One Community Four Books: The Moon and Beyond

Looking for solar eclipse glasses? Read one of our featured titles, log it on ReadSquared, and visit the third floor service desk by October 13 to claim your glasses!

In the month leading up to the Oct. 14, 2023 annular eclipse, we’ll be reflecting our place in space through the lens of four books. We hope you’ll join the conversation through One Community Four Books.

The books:

The One Community Four Books series is made possible by a private grant.

The library has made extra copies of these books available to many readers can participate in the discussions. We hope many of you will choose to read at least one of the titles. You are also welcome to use copies of the book that are not from the library.

Participants who log their reading on ReadSquared can pick up prizes, including solar eclipse glasses, at the third floor service desk.

Adult Fiction: Sea of Tranquilty : A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal — an experience that shocks him to his core. Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Adult Non-Fiction: Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

During World War Il, when the brand-new minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missile trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women–known as “computers”–who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America’s first ballistic missiles. But they were never interested in developing weapons–their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system. For the first time, this book tells the stories of these women who charted a course not only for the future of space exploration but also for the prospects of female scientists. Based on extensive research and interviews with the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science, illuminating both where we’ve been and the far reaches of where we’re heading.

Junior Fiction: Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at the one place the Great Eclipse can be seen in totality, each carrying the burden of different personal problems, which become dim when compared to the task they embark upon and the friendship they find.

Related activities:

Picture Book Fiction: Cassandra and the Night Sky by Amy Jackson

When she learns about the location of the missing stars, Princess Cassandra and her friends set out to return the stars to the night sky.

Related activity:

Activities beyond the books:

The supporting activities appeal to a variety of ages and interests–see the full list.

You’ll find educational playtimes for little kids, science activities for elementary and tween kids, a tween writing program, informational talks, and of course, book clubs featuring our four books.

The Annular Eclipse

Many participants in One Community Four Books will go home with a free pair of solar eclipse safety glasses.

The morning of Saturday, Oct. 14, Round Rock will be adjacent to the path of an annular solar eclipse. In an annular eclipse, the moon is a little farther from the earth than it is during a total solar eclipse.

Because the moon is farther away, its shadow appears smaller to us. The shadow is only large enough to cover the center of the sun. The sun looks like a brilliant “ring of fire” (an annulus) suspended in the sky.

An annular eclipse also creates ringlets of shadows on the ground.

Use this simulation to see what viewers in Round Rock can expect Oct. 14. Our neighbors just a short ride to the west and south will experience a full annular eclipse.

This map from shows the path of the annual eclipse through Texas.
This NASA image depicts the progression of an annual solar eclipse, and also emphasizes that there is no safe time during an annular solar eclipse to look directly at the sun.

The Library has a limited supply of eclipse safety glasses that will be given to participants in One Community Four Books activities, while supplies last.

Planning your own solar eclipse party? Looking for ways to safely view the eclipse without eclipse glasses? Click here to see our suggestions!

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