We’re All Adults Here

Book Recommendations & Other Musings

by Carol Tuttle 
Carol Tuttle, Collection Services LibrarianHave you noticed a trending sub-genre in books and film over the last couple of years? I call it the “The Women behind the Scenes” theme.

Currently, three titles are trending: Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore;  The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone; and Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy. 

The Woman Who Smashed CodesI first noticed this topic of “Women behind the Scenes” in 2013, when two book discussion favorites were published. The first was The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan. This intriguing book tells of the young women recruited to live and work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for the top secret Manhattan Project. This title is great for book groups that want a nonfiction book with ordinary people working under extraordinary conditions. The Astronaut’s Wives Club by Lily Koppel is better described as extraordinary people working under extraordinary conditions: the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts. 

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShae Nesbit was another book club favorite in 2014. This is a novel about the lives of the women who created families, marriages, and friendships under the environment of secrecy and isolation in a top secret community. 

In 2016, the nonfiction book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly became a best-seller and the basis for the excellent film Hidden Figures. If you have not seen the film, I highly recommend it. The book is also available as a young reader’s edition, so you can have a family book discussion with your children about science, women, race and history.

Next year, the trend continues with a novel, The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard. This is an upcoming February 2018 publication that has already received 4 stars from early reviewers on Goodreads. Place your hold in the catalog now! 

Carol Tuttle is the Collection Services Librarian for the Willoughby-Eastlake Library System. She is currently reading The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

Find These Titles at the Library


The Woman Who Smashed Codes

The Woman Who Smashed Codes


The girls of Atomic City

The Girls of Atomic City


The astronaut wives club

The Astronaut Wives Club


The Wives of Los Alamos

The Wives of Los Alamos


The Atomic City Girls

The Atomic City Girls (coming in 2018)