Oops that was an unexpected week off blogging! Oopsy-daisy. I had my second book club meeting last night and during it I quickly realized that I haven't given you any good reads recently so here are two.
The first is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Wow, what a doozy! I was so engrossed in this book that I literally read it from the moment I got on the subway to the moment my work computer booted up. One morning I completely missed three different co-workers saying good morning because my nose was stuck so far into this book.
While reading, I had to keep reminding myself that this is a true story of one man. It was that unbelievable. The story follows Louis Zamperini, a precocious, unpredictable lover of life based in California. Louis discovers a gift for running as a teenager and quickly becomes an Olympic level runner at the Berlin Olympics. Louis later enlists in the U.S. Air Force, becoming a bombardier serving in the Pacific and ultimately becoming a Japanese POW. I don't want to ruin the rest of the storyline as its pretty incredible but the heart and soul of this man and his survival story is awe-inspiring. So many times, I wondered if I could remain "unbroken" in a similar situation and I'm not sure I could. This is definitely a fast, thrilling page turner that will run the gamut of your emotions. There's a bit of WWII history in there if you're interested in that like I am, but its definitely more of a human interest piece. I really loved this book and was truly inspired by Louis' perseverance and strength in the face of some deplorable situations. There are a lot of take aways for the daily stresses in all of our lives here!
The second book is The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I was really intrigued by this book; I know so little about Ernest Hemingway other than I really hated Old Man and the Sea in high school. The Paris Wife follows the early lives of Hemingway and his first of four wives, Hadley Richardson and their lives together in Jazz Age Paris. The story follows the couple as they navigate the party-atmosphere of the times and the indulgent artistic folks they befriend. The book provides a lot of interesting background points about Hemingway's writing process, specifically with writing The Sun Also Rises. Throughout the book, my feelings towards Hadley changed greatly. She is so deeply in love and committed to Ernest that her patience and loyalty is at times enviable, and at other times frustrating. What's most difficult yet fascinating to read is how she ultimately befriends the woman that Ernest leaves her for. This was a really interesting read; educational without being a non-fiction book or biography. The descriptions of early 20th century Paris, the Jazz Age and Europe as a whole were wonderful, I caught myself dreaming of skiing in the Alps a lot during this book!
If you're curious, we read Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Bank for book club this month. It was a thought-provoking read, and is certainly good for creating a discussion, but not my favorite. I was the only dissenting opinion though, so check it out if you're curious. Have you read anything great lately? I'm always adding to my list!