My Top 5 Books for UVic Life

Photo by Emil Widlund via

There’s an old wanderlust saying that goes, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” I think this quote can apply, in many ways, to reading. In a time where outwards travel occurs so rarely, it’s always useful to find moments of traveling within our own safe spaces. Traveling within books.

During my four years at UVic, reading has held an unspoken role in my development. Whether it’s a fiction or non-fiction story, I think any book can teach us something new, something beyond our own lives.

The following book recommendations have played this pivotal role during my university life. A small disclaimer, I don’t believe that anyone needs to read every book on this list. What makes the act of “traveling” truly real is that you enjoy the book first.

However, if you were like me and don’t know where to start, allow this handful of books to act as your guided suggestions (They are listed in no particular order).

1. Educated

By Tara Westover

This beautiful autobiography illustrates the struggles a young girl has with her family, in a rural home isolated from the world. Through the slow exposure to education, she begins to find a new understanding not only for society but also as an individual; She learns what it means to be transformed through education.


2. The Martian

By Andy Weir

The astronaut Mark Watney is trapped in a desolate landscape that no other human has ventured before: Mars. Alone, injured, and trapped, he’s forced to find a new way to survive on this planet with every inch of knowledge and technology at his disposal.


3. A Mind for Numbers 

By Dr. Barbara Oakley

As every student knows, studying will play a central role in our academic life. Sometimes it will feel like the only role. The author interrelates strategies within psychology, mathematics, and storytelling, to help us find more effective ways to grasp our studies. Although the title states “A Mind for Numbers,” the text builds a mind for university learning.


4. Sapiens

By Yuval Noah Harari

Regardless of the faculty and major you pursue, it’s important to know where we all came from, where the history of humankind began. Even more so, it’s amazing to learn how our species developed and the hurdles we had to accomplish together to achieve the civilizations we have today.


5. To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

This novel, as many of us are familiar with, is hard to summarize in a few sentences. I think the best way to articulate my thoughts about this book is with the famous line from Atticus Finch, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view…until you climb into their skin and walk around in it.”


(Bonus) The Gene: An Intimate History

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

This book is reserved for the science nerds out there, especially those interested in majors within biology, biochemistry, or microbiology. Every chapter holds a wealth of information that can be derived and applied to our scientific classes at UVic. The author creates a romantic relationship with the history of genetics and the history of society from these discoveries. Through the acts of experimentation and further inquiry, we delve into the great minds of the past and learn what it truly means to be a scientific thinker.


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