Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Good Books

A couple of books I can recommend:

The first one is called "The Forgotten Garden"  by Kate Morton. This is a big, romantic novel and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It concerns a 4-year-old girl, found abandoned on a dock in Australia, adopted by the port master and his wife, and her subsequent efforts to trace her  background and origins.  It spans three generations and two continents and ends with her granddaughter's unraveling the secret of her family and her grandmother's past. Lots of mysterious leads and side stories and a little mild love interest. 

The author jumps from one character and one time period  to another throughout the book, which can be a little disorienting at first.   But once I got acquainted with the people involved and the mysteries surrounding their stories, it did not present a problem for me.  A nice pleasant read, I thought.

And just the sort of escapist literature that I have been indulging in lately.   I find that the older I get, the less inclined I am to tackle books that require much involvement, either mental or emotional.  I have become very cynical about government and the people who "run" it,  and I have witnessed so much violence, hatred and evilness during my lifetime, that I sometimes feel I cannot take in any more.  From a young idealist, believing fervently in the eventual triumph of civilization,   I have evolved into a skeptical old lady who wonders if mankind is going to make it.  Except for the technological marvels, it seems we have not advanced much beyond the Middle Ages.  We still torture and murder and engage in brutal wars and sacrifice our young as though their lives hold no meaning at all.

Which brings me, sort of,  to this next book, which I am going to recommend without having read it.

It is called "Unbroken", by Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote "Seabiscuit".  It is about  Louis Zamperini, an Army Air Forces bombardier and champion Olympic runner, and and his experiences in WWll.  I did, in fact, get quite far into the book and then reached a stage where I could not continue.  Louis' plane was shot down and he became a wartime prisoner and I simply could not read another account of the atrocities and sufferings of young men at the hand of brutal prison guards and the ordeals they underwent during those terrible years.

Louis survived and lived to a ripe old age.  The book is well-researched with many pages of notes and a large index, and quite a few photos.  My impression from the portion  that I read was that it was a very informative, interesting, scholarly book and well worth the time of anyone who is interested in this period  in history.  In fact, a very good book. Wish I could have read it all.

The Forgotten Garden    Kate Morton    Washington Square Press
 Unbroken      Laura Hillenbrand        Random House

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