“What We’re Reading” is a column about readers and the books they love, in their own words. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked two community organizers to share their recommendations for a book that celebrates women.
Founder Gulfport Votes 100%
Audiobook narrated by Cassandra Campbell
What It’s About: The story spans most of Martha’s life [Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter] and includes her travels to Paris with her father where she witnesses the beginning of the French Revolution and later the War of 1812. She served as First Lady twice – first for her widowed father when he was president, and then for her husband who became the Governor of Virginia. She birthed 12 children! We learn about the building, and destruction, of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home and experimental plantation. The book sheds light on the politics, personalities and prejudices of the era and brings to life not only the famous historical figures, but also those who lived in the shadows, like Jefferson’s consort, Sally Hemmings, who, as it turns out, was the half-sister of his wife.
Why I recommend it for Women’s History Month: This compelling, richly researched historical novel draws from thousands of letters and original sources. Through the lens of her life, I learned a lot about one of our most interesting founding fathers and many details of the difficult birth of our nation. Since the story is from Martha’s perspective, we also witness the many challenges of the time, particularly for women and Blacks, in a society that valued their lives more as property than as humans.
President League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
What It’s About: Binti is a sci-fi novella series that focuses on Binti, the first of her Himba people to be accepted and attend the galactic Oomza University. Her journey to the Oomza is fraught with challenges and she is forced to confront the terrifying Medusae. Binti must use the gifts of her people and her own cleverness to survive as she hurtles toward her uncertain future.
Why I recommend it for Women’s History Month: This is such a beautifully written Afro-futurist story that intertwines African cultures, the beauty of mathematics, and an incredibly vibrant female character. I love this series because of its creativity, boldness and ode to the women of color that deserve to have their stories told on such a grand scale. So much science fiction is informed by history; that’s why this series is a fun read for WHM.