I finished reading Louis Zamperini's story today and feel rubbed raw emotionally. The story was powerful and well told, but by its nature painful.
I was riveted during the first portions of the book. There was a turbulent childhood, by dent of Louis' own personality, and the focus that running and becoming an athlete and an Olympian provided him. There was the beginning of the war, a successful mission, and then, following a failed rescue of a different plane, the long, long days at sea. The language was that of a reporter, not a novelist, but one who had delved into the minutest of details so that the scenes came alive.
And then Louis became a prisoner of war. And the clarity that enthralled in the first part of the book became more like shackles as he went from one camp and trial to another. It was horrible. The story, the reality, I mean, not the writing of it.
When the war was over and Louis came home it felt like this was the happy ending that would make the story movie-worthy. But then he suffered from alcoholism and disappointment and PTSD to a cringe-worthy point that put his baby daughter at risk. And I had to wonder how this could be considered "unbroken". How the optimist from the boat and the determined will from the camps could be this man consumed with vengeance.
There was more to come, that I hadn't originally expected. It was the self discovery that occurred during a religious experience that gave him the drive and tools to rise up and find his core self again, to the point he could forgive his captors and in future years build a camp for struggling boys and cultivate personal success in others, among other activities.
And then I could see it again, the core concept behind the title of the book, exhibited in one man's life.
I still don't want to see the movie. I don't want to put into my eyeballs realistic visuals of what the words depicted.
But I do recommend Unbroken as a powerful and well-written read.
I read a few more books this month - partly because I started participating in Goodreads and found a challenge group...
The Relationship Edge in Business by Jerry Acuff
The book does have useful detailed tips, if you want a breakdown of ways to foster your business relationships. So it delivers on what it promises with some useful stories of the advice in action. But overall, it was still just ok.
Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern by Todd J. McCaffrey
This book is only worthwhile if you really like Pern. But assuming that's the case, it was great to see the different aspects of authors and fans who had worked with and lived lives influenced by Anne McCaffrey, especially since I recognized many of the names. I was glad for the glimpses I got by reading it.
Centaur of the Crime by Michael Angel
Really enjoyable read. The idea of a scientifically oriented mind in a fantasy world isn't new, but the way it was brought to life was great. The mystery unfolded in ways that surprised me but did have clues in place so it made sense that Dayna solved it.
Along Came a Demon by Linda Welch
Amusing light read with a couple decent twists. Felt more like a romance than a mystery. Won't bother with the sequels.
Science Friction by Michael Shermer
This collection of essays was somewhat uneven, at least to my personal taste. Some I really liked, some I just pushed through, I'm glad I read it though.
Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon by Richard Roberts
Still so much fun. I love the hurtling pace and the complexity of being heroes and villains at the same time. This book had greater depth to the motivations of the people around the three main characters and they grew too, as they should. It did feel a little odd that the nature of the story changed so much from the intro to the main action, but it was a grand adventure.
An Unlikely Safari Guide by Ella Craine
Detailed and funny bits about experiences as a safari guide. Ella has a clear voice and point of view and by looking at parts of Africa through her eyes I love them as much as she does, at least for a few moments.
A Scream of Angels by Joseph Nassise
I wanted to keep reading to see what happened, to find the answers to the bigger and smaller mysteries raised at the beginning. The religious-themed supernatural elements are well used in creating the story. I could do without some of the weapons detail and such, but I accept that as part of the book leaning more towards the military thriller genre. I appreciate there's a little character development, even in the middle of the adventure, and a sweeping story arc that began in book 1 and is going to continue onward. And I'll be getting that book to read too.
Brothers of the Dragon by Robin Wayne Bailey
Interesting world crossing novel. I liked it well enough to give it three stars but am still deciding if I'll continue the trilogy or not. I found the brothers distinctive and the way they became involved (and were partly already involved) in the new world they'd interested to be well done.
The Wide Lens by Ron Adner
Very good presentation of how to think about the ecosystem outside of an individual company that surrounds making an innovation successful. Clear writing and good illustrative stories.
Top Recommendation for the Month: As You Wish by Cary Elwes
The details were delightful and the pace stayed light and fun throughout this focused biography. I enjoyed the side comments from the other actors and team members as well. They enriched the book. And next time I watch The Princess Bride I will have a much deeper appreciation for that already amazing sword fight and will be looking for that accidentally "elegant way of sitting" caused by the broken toe...
Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching by Jeffrey Gitomer
It's a great sales success book with a similar format to his other work - readable, digestible, useful. What made it stand out was that it's grounded in the work of Patterson, who popularized the cash register. I enjoyed the reaching back to an older philosophy of sales success and making it relevant.
Stuff by Ivan Amato
I enjoyed it, mostly because the subject matter of materials science is dear to my heart and I love reading the stories surrounding it. It's not as accessible to the non-enthusiast as some other popular science books I've read, but whether that's a flaw depends on your point of view. I learned some new things and understood others better than I had before.
The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum
Very accessible and with great information. I enjoyed the stories, how he brought in different theories, and suggested ways they could apply to an individual. I'm looking forward to rereading the book and translating the ideas into the kinds of things I practice - as I am most definitely not a musician.
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
I enjoyed the final book, and was very happy with a couple elements. Sadly, my overall response was more of the "whew, that's finally over." and less of either satisfaction or wishing for more.
What I Like in Poetry by William Lyon Phelps
I found a copy of this book at a library book sale, with a dark green cloth cover. I hadn't read poetry for awhile and thought this would be a nice mish mash. It was. And I enjoyed it, although I did wonder why he would have had published such a thing. He was apparently a well regarded literature professor at Yale.
Just Draw It by Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp
Very pretty collection of drawing exercises. It's not book for the sketcher just getting started, but rather for the one with some idea of the mechanics who wants some ideas for fun practice to get better.