Harriet Tubman Day – 5 Great Reads

book of the month

Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who went on to become a saviour to many, an abolitionist and anti-slavery activist. Born into slavery in around 1822, Tubman escaped to freedom, and subsequently made some thirteen missions back to the south, helping to rescue around 70 families using a network of safe houses known as the underground railroad.

When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition when she led the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more then 700 slaves.

Tubman died on 10th March 1913 and became an icon of American courage and freedom. The date is marked as Harriet Tubman Day and today we’re recommending five books that we think capture her spirit.

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

No list of books from this period would be complete without The Underground Railroad, the award winning and groundbreaking bestseller of last year. While a novel, the book tells the story of escaped slaves well and is an important read for those wanting to find out more about this period of American history.

The Underground Railroad US
The Underground Railroad UK

12 Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup’s memoir of a black man born free and then sold into bondage is a harrowing read. Made into a movie it won several awards and is one of the most important books from this period of history.

12 Years a Slave US
12 Years a Slave UK

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom – Catherine Clinton

If it’s Tubman you want to learn more about then this biography is a great place to start. A complete story of Tubman’s life, from slave to abolitionist, it makes for riveting reading.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom US
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom UK

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of America’s Fugitive Slaves – Eric Foner

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Foner here tells the story of three men who as part of the underground railroad helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves to freedom.

Gateway to Freedom US
Gateway to Freedom UK

The Book of Awesome Women – Becca Anderson

And if all of that has left you wanted to read about more brilliant ‘sheroes’ from history then The Book of Awesome Women should leave you feeling like you can achieve anything at all!

The Book of Awesome Women US
The Book of Awesome Women UK

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: September

By | Hit of the Lits! | No Comments
book of the month
Another month has passed as the year races by and now we’re into September and if you’re looking for some reading suggestions then we have the FRA Top 20, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

Every month we ask the group members to let us know what their favourite read was from the previous month. Those results are then collated, giving us a top 20 recommended reads for the following month. Here’s September!  Read More

Obama Shares What He’s Been Reading This Summer

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News | No Comments
book of the month
It’s always interesting to know what any public figure has been reading lately, but even more so when that public figure also happens to have been the 44th President of the United States. Every so often, Barack Obama takes to his official Facebook page to let us know what he’s been reading and what he’d recommend.

Obama published a post on Sunday evening detailing five books, both fiction and non-fiction, that he’s been reading over the Summer. “One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” he wrote. “This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth. Here’s what I’ve been reading: Read More

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

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Obama Reveals What He’s Been Reading Prior to Visiting Africa

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News, Reading Habits | No Comments
book of the month
For the first time since he left office, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has returned to Africa where he spent time in both Kenya (his ancestral home) and South Africa. There he met 200 young leaders from all over the continent and made a speech to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his visit, Obama published a post on his official Facebook page where he wrote about his love for his ancestral home, and revealed what books he’s been reading in the build up to his trip. As you would expect, the books are from and about the continent of Africa and show what a diverse, historic, sometimes troubled, but also extraordinary continent it is. Not only has Obama recommended the books, but also provided a quick insight as to why he found them interesting. Read More

Sense8, Bookshops and Some Reading Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Television | No Comments
book of the month
Is anyone else really sad that Sense8 is over? The Netflix show was a science-fiction drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (of Matrix fame) following the lives of eight strangers from around the world linked by a sense of mental and emotional telepathy.

While a science fiction show, the series was very grounded in real issues such as race, sex, gender, and religion featuring a multi-national cast, various sexualities and a transgender character, played by a transgender actor (yay!).

I absolutely loved it, and I know much of the team did too and brilliant storylines aside, I loved the fact that Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman worked at the City Lights Bookstore, meaning it was featured in various episodes. And if you were hanging out for more bookstore references there was a second one with a mention for Shakespeare and Co in the finale too! Read More



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