Donated Book Now Available at Samuels Public Library

Front Royal Women's Resource Center and Nan Hathaway co-sponsor donations to Samuels Public Library that are by or about women.

Nan Hathaway, Book Donation Sponsor & Coordinator, chooses our books each year. Thank You Nan! 

We highlight one of these books each month. Our Book Reviews and Commentaries are provided by JoEllen McNeal. Thank you JoEllen!



Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

By Chelsea Wald


Let’s get something out of the way.  I know it’s weird to read a book all about toilets.  It’s still sometimes strange to me that I’m writing a book about toilets. …I know that not everybody is at as ease with this topic as I am by now, after years of immersing myself in poop (not literally)….please don’t let it stop you, because there is so much to gain by joining this conversation.   - Chelsea Wald


Many of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox.  On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to human life span by reducing disease.  On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the global population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many people right here in the United States.  And toilets are inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away.  While we see radical technological change in almost every other aspect of our lives, we remain stuck in a sanitation status quo – in part because the topic of toilets is taboo.

Fortunately there’s hope – and Pipe Dreams daringly profiles the growing army of scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and activists who are overcoming their aversions and focusing their formidable skills on making toilets accessible and healthier for all.  This potential revolution in sanitation has many benefits including reducing inequalities, mitigating climate change and water scarcity, improving agriculture, and optimizing health.

Pipe Dreams is an utterly delightful and deeply informative investigation into what happens after we poop – and everybody poops.  Author Chelsea Wald takes us on a world tour – from a compost toilet project in Haiti, to a plant in the Netherlands that salvages used toilet paper from sewage – and shows us a toilet seat that can watch your poop for signs of illness, among many other fascinating developments.  Much more than a glorified trash can, the toilet, Wald maintains, holds the power to help solve many of the world’s problems, if only we can harness it.   It’s time to keep our lid open on this important conversation and reconsider the vital importance of the toilet.


Chelsea Wald has repeatedly plunged into the topic of toilets since 2013, when editors first approached her to write about the latent potential in our stagnating sanitation infrastructure.  She has won several awards and reporting grants, including from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the European Geosciences Union, and the European Journalism Centre.  She lives with her family in the Netherlands, in a region renowned for its water-related innovations.

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet By Chelsea Wald
2022 March Book Commentary