Current books to read and podcasts to listen to featuring the work of the Barnard community.
Half by Sharon Harrigan ’89
A finalist for the Association for Writers and Writing Programs Award, Harrigan’s novel challenges the meaning of family loyalty, trust, and betrayal. For identical twins Artis and Paula, family drama becomes unearthed at their father’s funeral following years of estrangement from one another. In a risky attempt to reconnect, they recollect the lives of their younger selves, only to endanger their trust in family and each other.
Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh ’02
The bestselling novelist returns with the story of an aging widow who, while walking her dog through the woods, stumbles upon an ominous note that pulls her into a murder mystery. As she entangles herself more and more into the investigation, she gradually slips into a fatal obsession to find answers. Intertwining horror and Hitchcockian suspense, Moshfegh’s novel will have readers hooked until the last page.
What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez ’72
In her latest novel, Nunez — winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction — ties together the human experiences of friendship, love, and death. With advance praise from Literary Hub, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly, Nunez’s book takes a look at how we find and cultivate fulfillment in our lives.
Truthtelling: Stories, Fables, Glimpses by Lynne Sharon Schwartz ’59
The author shares a new collection of short stories about New Yorkers grappling with marriage, family, and aging. Schwartz’s stories probe the complexities of human relationships and empathy.
Murder in the Wings by Laura Shea ’74
Following the death of a college student from a mysterious bee sting, sleuth Erica Duncan becomes determined to find out who brought this upon the student — and how. A companion to Murder at the People’s Theatre, this installment of the Erica Duncan Mystery series effectively cross-pollinates the art of beekeeping and the world of the theatre.
Good Night, Baby Baby by Cindy Similien ’07
Similien draws on her Haitian-American heritage in her newest children’s book, featuring illustrations by Filipino artist Jeric Tan. With biracial characters and multiculturalism as a central theme, Similien’s book inspires children to embrace diversity and choose love.
Going Too Fast: Stories by Lynne Spigelmire Viti ’69
This debut collection of short stories by Viti, a senior lecturer emerita of Wellesley College’s Writing Program, tells of family, love, friendship, heartache, and coming of age through interconnected characters on the verge of adulthood.
The Spanish Element in Our Nationality by M. Elizabeth Boone ’83
Boone investigates the ways in which Spain has influenced U.S. history, culture, and identity. In her book, she focuses on the creation and ubiquity of Spanish art in the U.S., while also shedding light on the importance of lesser-known parts of history — and its scholarship — that are often left out of mainstream narratives.
This Is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot by Alicia Yin Cheng ’92
This colorful book examines the evolution of U.S. ballot design in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Unregulated, elaborate, and often absurd (15 exclamation points?), these ballots offer a window into a time when they were used as a form of political advertising and illuminate the electoral fraud and chicanery embodied by such schemes as the tapeworm ballot and the Tasmanian Dodge.
Gender and Succession in Medieval and Early Modern Islam by Alyssa Gabbay ’85
Gabbay, an Islamic studies historian and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, explores gender relations in medieval and premodern Islamic societies. Gabbay challenges patriarchal views and preexisting ideas of genealogy and lineage, offering a new way to understand gender roles and how they have evolved.
Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa ’84
With glowing praise from Gloria Steinem and Lin-Manuel Miranda, celebrated journalist Maria Hinojosa’s new memoir recounts her experiences growing up as a Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. Through her own personal lens and work in the field, Hinojosa examines the media’s negative characterization of immigrant communities in the U.S., resulting in misinformation and the controversial immigration policies that have led to the crisis we’re in today.
Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos ’09
The activist delves into what it means to be a Latinx individual living in the United States with the hope of better understanding and expanding these definitions. Through extensive fieldwork and research, Ramos discovers how different communities across the U.S. reckon with the term “Latinx,” with some embracing its empowerment and others acknowledging its controversy.
Shakespeare, Technicity, Theatre by W. B. Worthen, Alice Brady Pels Professor in the Arts; chair, Department of Theatre
Worthen explores contemporary Shakespeare performance to bring a sense of theatre as technology into view. Examining live, mediated, and digitally inflected performances, this study will appeal to scholars and students of Shakespeare and theatre.
Snake Pit by Joanna Wynne Barnett ’14
Barnett reveals personal histories through her poetry collection chronicling living with a physical disability, being a woman, and her mastery of board games and Trivia Pursuit. Barnett’s poems dismantle preconceived notions about being disabled and draw attention to how facing adversity has made her the empowered woman she is.