Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Reviews

VACATION!  Sometimes its means time to just READ!  Yay!  I actually found time between classrooms and meetings and lunches and coffees to sit down and finished two books - not just two little piddly books, but two pretty substantial ones.  I actually started in on my third, but that one I'm still working on.  So - in the meantime, here are some good reads you should check out.

This book is one that you HAVE to read!  Its a truly amazing story and told in a truly amazing fashion.  The book is "Unbroken" and its written by Laura Hillenbrand, the author of "Seabiscuit".  I love that she made the comment that she really wasn't looking to write another biography after she had gone through "Seabiscuit", but then she sat down with the man who this story is about and he had told her that it should be much easier to write his story, because he could talk to her.

This story is about Louis Zamperini, a guy who was an amazing runner (he ran in the 1936 Olympics) and then ended up as a pilot in WWII and, through that, ended up as a Japanese POW.  His story is absolutely amazing and inspiring and its a book that you absolutely can't put down.  I can't recommend this book enough.

My hair-stylist recommended the book to me and as I read it on my trip to Budapest, I had tons of comments from people who had read the book or where trying to find the book.  The general comment was that the ending was the best part of the book and that it made the whole story worth it, but no one would ever even hint what the ending was.  So, in the fashion of those before me, I will not spoil the ending but will tell you that it is the highlight of the book.

Beg, borrow, please don't steal, but ask me if you feel like thats your only option - you have to do whatever you can to get this book and read it!  You will never want to put it down until you finish it.  Even if you're not into biographies or true stories or history - this is one book that everyone would love.

Thanks to the clearance sales at Borders all over the country, I picked up many different books that I would never have thought to grab from the shelves unless they were marked down to like $1.99.  "The Bang Bang Club" was one of those books that I don't think I would have ever paid money for.  Mainly because of the fact that it took place in Africa and that was one continent that, I have to admit, has never really interested me that much.  But, since, the book was $1.99, I decided to learn a little about Africa.

It was definitely a book that I couldn't put down, but it was bitterly true.  Its pretty graphic, human yuck graphic.  Its actually a true story that was made into a book and then made into a movie.  

A group of photographers during the 1980/90s are out photographing war photos for the newspapers.  They're mostly all South Africans themselves so they understand the people and the language and the landscape and because of that, they're able to go where a lot of photographers wouldn't normally go.  Unfortunately, due to the violence that was occurring, it really did mentally tax on several members of their "club".  

I liked the book in the sense that they would describe stories and how they got certain shots and then if you flipped to certain sections in the book, you could see the photos that were being described.  A number of them were quite graphic and you would just read the story and look at the picture and wonder how people could do those things to each other.  And then you start questioning the ethics of the journalism photography that was occurring and how people could walk away from scenes like that and still have a normal life.  

"The Bang Bang Club" is a good book, but you have to be ready to read things and have pictures in your head of a pretty graphic nature.  It is true life and it did happen, but its just pretty jolting.  Its definitely a different story and it opened my eyes more about a time and a place that I'm not as familiar with.

I'm moving onto fiction right now.  I've been reading so much real life stuff that I wanted to switch my brain back to fiction for a while and see where that goes.  

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