2022 Reading Challenge: Read a Microhistory

OPL invites patrons to take part in the 2022 Reading Challenge, opens a new window! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window, or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

Have you ever gotten so obsessed with a single topic or event that you attempt to learn everything there is to know about it? If so, welcome to microhistories! If you’re not already familiar, it is a growing genre of nonfiction that hyper-focuses on a narrow area of research as it relates to the larger world. With titles like “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, opens a new window,” “Heart, opens a new window,” or “Paper: Paging Through History, opens a new window,” it’s often pretty easy to spot these titles on the shelves. For this challenge, find a topic that interests you (or maybe one that you know nothing about) and take a deep dive into all of its rich, layered history. Here are a couple ideas to get you started.

Food. If you fancy yourself a foodie, you might check out "Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas, opens a new window" by Mark Kurlansky, “White Bread: A Social History of the Store-bought Loaf, opens a new window” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain or “Butter: A Rich History” by Elaine Khosrova. 

Health & the body. Take a closer look at what makes us tick and slows us down with "I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, opens a new window" by Ed Yong, "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, opens a new window” by Siddhartha Mukherjee or “Pox: An American History, opens a new window” by Michael Willrich.

The office. Explore the inventions that contribute to the modern office with "The Filing Cabinet: A Vertical History of Information, opens a new window" by Craig Robertson, “The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, opens a new window” by Henry Petroski or “Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, opens a new window” by Nikil Saval.

For more ideas check out this list, opens a new window or request a custom reading list or book bundle, opens a new window tailored to your interests by OPL librarians.

You may submit your completed reading log online, opens a new window or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2022, to be entered into the prize drawing.