Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Talk Tuesday (a day late)

The two books I'm going to tell you about today are Unbroken and The Samurai's Garden.  Let me first say, that when I started these books (one in audio and one in paper), I didn't realize they took place around the same time in history (pre-WWII and WWII).  It made the experience very enlightening. 

First up...The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu's secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu's generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu's soulmate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.

This book is written through journal entries written by Stephen.  the young with tuberculosis.  It is short book and an easy read.  I enjoyed it and thought the story and relationship between the two men, one Chinese and one Japanese, during such a volatile time was touching.  I would highly recommend this one!

Next up is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Taking place 10 years later when the US has joined the war.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

I loved this story!  It is beautifully written and such a compelling story of survival.  In the audio version, this is ready by Edward Herrmann.  I love him as an actor and his voice was fantastic for this.  There was definitely an added element with the audio version.  I highly recommend this one as well. 

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I am married to my best friend and am the mom of two wonderful kids. I have had my ups and downs in regards to health, happiness and weight loss. This blog will tell you about all of those ups and downs and my opinion on the randomness that we call life.

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