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Written by on March 28, 2013

The history of fun reading

This is a guest post by Kristen Thorp, the Student Assistant Coordinator for Access Services. In her spare time she manages the library’s Good Reads collection. She’s excited to receive her MLIS in June.

Good Reads are just that: good reads! The Good Reads collection at Kennedy Library is here for your fun reading. This small collection of fiction and non-fiction books is the phoenix of Kennedy Library. Around since the late 1970s, before we were even in this building, it was born as Recreation Reading, re-birthed as The Browsing Collection and is now resurrected as Good Reads. We have more readers than ever! You can find Good Reads on the second floor by Julian’s Café.

Here is a quick look back on the history of fun reading at Kennedy Library…

The first two books ordered for this collection were If life is like a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits? by Erma Bombeck and The Proud Breed by Celeste DeBlasis. Check out this awesome cover:

Proud Breed book cover









Our purchase request was filled out using a typewriter.

Then, I couldn’t help but wonder about the books that were purchased around the week of my birth in 1982. We ordered Ike and Mamie by Lester and Irene David, Confessions of a Homing Pigeon by Nicholas Meyer and Guns Don’t Die — People Do by Pete Shields. And perhaps my favorite, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Which is still available to checkout!

Image of Playboy Interviews with Lennon










Undergrads currently attending Cal Poly were likely born between 1993-1996. Here are some of the books the library ordered during those years. Do you recognize any authors and titles?

Revolution from Within by Gloria Steinem. Steinem has written six other books and countless articles about women’s rights.

Sum of all Fears by Tom Clancy. This is the 5th thriller by Clancy to feature Jack Ryan. His newest novel, Threat Vector, features Jack Ryan Jr.

“I” is for Innocent by Sue Grafton. This series is still going strong; the latest is V for Vengeance.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Two years ago we asked students what they wanted to read and Cormac McCarthy was one of the most mentioned authors in the survey.

Pelican Brief by John Grisham. Once a lawyer, Grisham has written over 25 suspense thrillers. His newest The Racketeer is in Good Reads now.

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a sequel to her first novel Bean Trees.

Here’s what an invoice from 1993 looked like:

Scan of 1993 invoiceSure, I’ve featured some big names, but trust me, there are plenty of obscure titles and authors who are long since forgotten.

Your Good Reads collection is here for you! Join us on to read reviews and find out what’s new. Tweet book titles you want to see in the collection to @REKlibrary.

Proud Breed book cover from Amazon. The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono cover is from

Read more on good reads, goodreads, kennedy library, and kristen thorp.

2 comments on “The history of fun reading
  1. Jan Kline says:

    Ha! I knew there was a reason I saved all that ancient paperwork. Nice post!

  2. Nick says:

    lol.. reading your post reminded me that my library books are due tomorrow! Thank you!

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