Suggested One Read: Hamnet

This is one of the last suggested titles we are highlighting for One Read 2022. In January the reading panel will start narrowing down the list!

Today’s title is “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. This book has won so many literary awards including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award and the Woman’s Prize for Fiction (which is featured as a task for the Read Harder 2022 reading challenge.) This is really the story Agnes who happens to be married to a not yet famous playwright and who, until now, was merely a footnote in history. One nominator says that it’s “a gem of a book, beautifully written.Topics include marriage, loss of a child, living through an epidemic — and how a writer (Shakespeare) uses that pain to honor his child by writing a play the loss has inspired.” Another nominator says that it has “incredible characters, beautiful descriptions.” We couldn’t agree more on both accounts! 

Be sure to check back for our final suggested One Read.

Suggested One Read: Great Circle

Great Circle book coverIn January, our One Read reading panel will begin narrowing down the list of books nominated for our community-wide reading program. In the meantime, we are highlighting just some of these suggested titles so you can see what other local readers are enjoying.

Maggie Shipstead’s “Great Circle” is based on the rich history of female aviation in the days of barnstorming, biplanes and bootleggers. This book’s nominator says this about it: “A story of a strong female character on an incredible journey. She is relatable and has wide-ranging experiences across different historical contexts.” As a child, Marion Graves is orphaned and raised haphazardly by her uncle. Graves goes on to learn to fly and to become one of the era’s aviators with great drive to do impossible things. One hundred years later Hadley Baxter, also orphaned young and left to an absentee uncle, is cast to play the role of Graves. Shipstead artfully weaves the story together as Baxter becomes immersed in her role and parallels develop between the two women’s lives.

Stay tuned for more One Read nominees throughout the month of December!

Suggested One Read: Mary Jane

Mary Jane book coverWe have just a few more nominated titles for One Read 2022 to share with you before the year ends. We are highlighting just some the many suggested titles so you can see what others are enjoying.

Today’s title is “Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau which is a story about a young girl who takes a summer job as a nanny for a local doctor’s little girl. Mary Jane is from a very conservative and straight-laced family but the doctor’s family is chaotic and full of rock and roll. The nominator says that this is technically a coming of age story, but so much more. It deals with class, racism, mental health issues, sexuality, addiction — so many things that feel relevant and ripe for discussion these days. Plus it’s all contained in a pleasant tale that will gift you a smile on your face.”

Stay tuned for more suggested titles! You can see past suggested titles here.

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.