It feels strange to write “thrilling” and “cholera” in the same sentence, but “The Ghost Map” by science writer Steven Johnson is a thrilling historical account of a horrible cholera outbreak in Victorian London. The reader who nominated this title for One Read calls it a “fascinating” story about the early detection of communicable disease. At the center of this tale is Dr. John Snow who revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science and the modern world.
This work of nonfiction moves quickly, with the central characters working to solve this public health puzzle. The blending of history, science and medicine make this an engaging read.
See what other books your fellow readers have suggested for One Read 2014!
With her debut novel “The Coldest Winter Ever,” first published in 1999, hip-hop artist and activist Sister Souljah spawned the new genre of urban fiction. Gritty, realistic and often raw, these works typically feature African-American main characters in a contemporary setting and deal with relationships, violence and street life. In this groundbreaking book, Santiaga, the daughter of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful drug kingpins, uses her own weapons – including sex and an aggressive attitude – to stay on top after her father’s empire is threatened by a drug war.
Our nominator describes this novel as “one of the first works of African-American fiction incorporating love, real struggles, crime and morality.” This reader believes it would make a great community read because “it sends subliminal messages of worth while lighting the flame to seek knowledge through one girl’s story. I loved and hated the characters, yet I can see how all races can grow to understand how to educate and relate to the young, urban African-Americans in our communities through her novels, thus seeing [these young people] as an asset and not a liability.”
Read about other books nominated for One Read 2014.
An area reader has nominated Daphne Miller’s “Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing” for One Read 2014. Our nominator writes that this book “addresses concerns about sustainability and living with nature as opposed to trying to fight nature.”
Miller, a physician, offers an approach to sustainable health and healing based on the intimate link between farming and medicine, interweaving the wisdom of farmers committed to sustainable agriculture with the expertise of scientists and researchers. With the increased concern about where our food comes from and how its production affects the health of people and the planet, this is a timely read.
Check out the other One Read nominations we’ve highlighted this month.
Novelist Barbara Kingsolver is known for using literary fiction to deliver social messages, and her book “Flight Behavior,” nominated for One Read 2014, is no exception with its focus on global warming. Dellarobia Turnbow is a discontent Tennessee farm wife engaging in a flirtatious relationship with a younger man when she discovers what looks like an unusual fire in a forested valley behind her house. This curiosity turns out to be a mass of butterflies, their migration disrupted, which causes a stir in the scientific and local communities, garners a great deal of media attention and leads to Dellarobia confronting and questioning everything she thought she believed in.
An area reader thinks this book would make a great community read: “This book is more than one woman’s migration into self-sufficiency. It deals with ecological, environmental, religious and educational issues in a wryly humorous way.”
Want more book recommendations? See what your friends and neighbors are recommending for One Read.
In 2003, the community read Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” inspiring important discussions about race relations and social justice. This year, an area reader suggests another classic work be considered for One Read: “1984” by George Orwell.
In this dystopian novel, protagonist Winston Smith begins to question the totalitarian government, which watches and controls the actions of its citizens. Our nominator writes, “With revelations that government is tracking conversations, are we living in the Big Brother society predicted to happen 30 years ago? Also, this is the 65th anniversary of book’s publication.” A timely suggestion, indeed.
See other One Read 2014 nominations we’ve highlighted.