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12 Years a Slave
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Zeljka (ztook) | 2972 comments Mod
12 Years a Slave (2013) is an Oscar-winning biographical film based on Solomon Northup's same-name memoirs. It is not the only movie depicting his life, though. Before this one with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the main role, there was one TV adaptation with Avery Brooks as Solomon, Solomon Northup's Odyssey (1984) that I think would also be worth checking.
Even though I am sure many of you have already seen the movie before reading the book (like I did), now it would be better to read the memoirs first and then check both this TV adaptation (if possible, I don't know if it is available) and the movie (again). Let's take a proper route, to see if they followed Solomon's story faithfully or strayed a bit (as Hollywood tends to do).
The book is available for free on several websites as it is in public domain, here I'll give just two links, I am sure you all have your own reliable e-book sources:
Documenting the American South (online e-book)
LibriVox (audiobook)


Zeljka (ztook) | 2972 comments Mod
I just started to read the book, the version enhanced by Sue Eakin, (Twelve Years a Slave). I have a feeling, that those enhancements may significantly add to my time planned to be spent with this book! Anyway, I came here to say it surprised me when I read in the introduction that this book was almost forgotten when she stumbled upon it because it was out of print already a few years after the first edition. That made me wonder, how many books and writers of old are now long forgotten because they were deemed not profitable. I personally have a book of an author that I think fits that category, there are only two editions of his book on Goodreads and only three reviews. I absolutely adore that book, but if it wasn't for my aunt that gave it to me from her own bookshelf, I wouldn't ever know it exists.


April (aprilvoytkokempler) Finished this book and loved it! Haven't seen any of the movie versions, so I look forward to the discussion.


April (aprilvoytkokempler) Zeljka wrote: "I just started to read the book, the version enhanced by Sue Eakin, (Twelve Years a Slave). I have a feeling, that those enhancements may significantly add to my tim..."

That's the best kind of book discovery! I loved old book stores for that very reason. I have a treasure trove of out-of-print and long-forgotten books. I especially love some of the hardcover jackets from the 1940s-1990s, they are so colorful and look like mini-works of art.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2972 comments Mod
April wrote: "I have a treasure trove of out-of-print and long-forgotten books. I especially love some of the hardcover jackets from the 1940s-1990s, they are so colorful and look like mini-works of art."

That's awesome! I adore hardcover jackets too. Sometimes I buy a used hardcover book on e-bay where, you know, you never know what you may get, so I am especially happy when it arrives complete with its original jacket :)


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments I'll be honest, I did not know this was a true story. I heard of the Hollywood film and just assumed it was another modern sob story of slavery....I didn't realize it was a real person telling his story.

I think was impressed me the most (aside from how long he had to hide who he was!) was his level of articulation. I don't know how much of that was due to his upbringing as a free man, or the overall level of articulation at the time (if I read letters written by common soldiers during the American Civil War I am often impressed by this as well). I was curious that he would have been able to have that level of education, even as a free black at the time, because resources were simply not dispersed as freely to blacks then, even in the North. It makes me sigh and bemoan our "Twitter talk" of today, cramming everything into 140 characters.


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