Monday, April 30, 2012

Unbroken - Haunting

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, will haunt you. This is the story of Louis Zamperini who came from a loving family but suffered through the depression as so many others did. After a troubled youth, Louis finds his niche – running. He eventually makes it to the Olympics. His bright future is interrupted by World War II. Louis ends up in the US Air Force and flies bombers despite a fear of flying. Eventually, Louis’ luck runs out and his plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean. He and two other men are adrift for nearly seven weeks. But when they’re rescued their battle for survival continues. They end up in a Japanese POW camp and life just gets worse and worse. Reading about the atrocities and abuse Louis and his fellow POWs endured is very difficult, but somehow I couldn’t stop reading. After the war ends and Louis returns home life continues to be difficult. Unable to run and dealing with the nightmares of war and his captivity, Louis turns to alcohol. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. He turns his life around and even returns to Japan. I seldom read war stories. They’re just not for me. But this book is so powerful I couldn’t put it down. Anyone who has any interest in history will enjoy Hillenbrand’s beautiful telling of Zamperini’s life. Don’t skip over Unbroken!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Too Funny for Words!

I’ve Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella is so funny, you’ll want to keep coming back for more! Poppy, the main character, is about to get married but she loses, of all things, her family heirloom engagement ring! During the crisis, her cell phone is stolen. But, luckily she finds another phone that had been tossed in a trash can. The phone belonged to a personal assistant to a very busy and, apparently cold-hearted, executive. Poppy suddenly gets involved in his life and can’t seem to get enough of the issues of both his company and his relationship with his own fiancĂ©. Yet she can’t avoid fibbing a bit to her fiancĂ© and his parents about the ring. Well, the story has just begun. This book is as unlikely as it is hysterical. I couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t put the book down until the very end. Although not terribly realistic, it was so funny that I didn’t care. Want a quick read and a big smile on your face? Read Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Well-written History Lesson

Thomas Mallon’s Watergate: A Novel is an excellent history lesson. Having lived through that time it was very interesting to review the events of Watergate and Nixon’s resignation in one concise book. The book is very well written and brought so much back. Despite being fictional in aspects, the main history lesson is there and very well done. I felt it kept my interest but that may be because I knew the characters and the general story. Younger folks may have a tougher time with it but it’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in getting the facts.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Sleeper

What Came Before He Shot Her, by Elizabeth George put me to sleep about midway through the book. Generally, Ms. George is an interesting writer but she missed her mark with this one. If I were to believe this story, all Black Brits have some serious issues. Luckily, I don’t believe it.

In this case, “what came before he shot her” was sad. “He” or Joel Campbell is a boy of mixed race who, along with his younger brother Toby and older sister Ness, has lost both parents – one by death and one due to mental illness. Then his grandmother ups and leaves for Jamaica leaving the three youngsters with their aunt. So Joel has a lot of baggage although he’s basically a good kid.

This book is full of repetition and boredom. Leave it be and move on to something more interesting.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Paris Wife - Wonderful!

The Paris Wife, by Paul McLain, is a beautiful, well-written novel about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. Hadley met Hemingway in 1920 when she was 28 and had given up on love and marriage. Hemingway, much younger and an immature writer stole her heart. This is the story of their relationship, marriage and years of joy, frustration and sadness. They head for Paris where they live the life of drinking and very fast living along with many artists of that time. Their group includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Eventually, this fast living catches up with them and gets their marriage into trouble. This novel is full of history. I just couldn’t put it down. Read this book and get to know the real Ernest Hemingway.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Good Read

The Marriage Pact, by M.J. Pullen, is a quick read. Although I didn’t think it would be my kind of book when I first picked it up, I have to admit it was difficult to put down. Marci, the main character, is a 30-year-old who is having an affair with a married man. She’s also struggling in her career and working as a temp while she awaits the big job opportunity. She receives an email from her best friend from college, Jake, with the attached photo of the cocktail napkin they both signed off on – it was an agreement to get married if they’re both single at the age of 30.

There’s a lot of sneaking around with her married boyfriend and a lot of heavy drinking involved. Many secrets are hidden and some finally revealed. But after a rude awakening, Marci wakes up and grows up. I won’t give any more of the story plot away, but I do think this is a book well worth reading.