Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand | Jorie's Store @ Amazon

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author: Laua Hillenbrand, Narrated by Edward Herrmann
ISBN: 9781415962763
Length: 13 hours, 56 minutes
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Biography, History, Word War II History, Military History
Source: Harris County Public Library Digital Media Catalog

Goodreads

Reasons for Reading: I wanted to read Unbroken ever since I watched a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment about Louis Zamperini and Laura Hillenbrand. Soon after, I won a Nook Tablet and, thus, began my journey of requesting and re-requesting Unbroken until I finished it in 2014. I’ve checked out both eBook and eAudio of Unbroken from HCPL’s Overdrive.

Summary: Wild and crazy Louis Silvie Zamperini seemed unstoppable. His hi-jinx earned him a reputation in his hometown of Torrance, California while his amazing speed gave him a ticket to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He went on to become an Army Air Forces bombardier. He fought in the Pacific Theater. His bomber crashed in the Pacific Ocean in May, 1943. Many believed Zamperini and others on board died in the crash.

Unbeaten, Zamperini rose to the surface of the ocean and pulled himself onto a life raft. He and two other crew members survived the crash. The three floated, awaiting help. Ultimately, Japanese fighters discovered the castaways. The journey continues, testing an unbreakable spirit.

One Thing I Learned from this book: One real threat to humanity was the pseudoscience of eugenics, “the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population” (Wikipedia, 2014).  To discover more, click on the following linked phrase – Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What I Liked: I liked Zamperini and his rough and tumble family. I easily slipped into his world as Hillenbrand set the scene well. I’ll admit this fits under the heading of  “stranger than fiction.”

What I Disliked: I wanted a little more between the last chapter and the penultimate chapter and the epilogue. As this may spoil the ending, I will not say anything more about the ending.

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17

A Few Notes: I finished reading Unbroken a short while before our hero’s passing in July. To see previous posts about the subject of Unbroken, check out the following links:

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Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley confidential: Ten years later


Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal | LibraryThing

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal | LibraryThing

Pascal, F. (2011). Sweet Valley confidential: Ten years later. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 9780312667573

Reasons for Reading : I read the Sweet Valley books when I was in upper-elementary school. While I didn’t consider these books the most edifying literature, I enjoyed the adventures of twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. My favorites were The Wakefields of Sweet Valley and The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Story, which told of the twins’ ancestors. Maybe this foreshadowed my interest in genealogy.

Summary: Creator Francine Pascal revisits the world of Sweet Valley. Everyone is a decade older than when they were last seen. Now, the Wakefield twins aren’t on speaking terms. Elizabeth is pursuing her dream of journalism in New York and avoiding Jessica, who betrayed her. What did Jessica do that pushed the normally merciful and loving Elizabeth away from Sweet Valley? Oh, she just fell into bed with Elizabeth high school sweetheart – Todd Wilkins. Can Elizabeth ever get over such a betrayal?

What I Liked : It was good to see these characters from my girlhood. While I didn’t dislike Jessica, Elizabeth was always my favorite.  

Also, I liked seeing storylines resolved.

What I Disliked : Pascal seemed to think that since this was a book for “adults,” that she needed to make the characters drink, curse, and have lots of sex with various partners. I could understand that Elizabeth was mad at Jessica but she seemed just vile in this book. Oh, and did Alice Wakefield really need to drop the “f-bomb” at grandma’s birthday dinner at the country club?

Then, there were some spelling/grammar errors throughout the book.

One Out of Five Pearls (My lowest rating yet!)

Song: Sweet Valley High (Full Theme Song) by Kathy Fisher – YouTube

Setting : Sweet Valley, California & New York City

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For more on Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, check out the following sites:
 

Charles Webb’s The Graduate


The Graduate by Charles Webb | LibraryThing

* A 1001 Books Book

Webb, C. R., Brick, S., & Blackstone Audio (Firm). (2008). The graduate. Ashland, Or.: Blackstone Audio. 1433255456

The movie has pervaded American culture since its debut in 1967. Growing up in the 1990s, I remember listening to Simon and Garfunkel sing about Mrs. Robinson because my dad chose what music we listened to when we were driving. Like many other great movies, The Graduate was based on a book. Seeing that Houston Public Library owned the audiobook version, I requested it and was soon listening to this bildungsroman.

Brilliant but disillusioned Benjamin Braddock just graduated from some nice institution in New England and has returned home to Southern California. He’s discontented, unhappy, listless, seemingly aimless, not to mention whiny. His parents’ prodding just exacerbates the issue. Then, the wife of his father’s business partner, Mrs. Robinson, begins pressuring him into an adulterous affair. With nothing “better” to do, Benjamin finds himself meeting Mrs. Robinson in a hotel room. This is all fine and dandy until the Robinsons’ lovely daughter, Elaine comes home for a student holiday from Berkeley. Cuckolded Mr. Robinson urges Benjamin to date Elaine while Mrs. Robinson has other ideas. Then, Benjamin suddenly has something. . . rather someone, to live for beyond postgrad.

Once I recovered from my initial dislike of the petulant Benjamin, I enjoyed this morality play. Throughout most of it, I was purely disgusted by Mrs. Robinson and aggravated with the others “over thirty.” It amused me that the only characters with first names were the kiddos. . . just like school. I’d recommend this dark comedy to the mature reader.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel

Places : The East Coast, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara

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For more on Charles Webb’s The Graduate, check out the following sites: