On off the needles: I’m breaking the one picture rule today to show you FB sporting his newly-finished Aviatrix. The knitting has been finished for awhile but I finally finished lining it with soft cotton interlock this week. (Click here for lining tutorial.) The 3-month size is still roomy enough that I’m hoping it will fit him well into fall.
Off the bookshelf: I’ve been reading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit which is now on my to-read list based on the quality of her writing.), and I can’t remember the last time I read such a compelling book. If I didn’t have small children and midnight feedings to contend with, I probably would have pulled an all-nighter by now to finish the book.
In her acknowledgments, Hillenbrand writes:
When I finished writing my first book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, I felt certain that I would never again find a subject that fascinated me as did the Depression-era racehorse and the team of men who campaigned him. When I had my first conversation with the infectiously effervescent and apparently immortal Louie Zamperini, I changed my mind. (399)
Hillenbrand tells the story of Zamperini, a young man headed in the wrong direction until his older brother convinces him to give running a try. In a short matter of time, Zamperini dazzles the country and runs his way onto the 1936 US Olympic team. At the age of nineteen, he heads to Germany to compete in the 5,000 (not considered his strongest event) simply to gain Olympic experience. After a strong showing, Louie is considered by most as the runaway favorite to win gold at the 1940 Olympics in his premier event, the 1500 (the closest equivalent to the mile), as well as be the first man to break the 4-minute mile.
World War II blindsides Louie’s dreams of glory and he heads into combat as a bombardier in the Air Force. On a voluntary search and rescue mission for a missing aircraft, Louie’s plane goes down, leaving him and only two other crew members to attempt survival on two rubber rafts in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as they drift towards Japanese occupied waters.
My reading pace has slowed somewhat in the last few days, as life has intervened, and I’ve entered what is, to me, the most depressing part of the book. I’ve peeked ahead to the ending numerous times to reassure myself of the Louie’s ultimate triumph, and I can’t wait to get there. Zamperini’s experiences are surreal; beyond incredible—an unbelievable testament to strength of the human spirit and the role our thoughts play in times of adversity.
Be forewarned—the brutality described in this book, although done as tastefully as possible, is shocking (that being said, I’m used to reading very tame books). I’ve read many books on this period of history from varying perspectives, and this one is memorable for its portrayal of the human capacity for evil. Although violence is a central part of Louie’s (and his fellow POWs’) experience, what is most astounding is his ability to deal with its endless onslaught.
Hillenbrand makes this nonfiction book read like fiction, deftly intertwining historical facts with the story line to foreshadow events and emotionally tie the reader to the “characters”.
So . . . what are you knitting and reading this week?