg ’02 and Matt Stine
The story of the tiny chef Lizzie, who works to cook her grandmother’s favorite meal, unfolds in vibrant watercolors and ink.

Latest IssueFall 2020

In this issue, you'll read about the alumnae healthcare workers who served on the frontlines of the pandemic, Barnard women's resilience during historic crises, a personal story on protest, the 19th Amendment reexamined, and more.