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Dear Friends of the Written Word,
I'm just going to jump right in here and mention a couple of books that I've read over the last months. First would be "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" (by Jamie Ford - a novel but based on his grandparents' experiences being rounded up and sent to an internment camp) - the hotel still stands in Seattle. Over my lifetime I've met several who endured the trials of the camps. While the whole situation is horrific to contemplate, it is even worse to realize that the interns were sort of deposited out in the middle of nowhere and had to then build their own camps from scratch. Just horrible. This is an excellent book if you're a history buff but can't stand to read of barbaric treatment. The barbarism was there of course in the idea of "just round 'em up and ship them out" but physical brutality seems to have been at a minimum -- correct me here if anybody knows differently.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have recently read "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand -- another WWII true story of a young man (an Olympic runner in fthe 1936 Olympics), a member of a flight team who was shot down over the ocean, survived some 40+ days in a raft and then was sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp for several years and who knows how, but he did not succumb to the barbaric treatment of the camp commandant -- a weasly little guy, sociopathic and evil to his very core. Even his own family couldn't stand him. Gut wrenching reading for sure.
After the war "our hero" had a number of difficulties (really??) but remains among us at the ripe old age of 92. A football fan and alumna of USC, he was recently in Utah for the Utah/USC football game.
The author, Laura Hillenbrand, also wrote "Seabiscuit" I think and apparently suffers from some malady which keeps her homebound much of the time - and yet has written these finely researched books under less than ideal circumstances.
And finaly, have just finished "Moon over Manifest" - a debut novel by Clare Vanderpool - this year's Newberry Award winner. I often find debut novels to be the best that any one author has to give - but believe that this author has real potential. The storyline follows a little girl and her father during the Great Depression -- he drops her off in the little town of Manifes,t basically to keep her safe and not having to ride the rails with him as he eeks out a living while riding the rails and resting in the many Hooverville's that existed. The characters are delightful, the story well-defined and the book was an all-around pleasure to read.
Hope I haven't given TMI as in Too Much Information but wanted to share some of the better books that I've read lately. I read a lot but often fall off the wagon and disappear into the delightful pages of a Janet Evanovich -- they just make me laugh. Not too much thinking to do but she is a clever writer with very interesting characters.
Off to read another few pages.