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First discussion for Eighty Days!

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World

Today's discussion is up through Chapter 4!

The book starts off with Nellie Bly as she sets off to race around the world. Her goal is actually 75 days. We get to learn her backstory as well. She managed to become a female reporter in an age when women were constantly regulated to gossip columns, fashion, and other subjects deemed "feminine", not breaking news stories. She used her wits, resourcefulness, and determination to become a hit reporter. For one story, she faked being insane in order to report on the atrocious conditions of a women's insane asylum. She also allowed herself into a dangerous situation in order to expose someone preying on innocent women. Her plucky determination landed her the chance to race around the world.

Elizabeth Bisland is Nellie Bly's "competitor". She is demure and decidedly feminine. She's also more into classic literature. She is basically stronghanded into racing against Nellie Bly. Unfortunately I don't remember her backstory quite as well at Bly's :P.

We end this section right at the start of the race!

1) How are you liking this one so far?

2) Who do you think will "win"? Nellie Bly or Elizabeth Bisland?

3) Would you want to race around the world?

4) Do you think these two women are good examples of feminism for the time period? How about compared to now?

5) What do you think is going to happen? (I know this is nonfiction so it seems silly to ask, but if you DON'T know how this race ends I'm curious as to your thoughts!)

6) Please feel free to add any other thoughts you have!


1) I'm enjoying it a lot (when I actually have time to read it). I'm kind of amazed by everything Nellie Bly was doing, considering the time period.

2) I actually don't know. I remember learning about this in middle school, but that was a very long time ago and I don't really remember much. I'm tempted to look it up, but I've decided to just learn as I read the book instead.

3) No thank you, not if it was a race. I would want to have time to enjoy the places I went :D

4) I do, actually. They were both working in what was very much a man's world, and were successful and independent. They were doing things that women of the time just didn't do.

5) I don't know! I think that Nellie is the more determined of the two, so I kind of think that if either of them can do it, then it would definitely be her. But again, I don't actually remember how it turned out.