So Many Notables, So Little Time: 'The New York Times' 2019 List of the Best

BY Rochelle Goldstein, December 18, 2019

The School of the Arts is well represented on this years’ prestigious New York Times Notable Books of the Year list, which includes alumni and faculty members working across all genres, and ranges from veterans of the craft to a debut novelist. 


Alumna and former faculty member, Meghan Daum ’96 has several essay collections to her name, the latest, The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars, deals with many hot button issues, and has generated a great deal of discussion. A winner of a PEN Center USA Award, she has been the recipient of a Guggenheim as well as a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship.


Likewise, the latest of seven novels from faculty member Binnie Kirshenbaum, Rabbits for Food has been widely celebrated in the press. The story of a writer’s emotional breakdown and experience on a psych ward, the novel is Kirshenbaum’s first in 10 years. In addition to her seven novels, Krishenbaum has also written a collection of short stories. 


The Octopus Museum, the fifth book of poems from alumna Brenda Shanghnessy ’98 is set in the “nearish” future and consists of prose poems that meditate on our earth crisis. A recipient of a Guggenheim, she has been shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize, as well as  the Kingsley Tufts Award.  


A debut novel from alumna Lauren Wilkinson ’13, American Spy, grew out of a prompt in class with Professor John Freeman, to write about suburbia in America. Set in the Cold War era, the result is a deeply nuanced spy thriller that engages far-ranging questions of competing political ideologies, moral compromise, race and gender. 


America, its trials and tribulations, is also the subject of the latest book from faculty member Brenda Wineapple, whose insightful and timely, The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation provides much needed context for our vulnerable political moment.