For a lot of people it almost seems like a novel concept: a collection of books at an academic library that you can read for fun and relaxation, and not because a prof has required it for an assignment or exam. But guess what? This is a thing that exists at Woodward Library! A couple of years ago Woodward joined the Great Reads initiative at UBC Library and began offering a collection of popular leisure reading. The point of the Great Reads collection is to give students and community members books they can read, not for strictly academic reasons, but because sometimes it’s just nice to read a book . And if it seems like Woodward is an odd choice to join a leisure reading initiative, then boy are you in for a surprise.
Not only does the Woodward Great Reads collection include several works of fiction, like Life of Pi, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Neal Stephenson’s The Confusion, but the non-fiction collection is eclectic and surprising. For the layperson, there are several iterations of the Very Short Introductions series on topics like Bacteria, Fossils, and Robotics. There are books on topics ranging from the seemingly insignificant (The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms) to the building blocks of modern medical research (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks); from the mildly absurd (This is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research) to the moderately terrifying (Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things). And of course, I can’t understand how anyone could pass up The True History of Chocolate.
The good news is Woodward Library has books you can read for fun. The bad news is you will eventually have to finish your assigned readings.
– Melanie Cassidy, Woodward Library Student Librarian