The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Unbroken + The Opposite Of Loneliness

Monday, September 29, 2014

WHAT'S THE DEAL? The true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini's hellish ordeal during the Second World War. A story of true grit, resilience, and triumph out of adversity.

ANY GOOD? What can I say? This book was truly amazing and utterly heartbreaking. To be honest, I was quite overwhelmed each time I sat down to read it on the commute.

I heard about Unbroken when Angelina Jolie began filming her adaptation and I planned on waiting for the film. However, the reviews on Celebitchy Book Club last month were so enthusiastic, I just had to get a copy.

It started out a little slow but I understand that Laura Hillenbrand wanted to give us an idea of Louis's character. I don't really have much to say about the war part of the novel - I don't need to tell you it was harrowing. Oh, I got so angry on the train reading about the Bird! However, the details about every day life in the camps and the other allied POWs were really interesting and sometimes brought about a rare smiles. The ending was really inspiring and the whole ordeal proves how strong people really are when put through the wringer. Although it's hard to imagine you'd survive the things Louis went through.

I've seen some people complain about the Billy Graham part but I'm not sure why. Louis was a man of faith, so why wouldn't this part of his story be included? It might not be 'cool' to talk about your faith these days but it was very important to Louis and shaped his outlook on life. As a Christian, I found the final chapters to be very profound but whether or not you have a faith shouldn't effect your view of Louis and the story overall.

Anyway, I'd say try and read this if you can. If not, definitely catch the film over the Christmas period. 

ADD TO BASKET? Yes, definitely. Even if you don't like war books - I'm not the biggest fan - you'll be humbled and inspired.

WHAT'S THE DEAL? A collection of short stories and essays from the late Marina Keegan. 

ANY GOOD? Whilst working my way through Unbroken on the trains, I returned to The Opposite of Loneliness at home. Needless to say, it was an emotional week.

It was always going to be a poignant read considering Marina Keegan passed away at such a young age. However, actually reading through these short stories and essays that are filled with such hope and vibrancy and potential, well, it was like a punch in the gut. There are some lines that certainly produce a chill given the current situation.

I was surprised by how much I liked these pieces. I don't read many collections of short stories but on the rare occasion that I do, usually only like 60% or so. With The Opposite of Loneliness, I'd say I liked 80%. I don't know if it was because a lot of the characters were early twenty-sometings and therefore relatable but then again I really enjoyed the former ballerina's story. The essay on consulting and career paths really resonated with me as all those kinds of thoughts have been swimming through my head for the past year or so too. I'd also highly recommend the coeliac essay for anyone who suffers from allergies or an intolerance.

Overall, The Opposite of Loneliness is a lovely collection from an extremely gifted writer and seemingly wonderfully electric person. 

ADD TO BASKET? If you like short stories then yes, definitely. 

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