One Book, One Watertown

Banner shows the cover of the book The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott with the text, "One Book,

March 2020 One Book Programs

Join us in March 2020 for community conversations about literature as propaganda, the value of women’s work, breathtaking fashions of the 1950s, the love story of Boris Pasternak and his mistress Olga Ivinskaya (the inspiration for Lara), the dangers of totalitarianism, and so much more.

Community Book Discussion
Wednesday, 3/4 | 7 pm | Lucia Mastrangelo Room

Perkins Book Group Discussion
Tuesday, 3/10 | 1 pm | Perkins School for the Blind

How Women Fought in the Cold War
Wednesday, 3/11 | 7 pm | Watertown Savings Bank Room

Spies, Lies, and Espionage, Oh My! – Intelligence and Espionage in the Cold War Era
Thursday, 3/12 | 7 pm | Watertown Savings Bank Room

Doctor Zhivago Screening (with Russian Treats at Intermission)
Saturday, 3/14 | 12:30 pm | Watertown Savings Bank Room

Skype with the Author!
Wednesday, 3/18 | 7 pm | Watertown Savings Bank Room

Senior Center Book Discussion
Wednesday, 3/25 | 11 am | Watertown Senior Center

History of the Typewriter: Tools of the Trade
Thursday, 3/26 | 7 pm | Watertown Savings Bank Room

2020 SELECTION: The Secrets We Kept 

We are pleased to announce Lara Prescott’s debut novel, The Secrets They Kept as our selection for One Book, One Watertown 2020!

“A gorgeous and romantic feast of a novel anchored by a cast of indelible secretaries.” - The New York Times

“Enthralling… This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot." - Vogue

During the cold war, the CIA pursued an initiative known as “cultural diplomacy.” Operating on the premise that “great art comes from true freedom”, the agency seized on painting, music, and literature as powerful tools for promoting the western world’s values behind the Iron Curtain. In 1955, the CIA recruited secretaries from the typing pool, and charged them with acquiring the manuscript for Boris Pasternak’s controversial Doctor Zhivago, ensuring it was published in the West, and then translated into Russian and leaked back into the Soviet Union.  

This is the thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice--inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with traditional propaganda, but with a timeless love story: Doctor Zhivago. This novel paints a captivating and often charming portrait of another time, while managing to positively shimmer with significance in today’s political clime.

Borrow The Secrets We Kept 

We invite you, your friends, and families, to read this lovely debut novel during the cold and dark of January and February, then join us for themed programs in March! Copies of The Secrets We Kept will be available at the Reference Desk beginning in January. In addition to regular hardcover books, we’ll have large print books, playaways, ebooks, and e-audiobooks available. 

About our Community Read

Each year, the Watertown Free Public Library chooses a book, encourages everyone in the community to read it along with us, and hosts a variety of programs related to the book, its setting, and its themes. This community reading program is known as One Book, One Watertown.

Selected titles are usually announced in mid to late December, and hundreds of copies of the book become available for borrowing at the beginning of the calendar year. Programs take place during the month of March.

Past Titles

In 2020, the Watertown Free Public Library will present its 12th One Book, One Watertown community reading program. Here are the titles we’ve presented in the past:

  • 2019 - The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • 2018 - Refuge by Dina Nayeri
  • 2017 - Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • 2016 - The Race Underground by Doug Most
  • 2015 - The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
  • 2014 - No selection, One Book, One Watertown shifted from October to March
  • 2013 - WOOL by Hugh Howey
  • 2012 - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 2011 - Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
  • 2010 - March by Geraldine Brooks
  • 2009 - Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
  • 2008 - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri