Gina Barreca ’79
“If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?”
(St. Martin’s Press)
Humorist Barreca has been writing fierce and funny for more than 20 years, but her latest book reads wiser and more eloquent. “We get braver as we get older, and it’s time to tell the real stories,” she tells DAM. Embedded within the dark humor that marks many of her essays, such as “Words Rich People Use That Poor People Don’t” (“amuse-bouche” and “thread count”), lie moments of empathy and experience. Barreca explores why work is an essential part of life’s conversation, the value of taking sides and embracing beliefs, and what a dying parent might discuss with a child. The author’s own mother died when she was 16 and, in an eight-point list, she shares wrenching, hard-won advice with “Questions I Wish I’d Asked.” (Read an excerpt from the book here.)
An English and feminist theory professor at the University of Connecticut, Barreca teaches creative writing and a course on the British novel. If You Lean In is her 10th book of humor and cultural commentary. She has edited another 13 books and writes a weekly column for The Hartford Courant. With Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Co-education in the Ivy League (2011) she offered a frank look at gender and education based on her experiences at Dartmouth in the late 1970s.
“American women have become less worried about enjoying and displaying our humor but more worried about acknowledging and exercising our ambition and power,” says Barreca. “When I was at Dartmouth in the middle-to-late 1970s, women thought we would be more well-represented in government, the judiciary, on boards of directors, in positions of corporate governance. I didn’t think we’d still be saying, ‘It’s just me,’ when we announced who we were on the phone.” Despite these setbacks, Barreca remains confident in the cultural evolution she tracks. “I am optimistic that what I call ‘the Tribe of Loud, Smart Women’ will grow in numbers and will, eventually, undermine the pious earnestness and whining sense of entitlement that forces humorless pedants to say things like, ‘Who needs feminism anymore? I’m a humanist.’ Not that I’m bitter.” —Theresa D’Orsi
Ed Gray ’67
Left in the Wind
The founding editor of Gray’s Sporting Journal imagines the challenges endured by residents of the Roanoke Colony as they faced down dwindling resources and warring tribes in 1587. In this fictional journal, Emme Merrimoth—one of the actual colonists—recounts the harrowing journey to the New World and the final struggles of the 118 men, women and children of the “Lost Colony.”
Charles Wheelan ’88
(W.W. Norton & Co.)
The Dartmouth economics professor tackles the weird world of money in the third installment in his Naked series. With illuminating stories from Argentina, Zimbabwe, North Korea, America and China, Wheelan demystifies the curious world behind the paper in our wallets and the digits in our bank accounts.
Benjamin Kwakye ’90
Scrolls of the Living Night
(Cissus World Press)
The award-winning poet and director of the Africa Education Initiative pens an incredible tale of good and evil in his fourth work, an epic poem replete with a wealth of characters and set in Ghana. It’s a “darkly humorous modern take on the fleeting triumph of money, corruption, deceit and evil,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
Joe Whitworth ’91
The president of conservation nonprofit Freshwater Trust draws lessons from the world’s most tech-savvy organizations to show how society can pursue similar goals of innovation and efficiency for the environment. He offers success stories of quantified conservation from his work at the trust, where he is restoring U.S. rivers.
Rachel Richardson ’01
In her second collection of poems Richardson juxtaposes the grand quests of Melville’s Ahab with the quotidian journeys of contemporary life. Hundred-Year Wave launches stories of marriage and motherhood over the currents of a nearly mythological ancestry: people who built their possessions out of iron and flour and whalebone and wool.
Additional books that were not listed in our print edition:
Allan Ryan ’66, who teaches the law of war at Harvard and Boston College Law School, examines the four U.S. Supreme Court cases that struck down the Bush administration’s policies on military commissions and Guantanamo detainees in The 9/11 Terror Cases: Constitutional Challenges in the War Against Al-Qaeda (University Press of Kansas).
Rabbi Nesanel Kasnett ’67 considers various biblical topics—such as King David’s rule, the beasts Leviathan and Behemoth and the influence of the “evil eye”—in Anointing at the Gichon (self-published). He also recently coauthored a 17-volume English translation of Midrash Rabbah (Mesorah Publications).
Financial advisor Gregory Curtis ’69 offers a practical lesson in long-term family wealth management—with tips on finding an advisor, building an investment portfolio and monitoring money—by following a family through several generations in book Family Capital: Working with Wealthy Families to Manage Their Money Across Generations (Wiley).
Friends Edwin Baldrige III ’79, William Conway Jr. ’79, David Klinges ’79, Tu’82, L. Philip Odence ’79, Norman Richter ’79, David Van Wie ’79, Th’84, and Robert Chamberlin, Th’84—all of whom take an annual retreat to the confluence of the Dead Diamond and Swift Diamond rivers in New Hampshire—consider the meaning of life and the natural world in a collection of essays, The Confluence: Fly-fishing & Friendship in the Second College Grant (Peter E. Randall).
Negotiation expert Jeff Weiss ’86 provides a disciplined approach to finding a solution—whether in a high-stakes deal, forming a partnership or planning a family event—that works for everyone involved in the HBR Guide to Negotiating (Harvard Business Review Press).
History teacher William Meyer ’02 combines time travel, mystery and history in the tale of 11-year-old Horace and his visit to ancient Egypt in The Secret of the Scarab Beetle (Sleeping Bear Press), the first in what Meyer expects will be a middle-grade adventure series.
Jasmine Kumalah ’12 follows Detective Alu as he attempts to piece together the story of three boys brutally killed in a fictional country healing from a civil war in her first book of story-in-verse—illustrated by Si Jie Loo ’12—Holding Demons in Small Jars (Lystra Books).