It’s summer!! Well, it’s not official for another few weeks but hey, if my AC is running, the pools are open, and the backyard smells of barbecue, it’s summer in my book. And, speaking of books, summer is the time when we enjoy diving into a real good read while we lounge and sip a cool pina colada…mmm.
The laziness of summer makes me crave light foods and light reading. Though I have a growing list of books to read, I have been searching for just the right summer read and I think I found it.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the book for me. I know, I know, a story about World War II does not sound like light reading at all. I am not one to seek out books about war and suffering but, when I watched an interview with Mr. Louis Zamperini, on whose life the book is based, I was hooked. I realized that what I want from this summer’s read is inspiration.
During World War II, Louis Zamperini was captured by Japanese soldiers, tortured, starved, threatened and mistreated. When he returned home he suffered from horrible nightmares and from Post-Traumatic Stress. Yet, he said, when he forgave his torturers is when the nightmares went away – he has not any since. The footage of him returning to Japan to shake the hands with Japanese soldiers was impactful and that’s when I decided this was a story I had to read. But, there is another reason why I really wanted to read this book. The author, Laura Hillenbrand who interviewed Mr. Zamperini extensively and researched for the book for seven years, never met him in person during that entire time. By the way, Laura Hillenbrand came across Mr. Zamperini’s story when she was doing research for her book, Seabiscuit. The reason she had not visited Mr. Zamperini was because she suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a condition that can devastate your life. Wow, what an inspiration! I was moved when Mr. Zamperini tells the story that when he found out about her condition, he sent her one of his Purple Heart medals, saying that she was more deserving because his suffering was short compared to the constant siege of suffering she lives with. How their lives have intertwined so that they may offer each other support and admiration is more evidence of how the universe conspires to get us what we need, just when we need it.
I think of all the times that I have feared being broken. During break-ups and through disappointment and betrayal, was when I truly believed I would fall apart into many pieces. How many times have I felt that I could not meet the challenge or survive the turmoil. Yet, life gives us examples of how resilient and strong we truly are. I am excited to read about this amazing and inspiring human being and support the work of an equally inspiring author.
What’s on your summer reading list?