16. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whithead
Readathon category: a book that won an international award within the last three years
An award-winning book about slavery and the underground railroad, the network American slaves used to escape to states where they could be free.
I was not familiar with the underground railroad, I assumed it was a code name for the procedures that were followed and the people that helped slaves escape. When I started reading the book, I read that it was an actual underground railroad, with trains and everything. I found it very weird, sounded like a great deal of work, but I reluctantly accepted it. After I finished the book, I found out it was just some fiction, a book of “what if the underground railroad was an actual railroad”. I don’t think there was a reason for this fiction element. Anyways…
Apart from that, I found it a very informative book about slavery in USA, a subject I don’t know much about. The book follows Cora as she tries to escape. There are horrible horrible stories (based in real stories unfortunately) that will again make you question your faith in humanity. Are we really that bad? (Yes we are, it is a rhetorical question). The book is written nicely, I did get bored at some points with some long descriptions, but I have to say there was action throughout the whole book.
I recommended if you want to learn about that terrible era, I knew almost nothing and I am glad I read this book.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
17. Stories of your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang
Readathon category: a book that you found about through somuchreading
A book of short stories, all having science fiction elements.
You may know the author from the movie Arrival (2016), with the aliens and language. Great movie, watch it.
This is an awesome book. I would call it more philosophical than science fiction. The author talks and wonders about science and language and society.
Some examples of the stories:
1. The tower of Babel has reached the top and some people are climbing to the top to start digging and see what happens
2. A man takes a part in a drug test and starts becoming smarter and smarter
3. A world where you could choose to not understand if people are attractive or not with a simple and reversible procedure.
4. A world where people witness (catastrophic/blessing) angel visits frequently
I would totally recommend this book, it will really make you think.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
18. Daytripper, by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Readathon category: a book written by two writers (in this case, artists)
Set in Brazil, this comic book tells the life story of a Bras. He is the son of a famous writer, who (when the book starts) writes obituaries in the newspaper, while of course he dreams of becoming a writer as his father. Each chapter is a different period in his life, not presented chronologically. Also in the end of each chapter, he dies. I guess the idea was “what could happen if he died then or if he didn’t die”.
I liked the story, the father issues, the “what am I doing with my life” questions, Brazil… I think it is one of the very good comic books.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
19. Chess Story, by Stefan Zweig
Readathon category: a novella
I think I will be a fan of novellas: they have the perfect length for a story.
In this one, two people play chess during a boat trip.
But both of these people are so interesting.
In this short novella it is revealed how both of them ended up being so good at chess.
I was amazed on how much could fit in these few pages. Very good writing, interesting story. I don’t want to say more and spoil the fun of reading it.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
20. The Beautifull Cassandra, by Jane Austen
Readathon category: a book with less than 100 pages
This is a very hard category. 100 pages are hard to find. I know that there are small books, but if the number of words is small, they make the pages small and still end up with more than 100 pages. The only ones I could find with less than 100 pages are Penguins Little Black Classics.
I chose the Jane Austen one from the 3 books that I had, because she is a woman and I want to reach the goal 🙂 These 55 pages contain 6 short stories that a teenage Jane Austen wrote to entertain her family.
In most of them, the language was too “old-style” for me and I could not enjoy (kind of skipped through many paragraphs). But there were a couple of easily readable stories. I can’t say that I enjoyed this book, but I like the whole “teenage Jane Austen” idea, so I will give 3 stars.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Overall female writers ratio: 12/20 (60%)