Monday, January 8, 2018

January Library Love Feature

I signed up for the 2018 Library Love Challenge hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures & Brooke Blogs
The idea is to save money by borrowing books from and thus supporting the library.
On this blog I'm excited to be featuring the books that my library in-person book club will be reading each month.
If you're interested there is still time to sign up HERE and there is a giveaway associated with  the challenge too!

January Book Club read

Hidden Figures

ISBN-13: 9780062363602
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 12-06-2016
Length: 368pp


Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

My Thoughts

My first thoughts when I began reading this book was I was so glad that I didn't let the movie be my only experience because I would have missed so much of this exceptional story.
I was fascinated that a spark of curiosity by this first time author on a trip to visit her parents was the birth of this remarkable tale.
It also reminded me of how much is left out of our history books.
And finally it reminds me of the #metoo movement and how unfair society has treated women in general and how the US government closed some of these racial and social inequalities.

Now on to the review

For those of you living under a rock Hidden Figures is the story about the incredible group of women, "human computers" that helped win WWII and contributed to the success of the American Space Race. In particular its about four of these women Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden and Mary Jackson. (The movie only features Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson)

Dorothy Vaughn and Katherine Johnson

Christine Darden and Mary Jackson

From our entry into WWII through the civil rights movement, the cold war and the heart of the race to space these women were responsible for many of NASA's successes.
But it also should be mentioned that its the entire early NASA family that made this happen.

I was pleasantly surprised that the book doesn't read like a textbook but rather a journal of events that were way more interesting than I expected.

It was interesting to learn the history of Langley Air Force base, I was amazed that the Langley family were integrated earlier than the rest of the country according to the author's memories of growing up in this community (her father was a NASA engineer).
Arial view of Langley

I also didn't know that the space program began in WWII as a civilian arm of the US Army Air Corps, a laboratory dedicated to the scientific understanding of aeronautics for military and the private sector.

Wind Tunnel at Langley Lab

All in all I think it would be beneficial to read the book and then see the movie they're both fantastic and complement each other.
I'm glad I learned more about this important part of our history and hope that the powers that be are including it in school history books.

Lastly I'm glad that these brave, pioneering women received the recognition they so deserved.

This book will appeal to a multitude of audiences and should be on every school's must read list.

Bravo to these and all the women who have made this country and this world great beside and sometimes in spite of the men around them.

Here's a shout out to my library District and my branch


  1. What a great challenge because the library is my friend. I visit so often that they all know me name and rarely even have to use my library card. So many wonderful treasures there. I saw this movie, but I see that I definitely need to check out the book too. Hugs...RO

    1. I love my library I not only moderate the in person book club but volunteer at my branch and have served on the Board of Directors. I'm really glad I read the book. Happy Monday RO

  2. I love this idea! I read a book similar to this one, Rocket Girls and loved it! I watched the movie for this one and it was so good!

    1. We read Rocket Girls last year Kindlemom it was fantastic. Read this book Kindlemom you won't be sorry.

  3. What a great idea. I haven't been to the library in a while.

  4. Loved your pictures of your library. I must see if this book is in our library - as its also a movie I'd be surprised if it isn't. You've encouraged me to go read this one and then see the move. Thanks Debbie.

    1. Thanks Kathryn its a small branch in a rural town and such a treasure. I hope you enjoy it Kathryn!

  5. This is a great for a challenge! I would love to read this, the waiting list is quite long for it at our library though. I enjoyed all the pictures and information you shared too.

    1. Yeah I think since the movie was so successful that's how it is all over Jenea

  6. I have heard great things about this book and I am glad you enjoyed it. Have not watched the movie as yet.

  7. The Library Love challenge is the only one I join. I did it last year and it helped me to save so much money on books, plus support my local libraries at the same time. Glad you're participating, too!

    1. Great to know Dianna I look forward to seeing your posts!

  8. I'm excited about this challenge, too. And neat! I was hoping the book was even more than the movie which I liked a lot.

  9. I loved this movie. Now you have me really wanting to read the book. I agree that this should be on school's must read list. Such a great story about some truly remarkable women.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads & Books of My Heart