Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us

David Ropeik (BSJ72, MSJ73)

In some ways our fear of cancer exceeds the risk, and the fear does great harm all by itself. “Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us” explores the history and psychology of those fears, documents the massive harm they cause, and reviews efforts to reduce that harm.

Thousands are injured, and hundreds killed, by treatment for types of ‘overdiagnosed’ breast, prostate, thyroid, and lung cancer that would never harm the4 patient, frightened into more treatment than their clinical conditions require because the frightening “C word” is in the diagnosis. $5.3 b/yr is spent on this clinically unnecessary treatment.
Our fear of cancer leads millions to screen though not in the groups for which screening is recommended, even though research shows they are more likely to be harmed than helped. We spend $9.2 b/yr on this “overscreening”.

Fear of cancer leads to disproportionate government spending to reduce cancer risk compared to what is spent on other major health threats. We spend billions on products that promise to reduce our cancer risk, but don’t. Fear of cancer impedes the use of technologies that could provide great benefit, like fluoridation of drinking water and non-greenhouse gas emitting nuclear power.

By bringing this issue to public attention, “Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us” hopes to help reduce all those harms.


The Blues Brothers

Daniel de Visé (MSJ90)

In the first half of this exhaustively researched, highly informative book, de Visé, the author of King of the Blues and Andy & Don, provides an in-depth profile of the upbringing and career arcs of the film’s stars: the immensely talented, overgrown child John Belushi, who needed constant stimulation and elicited among his friends and colleagues the need to protect; and the quieter, highly intelligent Dan Aykroyd. The author also describes the rivalry-rich, drug-fueled evolution of 1970s comedy in the forms of Saturday Night Live, National Lampoon, and Chicago’s Second City group, all of which laid the groundwork for the movie. Gleaned from primary research and interviews with Aykroyd and director John Landis, among others, the narrative details the relationship between Belushi and Aykroyd, the sincerity with which they immersed themselves in the blues to live out their fantasies of fronting a great band, and how they overcame accusations of cultural appropriation to revive and amplify the careers of talents such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Cab Calloway. The book is also the definitive scene-by-scene account of a film—ambitious and over budget, panned by most critics of the day—that endures as a well-written and directed comedy doubling as a loving homage to a uniquely American genre and its capital city. A complete portrait of a classic film and the zeitgeist of its era.


Keep This Off The Record

Arden Joy (BSJ16)

Abigail Meyer and Freya Jonsson can’t stand one another. But could their severe hatred be masking something else entirely? From the moment they locked eyes in high school, Abby and Freya have been at each other’s throats. Ten years later, when Abby and Freya cross paths again, their old rivalry doesn’t take more than a few minutes to begin anew. And now Naomi, Abby’s best friend, is falling for Freya’s producer and close pal, Will. Both women are thrilled to see their friends in a happy relationship – except they are now only a few degrees of separation from the person they claim to despise… and they can’t seem to avoid seeing one another. After their encounters repeatedly devolve into warfare, Abby and Freya’s friends decide their age-old rivalry can only mean one thing: true love. Will their friends bring them together? Or will Freya’s refusal to admit who she is keep them from discovering their underlying passion? “Keep This Off The Record” is a fun and fresh LGBTQIA+ story about the freedom to be who you are, even if that means falling for the person you hate.


What Music! The Fifty-Year Friendship Between Beethoven and Nannette Streicher, Who Built His Pianos

Laurie Lawlor (BSJ75)

Inspiring, little-known story of two artists who changed each other’s lives and the course of musical history. Illustrated picture book for music enthusiasts age 6 and up.


Everybody Here is Kin

BettyJoyce Nash (MSJ88)

On Boneyard Island, Georgia, where everyone’s weirdly kin, thirteen-year-old Lucille is marooned when her mother goes AWOL with an old flame, leaving Lucille with only her father’s ashes, two half-siblings, and Will, the misanthropic manager of the island’s only motel. The abandonment kills hope of Lucille’s promised snorkeling trip to the Florida Reef before ocean heat kills the coral, and illusions she’s harbored about her mother’s sanity. Everybody Here is Kin explores the lives of this sinking family, the island community, and fears of exposing wounds, old and new, when natural disaster forces them to trust, and depend on, strangers.


Higher Power: An American Town’s Story of Faith, Hope, and Nuclear Energy

Casey Bukro (BSJ58, MSJ61)

Nuclear power once promised to be the solution to the world’s energy crisis, but that all changed in the late twentieth century after multiple high-profile accidents and meltdowns. Power plant workers, finding themselves the subject of public opposition, became leery of reporters. But one plant in Zion, Illinois, just forty miles north of Chicago, allowed unrestricted access to one journalist: the Chicago Tribune’s Casey Bukro, one of the first environment reporters in the country. Bukro spent two years inside the Zion nuclear plant, interviewing employees, witnessing high-risk maintenance procedures, and watching the radiation exposure counter on his own dosimeter tick up and up.

In Higher Power, Bukro’s reporting from the plant is prefaced by a compelling history of the city of Zion, including a tell-all of John Alexander Dowie, a nineteenth-century “faith healer” who founded Zion, and whose evangelism left a mark on the city well into the modern era, even as a new “higher” power—nuclear energy—moved into town.

With the acceleration of climate change, the questions and challenges surrounding nuclear power have never been more relevant. How did the promise of nuclear energy stumble? Should we try to address the mistakes made in the past? What part could nuclear power play in our energy future? Higher Power explores these questions and examines one American town’s attempts to build a better society as a bellwether for national policy and decision making


Mind Game: An Inside Look at the Mental Health Playbook of Elite Athletes

Julie Kliegman (BSJ13)

“In Mind Game: An Inside Look at the Mental Health Playbook of Elite Athletes,” Julie Kliegman offers insight into how elite athletes navigate mental performance and mental illness—and what non-athletes can learn from them. She explores the recent mental health movement in sports, the history and practice of sport psychology, the stereotypes and stigmas that lead athletes to keep their troubles to themselves, and the ways in which injury and retirement can throw wrenches in their mental states. Kliegman also examines the impacts of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance use, and more, with a keen eye toward moving forward with acceptance, progress, and problem-solving.

Featuring insightful interviews with Olympians Chloe Kim, McKayla Maroney, and Adam Rippon, NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, former U.S. Open tennis champ Bianca Andreescu, and many other athletes and experts, “Mind Game” breaks down the ongoing, heartening movement of athletes across sports coming forward to get the care they need and deserve—and to help others feel safe opening up about their struggles, as well.


Into the Soul of the World

Brad Wetzler (MSJ91)

This powerful memoir shares an adventure journalist’s story of a decade-long, round-the-world quest to overcome his drug addiction and to understand and heal from past traumas.

Suffering from PTSD and severe depression from past trauma, battling an addiction to overprescribed psychiatric medication, and at the rock bottom of his career, journalist Brad Wetzler had nowhere to go. So he set out on a journey to wander and hopefully find himself—and the world—again.

“Into the Soul of the World” is Wetzler’s thrilling, impactful, and heartrending memoir of healing—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. An adventure journalist at heart, Wetzler mixes travelogue with empowering insights about his inner journey to better care for his own mental health. Journey with him as he travels across Israel and the West Bank, before moving on to India, a candle-lit cave on a mountaintop in the Himalayan foothills, and a life-changing encounter with a 100-year-old yogi.

Wetzler’s writing is full of the poignant, amusing, and occasionally heart‑breaking situations that unfold when we finally decide to confront depression (or any mental health struggle) and declare ourselves ready to heal: How do we heal our past and thrive again? What does it mean to live a good life? How can we transform our suffering and serve others? His answer: live to tell the story and find the humility and courage to be the best human you can be.


The Psilocybin Handbook for Women: How Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelic Therapy, and Microdosing Can Benefit Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Health

Jennifer Chesak (BSJ03)

The Psilocybin Handbook for Women: How Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelic Therapy, and Microdosing Can Benefit Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Health by Jennifer Chesak [978-1-64604-4986; $16.95; Ulysses Press; June 2023] is a resource for everyone, although it features information specific to those assigned female at birth—because psychedelics may have different effects and applications across the sexes.

This informative guidebook is packed full with everything you need to know about psilocybin (A.K.A. magic mushrooms), including its history, potential medicinal and recreational benefits, the latest evidence-based research, how to microdose and trip sit, and more. With The Psilocybin Handbook for Women, you’ll also get the answers to some of your most pressing questions, like:
-Does psilocybin affect women differently?
-Does it matter where I am in my cycle when I use psilocybin?
-Can psilocybin help with menstrual migraines, endometriosis, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder?
-Will psilocybin boost my sex life?
-Do hormones have an impact on the entourage effect?
-What the heck is the entourage effect?
-And more!

Author Jennifer Chesak is a medical journalist and fact-checker who knows what it’s like to live with chronic illness and get medically gaslighted. “I am the type of girl who does her research—like a lot of it,” she says. “I’ve researched psilocybin at length, specifically how psilocybin affects and may help women or people assigned female at birth, whether therapeutically, spiritually, or recreationally. You’ll find a synthesis of that research—along with personal stories, including my own—in this book.”

No other book on psilocybin investigates the intersection of magic mushrooms with women’s health, and Chesak’s intent is to guide you through the growing body of research regarding psilocybin’s potential and provide you the safety details and considerations should you choose to use magic mushrooms.


Who We Are Now

Lauryn Chamberlain (BSJ14)

Four friends. Fifteen years. Who We Are Now is a story of Sliding Doors moments, those seemingly small choices of early adulthood that determine the course of our lives.

It is 2006 and Rachel, Clarissa, Dev, and Nate are best friends, seniors on the eve of their graduation from Northwestern. Their whole lives are before them, at once full of promise and anxiety. Bound to one another as they are, they imagine their closeness will last forever—but things change as they take their first steps away from one another and into adulthood.

Each year is told from one character’s point of view, and in that way, we stride swiftly through their lives. These four friends feel their twenties and thirties flying by, and suddenly small moments fast become regrets or unexpected boons, decisions they’ll spend years wishing they could undo and choices that come to define them. As the foursome endure professional setbacks, deep loss, and creative success, fortunes shift and friendships strain—and it will take a tragic turn of events to bring them together again.

Who We Are Now is a poignant story of epic friendship that jumps boldly through the years, moving at the same unforgiving pace as does that precious, confusing time between college and real life.