“You Just Have to Read This…” Books by Wesleyan Authors Gottlieb ’94, Scolnik ’78, Shanok ’98

In this continuing series, Annie Roach ’22, an English and Italian studies major from Northampton, Mass., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Uncontrolled Spread book coverScott Gottlieb ’94, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic (Harper, 2021)

Since March 2020, the news cycle has been riddled with despair, conflicting information, and false theories. Even with vaccines, social distancing, and masking, COVID-19 isn’t going away, and the next pandemic could be around the corner. Since our realities have changed so much, it’s hard to pinpoint where and when exactly the United States (and the world) went wrong in handling the COVID-19 crisis, and what the best steps are moving forward. In his new book Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, physician and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb addresses everyone’s most pressing questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and consolidates his answers into a strong, cohesive narrative.

Gottlieb offers a path forward that is hopeful yet urgent, compelling his readers and the American government to be proactive about preventing a future crisis that could be even more devastating than the one we’ve already experienced. Using historical knowledge, epidemiology, and political science, Gottlieb forms a strong argument that will leave readers with a clearer understanding of the world we’ve been inhabiting and a more urgent mission to improve its future.

Scott Gottlieb is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as the twenty-third commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administrator and is a contributor to CNBC and a partner at New Enterprise Associates. He is a member of Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees. He is on the board of directors of Pfizer Inc. and Illumina, Inc. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Paris Blue book coverJulie Scolnik ’78, Paris Blue: A Memoir of First Love (Koehler Books, 2021)

“It was as if a movie camera panning casually across a sea of faces stopped and focused on just one: a young, striking man, around thirty years old, sitting at the end of the second row of basses,” writes Julie Scolnik in her new memoir Paris Blue, describing the moment when, amongst the faces of the Orchestre de Paris, she first laid eyes upon the married, quiet Frenchman Luc, with whom she would soon fall in love. When the memoir starts, Scolnik is an extroverted, curious twenty-year-old Wesleyan student studying the flute in Paris. By the epilogue, the reader has traveled twenty-five years with Scolnik and has experienced her transformation as she navigated the relationship and several iterations of heartbreak and separation. Through it all, Scolnik’s passion for classical music shines through, and her prose itself is musical and radiant as she unravels her story.

It’s a rare delight to find a memoir that reads like a novel, and Scolnik’s book can count itself among this elite group. The author delivers beautiful prose, a precise memory, and a heart-pounding story that will have readers flicking through the pages feverishly to find out what happens next. Fans of travel, romance, and music will be obsessed.

Julie Scolnik is a concert flutist. She is the founding artistic director of Mistral Music, a series and ensemble that she founded with her husband in 1997. She has released two solo CDs, “Salut d’Amour & Other Songs of Love” and “Bejeweled: Short Concert Gems.” She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her family.

Thriving in Graduate School book coverArielle Shanok ’98, Thriving in Graduate School: The Expert’s Guide to Success and Wellness (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021)

“Above all else, we [the editors] encourage you to take care of yourself. Your journey is unique but you are not alone,” reads the Introduction of Thriving in Graduate School, a friendly and detailed guide to surviving the often-intimidating world of graduate school. The book features chapters written by a diverse group of experts who have experienced grad school themselves and have professional and personal wisdom to impart. A majority of the contributors are psychologists, and as the introduction indicates, preserving and encouraging good mental health is at the forefront of the book’s mission.

Each writer is comforting and honest, providing a good balance between emphasizing the positive and exciting aspects of graduate school and being candid about the many struggles that grad students must often face, from being minorities in their programs to juggling parenthood to experiencing burnout and stress. The chapters provide both personal anecdotes and general advice, and there is something useful in each essay for everyone. Even undergraduates may find that the book proves to be relevant to their lives. In a time riddled by the COVID-19 pandemic, so many students will appreciate the solace that this book provides.

Arielle Shanok is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. She works as the Deputy Director of the Wellness Center for Student Counseling Services at City University of New York’s Graduate Center. In addition to co-authoring and co-editing Thriving in Graduate School, she has published articles and book chapters focusing on psychotherapy effectiveness, gender, money, and adolescent pregnancy.