Ron’s #3: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

February 8, 2011 // 0 Comments

For good reason, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand landed on many Best of the Year lists in 2010, including on Mark’s. I’m not sure I would have picked this up otherwise; I like World War II books as much as the next guy (if the next guy in question also likes World War II books), but this is focused on one man. And it’s 500 pages. I wasn’t sure that I was ready to commit. I’m so glad that I did. After a few pages, I knew that I would love this book. Unbroken is the story of Louie Zamperini, a hooligan-turned-Olympic runner-turned-pilot-turned-prisoner of war-turned- unbroken and hopeful man. That’s a pretty good one-sentence summary of the book, just in case the publisher is looking for a subtitle for the forthcoming paperback version. I liked Louie instantly; he was a troublemaker tough-guy, but found his escape from his California town by running. Introduced to the sport by his brother, Louie runs in high school, college, and then in the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he met Adolph Hitler. His life changed soon after as the story follows Louie into his new career as an AAC bombardier, until he crashes in the Pacific. […]

Ron’s #3: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (180 pages)

January 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

“Long-distance running has molded me into the person I am today, and I’m hoping it will remain a part of my life for as long as possible. I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together” (172). When we discovered that we were going to Okinawa, Wendy suggested one of her favorite authors, Haruki Murakami. I never read one of his books until I saw this in the library. Strangely enough, it’s about running, a topic I have little interest in reading an entire book about. What compelled me to read something from him was the fact that he translated Raymond Carver’s short stories into Japanese. In fact, I thought he ripped off Carver’s title, What We Talk about When We Talk about Love, my first Carver collection. This is a memoir of sorts, both of his training for several marathons and his writing process. I enjoyed his ability to use running as a metaphor for writing, and writing as a metaphor for running. Murakami has an easy style of writing without pretension, something that books about writing rarely have. I loved the descriptions of his runs around both Tokyo and Boston best, but I found the most […]