A Literary Springboard

New books by Barnard authors make a splash, offering refreshing takes on things ordinary and rare

By Asha Meagher ’21

Children’s and Young Adult Books

Book of Flight: 10 Record-Breaking Animals with Wings
by Gabrielle Balkan ’97; illustrated by Sam Brewster
This book for kids ages 5 to 8 features 10 creatures that soar, with fun facts about each and blueprint-style illustrations. Included are the fastest (the white-throated needletail, a bird) and the best flying acrobat (the Madagascan flying fox).

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work  
by Victoria Ortiz ’64
This young adult biography of the Supreme Court justice popularly known as “the Notorious R.B.G.” mixes case histories from Ginsburg’s storied career with narratives about her life.

Fiction  

Museum of Stones  
by Lynn Lurie ’80
The intensity of motherhood, and all of its complications, are explored here through a mother-son relationship. Filled with emotional turns, Museum of Stones culminates [spoiler alert!] with the main characters in a rubber boat fleeing from revolutionaries.

You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories
by Kristen Roupenian ’03
These short stories by the author of “Cat Person,” a breakout piece of fiction The New Yorker published in 2017, explore the complicated, often mordant connections among gender, sex, and power.

The Distance Home
by Paula Saunders ’82
In post–World War II South Dakota, siblings Leon and René, both dancers, navigate very different worlds and levels of success. Over the course of decades, their absentee father further complicates the family dynamics.


The Book of Jeremiah
by Julie Zuckerman ’91
The stubborn yet loving Jeremiah Gerstler moves through 80 years of Jewish life — from grade school, through World War II, to adulthood as a professor — to reveal a 20th-century life brimming with love and loss.

Nonfiction

The Jewish Journey Haggadah: Connecting the Generations  
by Adena Berkowitz ’81
Designed to attract people of all backgrounds, this book makes having a Passover Seder both fun and educational, interspersing commentary with jokes, parodies, and questions for discussion.

Introduction to U.S. Law, Policy, and Research: An Environmental Perspective
by Peter M. Bower, Professor of Environmental Science, and Dana Neacșu, Lecturer in Law at Columbia University
This environmental-law textbook goes beyond simply summarizing current statutes. The authors also carefully examine the process by which environmental laws in the United States have been enacted.

The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery
by Mary Cregan, Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of English
In a memoir that weaves together medical research and deeply personal aspects of the author’s own life, Cregan brings the reader to a clearer understanding of depression’s potential causes and cures.

Red Lipstick: An Ode to a Beauty Icon
by Rachel Felder ’89
This captivating book about an iconic cosmetic is full of anecdotes, literary excerpts, and little-known facts, including that the inventor of the first long-lasting lipstick happened to be the largely unsung Barnard alumna Hazel Bishop ’29.

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource
by Daniel Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar
Americans work more hours and for more years than do most citizens of other rich countries. To explain why we stress out about time and what we can do to stop, Hamermesh outlines how people in various countries, cultures, and classes spend their days and nights and lays out a simple but important proposal for change.

Reconstructing a Public Sphere
by John Miller, Professor of Professional Practice in Art History
In a piece that is both a photographic essay and a critical text, Miller explores the history of New York City’s Battery Park through the lens of his own 9/11 experience.

My Brilliant Friends: Our Lives in Feminism
by Nancy K. Miller ’61
This biography explores the lives of three scholars, feminists, and literary critics — Carolyn Heilbrun, Diane Middlebrook, and Naomi Schor. Miller, a distinguished professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, examines her friendships in their personal and political contexts.

Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice
by Rajiv Sethi, Professor of Economics, and Brendan O’Flaherty, Professor of Economics at Columbia University
What do crime and punishment look like from the perspective of two economists? Sethi and O’Flaherty believe we can create a more just society by better understanding how stereotypes influence those who commit crimes, as well as those who arrest and punish them.

Poetry

We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune  
by Sarah Stern ’86
This collection, featuring the 2018 Pushcart Prize–nominated poem “The Interview,” tackles the all-important theme of love.