Suggested One Read: The Secret History of Home Economics

The Secret History of Home EconomicsIt’s only a few weeks until January when our One Read reading panel begins to narrow down the list! There are many nominated books for our community-wide reading program for 2022 and we appreciate the panel’s effort on our behalf. In the meanwhile, please continue to enjoy our reviews of some of the suggested titles. 

The Secret History of Home Economics” opens with the stories of Ellen Swallow Richards, MIT graduate, chemist and public health official, and of Margaret Murray Washington, who created the program at Tuskegee and authored “Work for the Colored Women of the South,” the first household manual for Black women. We learn about the home economists who helped spread the Electrification Program in farm country and those who worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to help women feed their families during the Great Depression.

Read how the field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and businesspeople. Danielle Dreilinger’s book honors these pioneers for their common goal to improve women’s lives with education and science, to strengthen the family and to give women the tools they needed to prosper as modernization spread through city and farm.

Catch up on earlier reviews or check back for more One Read nominees. We will be posting throughout the month of December.




Suggested One Read: One Thousand Ships

Welcome back! We had so many great suggestions for next year’s One Read program — just over 200 responses! Nominations are now closed and while we wish we could share them all, we’re just sharing a few nominations during the rest of December.

Today’s highlighted title is “A Thousand Ships” by Natalie Haynes. The nominator says that this is “a modern retelling of the Trojan War.” But this time the story is told from the perspective of the women — not just Penelope waiting for Odysseus’ return, but all the wives left behind, all the daughters left vulnerable, and all the mothers who lost children. And of coarse there’s Helen and the goddesses who started the whole thing. There are also the Amazon princesses who fought Achilles and, of course, Cassandra is not to be believed. No matter how times change, war remains achingly the same.

Check back Friday for our next title and you can check out some of the other titles suggested for One Read 2022.

Suggested One Read: The Code Breaker we eagerly await the next step in our One Read selection process, which is the January review and selection by our One Read reading panel, we are sharing some of the suggested titles with you. This short review is of “The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson.

To read the story of Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR research pioneer and 2020 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, is to also read about DNA, RNA and genetic manipulation. About early days of gene splicing techniques and developing tools to fight coronaviruses. Author Walter Isaacson takes readers “into the breach” when Doudna leads her Berkley colleagues and other Bay Area scientists to begin the fight against Covid-19 on Friday, March 13, 2020. I agree with the nominator who said: “Very relevant current topic — very readable — superb true story” as Isaacson gives life to the research, conferences, scientist partners and other aspects of Doudna’s professional life. 

Would you like to read other recommendations?  You can find past suggestions here.

Suggested One Read: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Fire Keeper's Daughter

We are highlighting some of the titles that members of the community have suggested for next year’s One Read. The One Read reading panel is hard at work narrowing down the list to about 10 titles. The titles will be reviewed for adaptability and suitability for community-wide programming. You can learn more about the process and see past One Read winners here.

Today’s pick is “Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley. This debut young adult book is about a young bi-racial girl who is an unenrolled tribal member trying to figure out where she belongs. She witnesses a murder and gets caught up in a criminal investigation and subsequently drawn in as an FBI informant. She struggles between what is best for her tribe, her family and herself. This book was nominated because it looks at “Native American history.” Other themes are of a “teenager dealing with identity and drugs in their community.” It is also written by a Native American author.

The nominating process is now closed but we will continue highlighting titles through the rest of December. You can find more suggested titles here.

Suggested One Read: Calling Me Home

Calling me HomeWe continue sharing with you some of the titles that other readers have suggested while we wait for January, when our One Read reading panel begins to narrow down the list of books nominated for our community-wide reading program.

Today we bring to you “Calling Me Home,” a story woven between a forbidden love and tragic consequences in 1930s Kentucky and 60 years later a journey by two women travelling across the country. The nominator says: “An unlikely friendship forms between two adults with very different backgrounds. They navigate sensitive subject matter on their way to a funeral.” Whose funeral is it? Why is the younger woman willing to rearrange her plans to accompany her 89-year-old friend with only a day’s notice? Author Julie Kibler catches you into her narrative, telling the story with grace and anticipation.

Would you like to read our other reviews? Click here.