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What Are You Reading?

May 12th, 2017

The beginning of a new term is the perfect time to do some personal reading. The course work is usually not too heavy (yet) and the weather is perfect for outdoor leisure. Check out these recommendations from students and faculty around campus to help bulk up your spring reading list.

 Alamut by Vladimir Bartol (1938) and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (1987)

 “I'm currently reading two books that are not work related. First is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. I have had it for literally years and never picked it up until I heard about the TV series (which apparently is totally different than the book). I figured I might as well give it a shot. So far, quite good. The other is Alamut by Vladimir Bartol. It is a Slovenian novel from the early 20th century that is about the historical Hashsashin (Assassin) order. It is apparently an inspiration for the video game Assassin's Creed, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how. Good book though.” - Dr. Andrew Bretz, Professor of English Literature


Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre (2012)     

Bad Pharma is a non-fiction book that focuses on the effect that pharmaceutical companies have on medical research and the medical field in general. Written by an actual physician, the book explores different systems and regulations that are in place that benefit the pharmaceutical industry as opposed to being patient-focused.

“I'd recommend it because it illustrates the origin and modes in which the pharmaceutical industry commercializes their drug products. The industry's pervasive political and financial lobbying reach allows them to market their products in an increasingly unregulated manner, which results in negative price, quality, and information outcomes for consumers. The author does a great job of presenting the facts and a critical analysis of the effects of big money in the relationship between corporations and government.” - Antonio Brieva, Feds President


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013)

 The Goldfinch is the story of Theodore Decker, who loses his mother in a terrorist attack at a gallery when he is 13 years old. Decker survives the attack and leaves the scene with a special memento: a painting from the Dutch Golden Age called The Goldfinch. The painting stays with Decker throughout his life as he tells his story of following a dark path.

 “It's really interesting so far! When I have time to read I find it really hard to put down. I would recommend it to people who don't need super happy entertaining reads because it is not chipper or happy.” - Rameesha Quazi, Editor, Imprint


 Anxious in Love: How to Manage Your Anxiety, Reduce Conflict and Reconnect with Your Partner by Carolyn Daitch and Lissah Lorberbaum (2012)

 This non-fiction book provides tips and tools to manage anxiety within relationships of any commitment level, whether just casually dating or have been serious for years.

 “I would totally recommend it to any people looking to develop their own awareness and enhance their anxiety coping skills. As well as for those who are partners to those with anxiety, it would be a good resource for them too.” - Scarlett Gillespie, performer for GLOW, model for UW Fine Arts


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling (2000)

 The fourth book in the Harry Potter series, The Goblet of Fire focuses on Harry and his classmates dealing with yet another dangerous year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This year the danger takes the form of the Tri Wizard Tournament and lots of new characters who are not as they seem.

 “I'd recommend this book because it's the one where everything really ramps up in the series. He's not just taking potions and flying cars anymore, there is actual death and torture to worry about now. It's a huge book but the pace just flies as you're reading it; you're halfway through before you know it. However, I would not recommend reading it in hard copy, paper form. I used a digital copy and it was much easier to transport.” - Anita Meng, Rhetoric, Media and Professional Communications Major


The Illegal by Lawrence Hill (2015)

 Written by Canadian author, The Illegal tells the story of Keita Ali, a marathon runner living in a strict, fictional Indian Ocean country called Zantoroland. The book won the Canada Reads 2016 competition, marking the second time Hill has won. Bibliophiles will recognize him as the author of the incredibly successful Book of Negroes.

 “I really enjoyed The Illegal, so much that I gave it to my dad. I think it's the first piece of Canadian Lit he's actually read through that wasn't mentioned in Bloomberg [a business publication]. And as for what I have on the go right now, I'm reading Paper Girls by Brian Vaughn and just picked up but haven't started Fire by Elie Wiesel.” - Joshua Goldschmidt, Imprint Copy Editor


 If you're still searching for a great read to add to your routine, don't forget to check with the professionals or go online to see what others are reading.

 “A great resource to go to to see what students and staff are reading at UW is Waterloo Reads,” said Library Associate Jan Uhde. “If you need to contact an individual librarian by subject you can go to the librarians by subject page for contact information. That's useful if you want to find a book in a certain genre, say historical fiction or fantasy.”      

And of course students are always welcome to go up to the information desks at the library and ask for tips on a good book. Librarians can help you find not only specific authors and genres but also help you pick out something lighter to balance your course readings. Then again, if you're off for the term they can also help you assemble a hefty reading list to help you improve, imagine or learn this spring.


Written by Leanna Walsh, Communications Assistant