Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand

My husband declares himself the "non-reader" of the family. Sure, it's a bit ironic considering my aspirations. But don't most wives enjoy the challenge of improving their loved ones? Well, it seems after all these years, I'm getting a bit closer to wiping him off that sordid and fabricated club of "people who don't like to read."

After an addiction to all books written by either Dan Brown or Dave Barry  (polar opposites? maybe...), my Doug has informed me that Unbroken by Ms. Lauren Hillenbrand has taken top honors as his favorite book of all time. I had the pleasure of topping off the read yesterday...and while it's too fresh for me to put into my favorite of "all time" category (my bookshelf is a bit wider than my darling's), it will certainly get the "Five Star" and the "heart" on Shelfari.

Anyone that has read Seabiscuit knows that Hillenbrand is an accomplished artist when it comes to writing compelling non-fiction. It's been awhile since I read about the racehorse, but the story of Louis Zamperini had me so captivated from the start, it felt like I was reading something from fiction. Could this all be for real? Yes. Amazingly, yes.

The stories will appall in parts. How can it not? It was war. But it's not all about despair. The story is incredibly inspiring. On my worst day....my very worst day, it would do me good to think about what some of the poor young men battled in those awful POW camps. It would seem we, and I mean my generation (of the X variety) of Americans, take a lot for granted.

I have a friend in her 80's. She's a widow, and her husband was a WWII veteran. She still ventures to a WWII veteran reunion with his battalion that has been meeting every year since the war. Isn't that amazing? They never forget what it's about. I love my country. But honestly, sometimes I forget about freedom. I take it for granted. I complain about taxes. I forget how easy it is to walk outside. Or to do whatever I want. Or say whatever I want. This book made me think how so much has been given for the lives we live today. In our peaceful land in the center of the universe.

Thank God for the many, many heros....like Louie Zamperini. I found a few interviews with Louis. This one was my favorite. It won't take away from the book. Take a look...and don't forget to pick up the book!

Sidenote: I was thinking about the argument of E-books being the decline of the book industry. But for a really great book, like Unbroken, perhaps that argument is flawed. Case in point: My mother purchased the book on her Kindle. Then decided my father needed to read it, so purchased the hard bound book. She loaned to us. Doug read. Then I read. Now, I feel that we need the book on our shelf. I will buy upon our next visit to a bookstore. I also believe that my 80-something friend (aforementioned in the post) would love this story, so I will also purchase a copy for her as a gift. Thus not only has one electronic copy been purchased, three additional hardcopies. Oh - and I mentioned this book to one of my best friends, Amy,who also is a bibliophile and most certainly will grab the book on her next visit to a B&N...So make that four additional hardcopies. My point? Maybe we need more great books...

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