Pamela Herd reading a book
Category: General News, Student Experience

Title: 5 must-read books for winter break

FantasticLand book cover


Associate Professor of the Practice Jasmine Tyler recommends FantasticLand, a “riveting read” by Mike Bockoven. The suspense thriller takes place in the aftermath of an extreme weather event that hits the Florida coast, ravaging an amusement park and leaving its college-aged employees stranded. 

“The trained skeleton staff goes Lord of the Flies,” said Tyler. To survive, they compete for social dominance, medicine, human flesh and food. FantasticLand is told through first-person interviews of survivors, exploring the nightmarish events from multiple perspectives.

“It may be fiction, but it is totally disturbing, yet believable. You won’t want to put it down!”

Empire of Pain book cover

Empire of Pain

Assistant Professor Rebecca Johnson recommends Empire of Pain for its portrayal of the opioid crisis and “how bureaucracies like the FDA and DOJ struggled to rein in bad company practices.” The best-selling novel, written by investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe, helped inspire Hulu’s award-winning miniseries “Dopesick.”

“While other accounts of the opioid crisis vividly show the harms for individual patients and communities, this book zoomed out and highlighted the regulatory failures behind the crisis,” said Johnson.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone book cover

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Teaching Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Barbara Schone recommends bestselling author and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb’s personal account as both a clinician and patient. Gottlieb, who is also the author of the “Dear Therapist” column in The Atlantic, challenges our perceptions of therapy with humor and humility. ABC is developing a television series with Eva Longoria based on the memoir.

A Monetary and Fiscal History of the U.S. book cover

A Monetary and Fiscal History of the United States, 1961–2021

Teaching Professor Andreas Kern recommends Alan S. Blinder’s “fascinating” account of monetary and fiscal policy in the United States, spanning 12 presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden, and eight Federal Reserve chairs, from William McChesney Martin to Jerome Powell.

“This book is extremely insightful and provides a wonderful panoramic view of the inner workings of the U.S. economic policymaking process,” said Kern.

The Body Keeps the Score book cover

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Associate Professor Day Manoli recommends The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Leading researcher and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk explores how traumatic stress reshapes the body and brain, limiting individuals’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control and trust. 

“The book was very emotional and insightful in understanding trauma, but the ideas on recovery and healing from trauma were super inspiring,” said Manoli. “While people face extreme adversity in a variety of ways, it’s amazing to see how people can and do persevere and overcome.”