Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My last 3 books

Over the last 30 days I've read three books.  The first one took me as long as the other two books to read.  I thought all of them were o.k. and fascinating in their own way.  Here goes:

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption [Book] 

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.

So the first 1/3-1/2 of the book was somewhat slow, but once the above mentioned crash happens the book read much more quickly.  Louis Zamperini was a runner- Olympics 1936 bronze- but then ended up in POW camp(s) in Japan.  The story taught me a lot about World War II and the Japanese culture/philosophy of war during that era.  I also found the information about the B 24 and B 29 interesting and scary (not a real safe plane).  These two planes Matt's grandpa flew in World War II so it was very surreal to read about the pilot and think it could've been grandpa.  I think the story is at times too detailed and I was a little disappointed in this read, but I did learn a lot about the time. 

My second book I first saw at a check out lane at one of the two local public libraries I frequent.  I wrote the title down in my "wish list" of books to read and figured it would end up being just that a "wish"; then after the above book I was in need of some fluff/no real using the noggin reading and thought how about that "Beatrix Potter historical fiction" mystery I put on my "wish" list a few months ago. 
The Tale of Hill Top Farm (Beatrix Potter Mystery Book 1)
In this first Cottage Tale, Albert introduces Beatrix, an animal lover and Good Samaritan with a knack for solving mysteries. With help from her entourage of talking animal friends, Beatrix sets out to win over the human hearts of Sawrey, where she's just bought an old farm--and plans to stay.

I have always loved Beatrix Potter's children's books and so it was fun to read adult mystery book in which I learn a little about Beatrix Potter's real life while also getting to hear from her animal friends- who do try and help solve mysteries.  It was a fun book and like I said earlier I needed some "no brainer" reading.  When I need some more "no brainer" time I plan to look into the other two books in this series.

My third book is this month's book club pick.  When Matt came back from public library telling me he had a hard time finding it I was wondering why.  I had told him to go to the fiction section and look under Atwood- for Margaret Atwood and find her book called "The Handmaid's Tale".  He said he couldn't find it until he asked the fiction desk guy to help him out.  Well to my surprise it was in Sci Fi.  Now I'm not a huge SciFi person.  I normal don't get the plot and can't really follow along with what is going on in these books.  This book was a little surprising and as Madeline L'Engle's book club book pick "An Acceptable Time" (SciFi also) surprised me pleasantly I enjoyed reading it.  Margaret Atwood's writing style was enjoyable, but I did and still do struggle to understand what exactly occurred.  I read it with my fiction/novel reader's mind set and eye and found it to be somewhat of a love story.  Now some of my book club had already read the book, but wanted to reread or review it again and their comments were all about it being about politics.  I see where they got that take from, but me being me- and not very politically minded - I read it almost similar to how I would read a book about World War II and the Holocaust.  This book was 300 pages in paperback, but it was so engaging I finished it within 3-4 days-which is good for me considering I'm not that quick of a reader. 

Book Description

March 16, 1998
In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
If you look under wikipedia about this book there are varied themes they focus on and really break the book down in a way that I did not when reading.  That is the thing with me I normally just read for the enjoyment of reading and don't get very analytical in my reading.  Also all the above comments in italics are reviews of the books by others not myself.  It has been a varied month of reading but each book gave me something I didn't have before reading them. 


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