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