I’ve been resisting this book since I put the galley on my Kindle in August of 2016 (thanks Netgalley!). Books with this amount of hype are never my go-to read. I let it play out while everyone talks about it so I can see if it’s really something I want to invest in. Most times it’s not and I hear everything I need to know through conversation with others. I resisted when Oprah made it her book club choice but could not resist again when it won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
So I read it. I heard it was gruesome, and parts of it were. But then a friend asked me if it was worse than A Little Life and I chuckled to myself. Y’all, nothing will ever be worse than A Little Life. Nothing.
The Underground Railroad follows Cora, a slave in Georgia on the Randall plantation, as she makes her way off the plantation and navigates her life after leaving. She escapes. She does. But what does she escape? Not slavery, that’s for sure. The book alludes to this depressing quality multiple times. She moves from one set of chains to another despite her relocation to the North. I enjoyed this new perspective on the slave narrative. Another friend was saying that most slave books end after they’ve escaped and that’s it. Everything is great once you’re off the plantation and in the North, right? Definitely not true, and I appreciate that this novel continues that story for us to see. I also appreciated that the mystic / surreal quality of the railroad was not overdone (in the book the underground railroad is a literal railroad underground). I was thinking to myself after finishing it that if you didn’t finish school or paid zero attention in history you might actually think this is how the underground railroad worked. It’s a book that should definitely be read but not necessarily one I would tell you to buy / borrow immediately.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a red spine
Here is a full list of the Cybil Winners of 2016! I was a judge last year and enjoyed it immensely. Here are some overlaps with other youth awards that have happened.
The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz won for audiobook, it was also a Newbery Honor book this year.
Giant Squid by Candance Fleming won for elementary non-fiction, it was also a Sibert Honor this year.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds won for middle grade fiction (which was my category last year).
Sachiko by Caren Stelson won for middle grade non-fiction, it was also a Sibert Honor like Giant Squid.
March : book three by John Lewis won for young adult graphic novel. I won’t even try and tell you everything else it won this year, there are too many.
I’m going to have to go back and look at what Nov-Dec was. Whoops. Let me tell you about the ones I currently have at my house before I forget them too. Specifics on the inner workings of the traveling book club are here.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You may know him as the author of the Kite Runner, which became a movie. I have not read it or seen the movie. My best friend has been raving about this book for years. I never wanted to read it. It’s not my thing. But now that she’s part of the book club and this is the one she chose I felt obligated. I just finished and will review it soon. Spoiler: I will not be raving about it for years.
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Also a movie. Not only that, I feel like it might be the first real blockbuster that featured Jennifer Lawrence. This sounds like a True Grit kind of book and I can’t say whether or not I’ll pick it up. It did win the Audie Award in 2011 so I may try it on audiobook.
Love Does by Bob Goff. A lot of the women in this group had already read this book. Apparently I missed the boat because I’d never heard of it. I think this will be a pick and choose chapters kind of book. But I will open it.
HelloooO! Battle of the Books contenders have arrived! These are the ones. I haven’t read ANY of them. What on Earth does that say about me?
ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit
FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie
FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan
GHOST by Jason Reynolds – want to read!
THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill
THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge – have checked out ONE MILLION TIMES
MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich
MARCH BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell – read book 1
THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry – have checked out HALF A MILLION TIMES
SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner and Gareth Hinds
SOME WRITER! by Melissa Sweet
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
THUNDERBOY JR. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales
WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad
WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin – read book 1
WET CEMENT by Bob Raczka
National Book Award has announced their winners. No surprise that The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was the adult fiction winner. He had Oprah behind him after all and she’s basically God. I have Underground Railroad on my Kindle from a long time ago via Netgalley and should probably get to reading it. I also just got the first and last books in the March series so I can feed educated on that, waiting on book two. I’m not sure the other two peak my interest. But there are a few on the short / long list that did.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles was a finalist. I bought it a few weeks ago and was going to give it to my best friend for Christmas but she asked for something else instead so I guess it’s mine.
Miss Jane by Brad Watson was on the longlist. It is a book I checked out a few months ago and then didn’t open, per usual. I adore the cover. Isn’t it so beautiful? This would be a good paperback purchase.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo was a finalist for the youth selection. I read it back in April. I didn’t love it.
The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon was a finalist as well. I believe I have it at my house right now. It’s getting lots of buzz and I even heard them talking about it on the All the Books podcast this morning.
Best book lists are here y’all. Get excited! Get those credit cards ready and start your Christmas shopping. Or self shopping..
Publishers Weekly has released their list. Here it is for Children’s / YA. Books of note in their choices that I agree with are as follows.
The Best Man by Richard Peck – it’s at my house right now. Must read immediately.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. My review here.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I literally put this on my hold list 30 minutes ago. Comes out 11/22/16.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge won the Boston Horn Book Award this year. I checked it out back in June when that happened but never opened it. Per usual. Must try again.
Just when you think award season has died down The Boston Globe comes out with the Horn Book Award winners.
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge and Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph written by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo
Check out this link for past years and their winners