Book recommendations to start 2023 off on the right track


Skyler Jensen

Camille Abdel-Jawad recommends these five books to Park students.

If your New Year’s resolution was to read more books, then you’re in luck. Camille Abdel-Jawad, Park University’s instruction and outreach librarian, has recommendations that you can check out for free from Park’s library in Norrington Center.

She selected a range of books, nonfiction and fiction, that students might be interested in. “I think that these books are going to be really interesting for students and will start them off on the right foot of reading this year,” Abdel-Jawad said.

Her recommendations were:

  • “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry
  • “Out of the Fire” by Andrea Contos
  • “After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made” by Ben Rhodes
  • “Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • “Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases” by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher

Abdel-Jawad said she recommended “Book Lovers” because, “it is a really excellent book about a woman who works in publishing who finds the love of her life in an unusual or unexpected way.” This romantic comedy book was released earlier in 2022 and will surely be a hit with those who love this genre.

“Out of the Fire,” on the other hand, is for those who love a little bit of mystery. School Library Journal summarizes this book as a young woman who is sent notes after she escaped her kidnapper to remind her that he is still out there. She resigns herself to living in fear when she meets three other women who want revenge on those who wronged them. This book has several twists to keep you guessing until the very end.

“After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made” is a nonfiction book that is part memoir and part reporting according to Goodreads. The book focuses on Ben Rhodes, who worked for President Barack Obama and traveled the world to see how America’s democracy impacts other countries as well as to learn more about politics in other countries. This complex book looks to see where America could improve as a country and how our past impacts not only our country, but also the world.

In “Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes a hard look at sexism and sexual violence in Europe and the Middle East. Ali was raised in Somalia and suffered through female genitalia mutilation under the nation’s oppressive culture. After fleeing to the Netherlands, she noticed that some of the oppressive culture followed her as other refugees fled there as well. This book looks at oppressive cultures and how Europe could improve the integration of immigrants.  Along with this, it shows how refugees need to adopt some Western beliefs to help create more positive conversations about immigrants while allowing Ali to speak her truth.

Lastly, Abdel-Jawad said she is recommending the memoir, “Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases” by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher. In the book, Holes describes the toll and the rewards of solving crime his entire life. She said, “I know that a lot of our students and people in general are really interested in true crime, and I think this will give them a good look at what that really looks like.” She added that it is especially perfect for any criminal justice majors interested in cold cases, crime, or the FBI.

All of these books are available to check out through the Park University Library in Norrington Center. Abdel-Jawad said that students can find these books in the library’s popular reading collection located on the first floor. This collection is updated every month.

She added that student workers are available at the information desk to check books out during the hours that the library is open. These hours are Monday-Thursday: 7:30 am-9:00 pm, Friday: 7:30 am-4:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am-4:00 pm, and Sunday: 4 pm-9 pm.