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South Florida Summer Reading Recommendations

On June 28, the University of South Florida was named “Preeminent State Research University” by the Florida Board of Governors. USF joins two other high-achieving Florida universities who have earned this designation. In keeping with this theme, University of South Florida College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen and team designated a few titles for ASPPH’s preeminent summer book list.

Here are summer reading recommendations from public health faculty.

Cuba: Behind the Embargoby Jason R. Old
“It’s a fantastic book about all things Cuba that you don’t always learn in the school systems in the United States. I’ve recently led a study abroad trip to Cuba during spring break, so I really enjoy reading and learning about things outside the traditional norms.”
– Ms. Deidre Orriola, instructor II of undergraduate studies

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson
“It’s all about the technology of using containers to ship goods around the world, which has been, surprisingly, transformative.”
-Dr. Troy Quast, associate professor of health policy and management

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattooby Amy Schumer
“It’s hilarious, I highly recommend it. It’s also really well written, and she’s very thoughtful and provocative. It’s a new woman’s manifesto of feminism, it’s a really great book, I would recommend.”
-Laura Rusnak, instructor II of undergraduate studies

Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Scienceby Carey Gillam
-Dr. Katherine Drabiak, assistant professor of bioethics and genomics

Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
“I think Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt is an excellent choice. This novel, which takes place in Ireland and Irish sections of the U.S. around the depression, paints a stark picture of what it’s like to be a child in a community with little social capital.”

Educatedby Tara Westover
“Eye opening account of a young woman growing up in a ‘survivalist’ family, with almost no education who manages to get to Cambridge and Harvard. Fascinating and inspiring.”

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
“Again, a perspective we don’t usually get about how folks in rural America see things.”
-Dr. Claudia Parvanta, professor of community and family health and director of the Florida Prevention Research Center

Bossypants, by Tina Fey
-Dr. Alicia L. Best, assistant professor of community and family health

The Relaxation Response, by Dr. Herbert Benson
“Because I am a yoga teacher and we do that in class!”
-Dr. Janice Zgibor, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics

Animal Farm, by George Orwell
-Dr. Makut Matawal, instructor I for undergraduate studies

Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information, by Paul Offit
Failure: Why Science Is So Successful, by Stuart Firestein
“Because science would be a better place if we could avoid the lost money and manpower wasted pursuing research that has already failed. Having a journal that chronicled failed attempts would be glorious…and a revelation.”
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou
“Because who didn’t see this coming?”
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, by John M. Barry
“Because influenza is inextricably bound with public health.”
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, by Rachel Ignotofsky
“Because it’s about time.”
The Fears of the Rich, The Needs of the Poor: My Years at the CDC,  by William H. Foege
“Because the title says more about the state of public health than any other phrase in the world. Except maybe ‘do you want fries with that?’”
-Dr. Marie Bourgeois, research assistant professor of environmental and occupational health

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
“I really enjoyed ‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee about a Korean family in Japan during the Japanese occupation of Korea.  The New York Times book review noted that the book addresses “unifying themes of identity, homeland and belonging,” themes that resonate with many of us these days.
-Dr. Donna J. Petersen, USF College of Public Health dean