265 El amor huele a café

elamorhueleacafepor Nieves García Bautista, 2012

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A self-published book.

[Scroll down for English.]

Este libro es otra descarga gratis que encontré en Amazon. Aunque no suelo leer libros románticos, como he dicho unas veces antes, pensé que un libro gratis en español me ofrecería la oportunidad para practicar mi español no importa de que se trate. Como este libro fue autopublicado, esta tarea del Read Harder Challenge me dio la motivación de leerlo por fin. Y como he aprendido unas veces antes no debería juzgar los libros sólo por tener un elemento de romance. Resulta que me gustó el libro de verdad y estoy alegre de que la tarea me diera las ganas de abrirlo.

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264 Letter from Birmingham Jail

birminghamjailby Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A book written in prison.

This is the Read Harder task for which I had the most difficulty selecting a book. Whenever I’m unable to think of a book to fulfill a task on my own, I turn to the Goodreads threads, where I usually find several suggestions that I had not previously considered or did not realize fulfilled the task. In this case, I found very little that piqued my interest. My original plan was to read a collection of narratives from women’s prisons, which, while not necessarily having been written in prison, seemed to fit the nature of the task. Alas, upon paging through the book, I found many of the narratives were written after the women had been released, making this more a collection of memoirs than narratives from inside prisons. I know that Nelson Mandela has a collection of prison writings, but as I read Long Walk to Freedom last year, I wanted to branch out. This led me back to this letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While the letter is quite short to be considered a book, and feels a little like cheating on the task, it is undoubtedly one of the key texts of the civil rights movement and one I had never read. It seemed like there was no better time to change that.

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263 The Halloween Tree

halloweentreeby Ray Bradbury, 1972

From this point forward, all of my Bradbury reads will be first-timers for me. While I’ve read some of his collections of short stories, my knowledge of Bradbury’s novels ends with Something Wicked This Way Comes. However, the themes and styles of his stories continue to be familiar, and there is comfort to be found in that. The Halloween Tree is almost an extension of Something Wicked This Way Comes in feel. It follows a group of young boys who, all dressed up for trick-or-treating on Halloween night, encounter a large tree, out of which emerges a mysterious figure that whisks them away to show them all of the celebrations of death throughout time and space.

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262 The Heaven I Swallowed

heaveniswallowedby Rachel Hennessy, 2013

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: An #ownvoices book set in Oceania.

If I could use only two words to describe The Heaven I Swallowed, it would be these: benevolent racism. This story of a white Australian woman who adopts an Aboriginal girl deals with a historical event that was previously unknown to me. According to my research, i.e. Wikipedia, the Stolen Generations were the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian government, supposedly for their own good, during the years of 1905 to approximately 1970. The idea was that these mixed race children could have their native heritage trained out of them so they could assimilate to white society, marry white citizens, and produce white children. While the idea of employing eugenics to “cleanse” society is nothing new to me, I had no idea that it was in such brazen practice in that part of the world or that such a thing continued to occur so late into the 20th century.

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261 Home Fire

homefireby Kamila Shamsie, 2017

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018.

Winner: Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

We have a very one-sided way of thinking about terrorism in America. It is us and it is them, and there is never a thought of those who are affected by terrorism not as a result of violent acts, but as a result of its influence on the people they love most. Home Fire deals with this issue head first, focusing on a family whose absent, jihadi father has died and whose idolizing son has decided to follow in his footsteps. It is a study of five people whose lives Islamic militarism has touched and the manner in which cope with the effects of others’ violent actions as they struggle to live their lives as normally as possible.

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260 Something Wicked This Way Comes

somethingwickedby Ray Bradbury, 1962

Ray Bradbury’s fourth novel takes place in the same fictional idyllic hamlet of Green Town, Illinois, in which Dandelion Wine was situated. While the two are not sequels, Something Wicked This Way Comes is something of the darker cousin of its hopeful predecessor. There are, again, dual protagonists who must face the world and all the danger it brings. Towheaded, good-natured Will Halloway and raven-haired, adventurous Jim Nightshade grow up together in adjacent homes. They share more than neighboring locations, however, as they were born exactly two minutes apart: Will one minute before midnight on October 30th and Jim one minute after midnight on October 31. This is their shared journey into the unknown that age offers to grant them.

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259 Dead Mountain

deadmountainby Donnie Eichar, 2013

The first time I heard of the Dyatlov Pass incident was in an episode of Stuff You Should Know. I was immediately intrigued by this strange tale of nine Russian hikers who mysteriously perished during a hike in the Ural Mountains in 1959. It wasn’t just that all nine highly experienced hikers died, but the state in which their bodies were found. They were spread out from their camp, not fully clothed, without shoes, some even barefoot. While six were determined to have died from hypothermia, one had a fractured skull and two others had major chest trauma. One of the hikers was missing her tongue and the bodies exhibited traces of radiation. When the search party found the camp, it appeared almost undisturbed. Though the tent had blown over, food was still nicely arranged, as if waiting for the hikers to return and enjoy a meal, and all of their belongings, including their shoes, remained. Most mysteriously, there was a large rip in the tent that was determined to have been cut from the inside. Someone – or something – caused the hikers to flee in a panic and meet their deaths. When I found out that a book had been written on this incident, I immediately knew I had to read it and learn more about this real-life X-File.

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