Monday, November 22, 2010


Seabiscuit author, Laura Hillenbrand, brings us another amazing story about a remarkable runner in Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  This story left me speechless.

Louie Zamperini was a trouble maker as a boy, headed down the wrong track until his brother introduced him to running.  He was famous during his time at USC before heading off for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  He placed 7th, met Hitler, and even stole a Nazi flag from the Reich Chancellery.

Louie had his heart set on the 1940 Olympics, where he knew the gold medal would be within his reach.  Those Olympics were moved from Tokyo to Helsinki because the Japanese government decided they could no longer support the Olympics.  When the Helsinki Olympic Stadium was destroyed in bombing raids, the 1940 Summer Olympics were canceled altogether.

Louie found himself in the Army Air Force as a bombardier, and while stationed in Oahu, was engaged in the fight over Nauru.  His plane made it back to base with 594 holes in it, and one crew member receiving fatal injuries.

A few weeks later, the remaining crew members were given replacement crew and sent out on a search and rescue mission.  It was this mission that was the start of Louie's incredible journey to get back home. 

Unbroken is an epic story that every American should read.  When you've finished this book, go find yourself a veteran, hug them, kiss them, and thank them for all they've sacrificed for you.  Then, hug and kiss your family, and fully appreciate how lucky you really are.

Up Next: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Magician's Nephew

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Crave is the recently released, second book in J.R. Ward's Fallen Angels series.  As Jim Heron is awaiting instructions about his next soul to save, he works on a personal project - Isaac Rothe.

Isaac Rothe is an old buddy of Jim's from XOps.  Jim had called in for a favor from his old boss, Matthias.  He was given the information he requested, but in order to keep up his end of the bargain, Jim was to kill Rothe for going AWOL.  At some point, Jim decides that Isaac deserves to live, and instead of killing Isaac, Jim decides to help him hide. 

Jim is busy trying to keep Isaac alive when he becomes aware that Rothe is the next soul on his list to save.  He does everything he possibly can to keep Isaac safe from the demon, Devina, only to realize that it was not Rothe's soul that was in jeopardy.

Up Next: Unbroken

Monday, November 8, 2010

Half-Broke Horses

 Half Broke Horses author Jeannette Walls comes from an interesting family, to be sure.  She introduced us to her mother in The Glass Castle, and now we get the honor of meeting her grandmother.

Lily Casey survived floods, tornadoes, droughts, and the Depression.  She learned out to break horses and how to fly.  Her life was an uphill battle, and she made it through some heartbreaking blows along the way.

I don't know who's luckier - Jeannette Walls for having known such characters as Lily and Rosemary; or Lily and Rosemary who have a granddaughter/daughter who has been able to tell their stories so well.

Up Next: Crave

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Suite Francaise

I came across this title when doing some research after reading Sarah's KeySuite Francaise is written by Russian/French author Irene Nemirovsky.  She had intended this to be a 5 book series, but was unable to finish the last three books.

The book tells the stories of several different families & individuals from June 4, 1940 until July 1, 1941 when the Nazis invaded and occupied France.  At first, I was concerned that there were too many different people to keep track of, but Nemirovsky writes in a way that makes it easy to keep everyone straight, and keep the book interesting.

As a bit of a history buff, I have read many books about the WWII era, both fictional and non-fictional.  Never have I felt anything but disgust for the German soldiers...until the second part of Suite Francaise.  I found myself wishing the Third Reich Lieutenant well, and I find it remarkable that, given the author's fate, Mlle. Nemirovsky was able to create these emotions for me.

Not only do I recommend this book, but I strongly recommend reading both appendixes at the end.

Up Next: Half-Broke Horses