Recent Reads September: 2 books for 2 years

I read a grand total of two books in September. Two.

Well, seeing as Steph and Jana are celebrating two years of the linkup, that’s kind of fitting? Let’s pretend I did it on purpose, shall we?

alaska-3

Random snap of Alaska, because I have nothing more relevant to add. You’re welcome.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand ***** ¦¦ This was recommended to me by Kristen – I can’t remember whether she actually recommended it to me or I stalked it off her Goodreads like a total weirdo, but wow this book more than lived up to expectations. I downloaded the audiobook to listen to on holiday and never actually got time to listen to it at all, so it’s been my commuter book for the last week. It’s such an astonishing story that covers so much hardship and bravery that summaries don’t really do it justice. This book follows the astonishing life of Louis Zamperini, from naughty schoolboy to Olympic runner to Pacific POW. It’s almost unbelievable, but true, and an important and educational read. It’s made me consider and reconsider various things in my life and for me, that’s the power of books.

The Shepherd’s Life: A People’s History of the Lake District, James Rebanks *** ¦¦ I’m all about the life stories this month. Here we have an autobiography, written (funnily enough) by a shepherd in the Lake District. This was another audiobook, and another one I listened to whilst commuting – except this one didn’t make me cry on the train. I enjoyed learning more about fell farming, what it means to live a traditional farming life in Britain, and the ‘invasion’ of people’s traditional lands by tourists. It’s a part of UK history I hadn’t really thought about much before so it was eye opening in that regard. However I found the content slightly repetitive at times, and the authors dogmatic view that these traditional ways of life were far superior to anything else began to descend into reverse snobbery. It also didn’t really get explained how he reconciled his time away at Oxford studying for a History degree with these views. My Mum recommended this book to me, with the darkly muttered caveat that it contained “bad language”. So if you are offended by the odd swear word, steer clear and read James Herriot instead (I think they’re much better books than this anyway). On balance it was a good read, just not excellent.

TL;DR: Definitely read Unbroken (just not in public), read A Shepherd’s Life if you like sheep and/or learning about the Lake District.

Happy reading everyone!

-Rachel

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books. Happy anniversary!

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33 Comments

  1. 10th October 2016 / 18:20

    I’ve been wanting to read Unbroken for a while now, especially after it was made into a movie last year. I haven’t read too many books about the Pacific front in WWII, and I can’t imagine the horror that he must have gone through being such a well known person in a POW camp. Hopefully I’ll be able to read it soon!

    • 11th October 2016 / 18:14

      The atrocities it details are beyond belief, but it manages to not be gratuitous or overly gruesome. I don’t know how the author did it but it’s informative without being sensationalist. To be honest it doesn’t need to be, the events speak for themselves.

  2. Jen
    10th October 2016 / 20:35

    I slacked on reading too, it really bums me out. I need to make the time to read more.

    • 11th October 2016 / 18:14

      Me too! I always think oh I’m too busy, but no, I’m just not making the time. I need to do the same!

  3. 11th October 2016 / 07:38

    I am so behind on my reading list. It feels like ever since I started blogging a year ago all I read is other’s posts and travel-related articles which leaves little to no time for actual books. I need to work on it! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 xoxo, nano | http://www.travelwithnanob.com

    • 11th October 2016 / 18:16

      Yes I’m the same! Especially if I’m researching a trip. You also get the personal connection from blogs that you don’t get from books, so that makes me want to read more blogs! That said, I’m learning a lot from the books I’m reading, and I’ve also been reading a lot of travel memoirs which helps scratch the itch!

  4. 11th October 2016 / 07:40

    I haven’t read Unbroken yet. Generally, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, memoir type books but I’ve heard so many good things about it.

    • 12th October 2016 / 16:49

      I’ve been all about the non-fiction lately, it’s all I’ve wanted to read. Strange! It’s a great book, obviously a difficult subject but it’s not overly grisly. I’d really recommend it!

  5. 11th October 2016 / 12:03

    I haven’t read Unbroken but I did see the movie and I think this is one of those cases where I’m just going to let it be. I figured if I hadn’t read the book by the time I saw the movie, I wasn’t going to (despite all the great things I’ve heard about it)

    • 11th October 2016 / 17:37

      I’m in the same boat. I had a hard time watching the movie as well, so I’m not sure that I could handle the book. When I go into something this heavy knowing it isn’t fiction I have a hard time handling it.

      • 12th October 2016 / 16:57

        Yes it’s definitely a lot. I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch the film, having read the book (!). I would say the book dealt with the content very well, it didn’t descend into gratuitous gore at any point.

    • 12th October 2016 / 16:56

      I’m the same with books that were made into films – even with ones I love, I generally don’t go back and read the book. One of the main things I enjoy about reading is getting to use your imagination on the characters and places, but if it’s been made into a film that’s kind of already been done…

  6. SMD
    11th October 2016 / 13:01

    How lovely of you to read two for two years. Totally on purpose! As always, thanks for joining us.

    Unbroken sounds hard to handle but worth it.

    • 12th October 2016 / 16:58

      I think that’s a pretty good summary. Some books I’ve had to skip through the grisly bits on when I’ve listened to them as an audiobook (Stephen King and Cheryl Strayed believe it or not) but this one I didn’t need to.

      And thanks for hosting for 2 years! I’ve really enjoyed participating 🙂

  7. 11th October 2016 / 14:21

    Unbroken isn’t high on my TBR list (or maybe on it at all), but I have a feeling I would really enjoy it if I were to read it.

    • 12th October 2016 / 16:59

      I felt it was an important read for me, albeit an uncomfortable one. Plus I got the audiobook read by Edward Herrmann who is such a legend that it made even the really difficult bits manageable.

  8. Carly Blogs Here
    11th October 2016 / 14:22

    Unbroken isn’t high on my TBR list (or maybe on it at all), but I have a feeling I would really enjoy it if I were to read it- going to add it now!

  9. 11th October 2016 / 18:00

    I feel you on only reading two books, I can usually only finish one a month. I read two books this month as well, hey, it’s better than zero 🙂

    • 12th October 2016 / 17:00

      It is! And you’ve doubled your reading this month so yay! Last year I had a reading goal and this year I’m just letting it be. No point stressing over something fun.

  10. 11th October 2016 / 18:13

    I’ve been on the fence about reading Unbroken but it really does sound so good. I think I just have to be in the right frame of mind sometime!!

    • 12th October 2016 / 17:01

      Oh I completely agree. For some reason I feel I’m not in the right frame of mind for thrillers or generally stressful fiction, but Unbroken was doable! Strange but there you go.

  11. 11th October 2016 / 19:50

    good job on reading 2 books for the 2 year anniversary! you’re so clever 😉 haha. i’m sure i recommended unbroken to you, if not, goodreads stalking is totally not creepy at all, we all love some goodreads stalking! i know what you mean about making you think and reconsider things. and the narrator was great, right?

    • 15th October 2016 / 22:12

      Yes… I’ll take the clever and move swiftly on! I’m pretty sure you did recommend Unbroken, I think as an audiobook for me to listen to on my epic train trip. Well, I got to it eventually! The narrator was awesome. I miss Edward Herrmann. His narration definitely made the horrible bits manageable.

  12. 12th October 2016 / 00:45

    Yeah…I don’t think I could read any true story related to World War II in public…
    Love the James Herriot books–I have a boxed set of the collection sitting on my bookshelf though I think there’s actually one or two in the set I’ve never read. The only problem is that I’m a little squeamish about medical procedures of any kind (such a good thing I married a nurse, right?), so sometimes I have to skip entire pages…

    • 15th October 2016 / 22:17

      No, I imagine that might not go overly well. I’d love a James Herriot boxed set! I get the need to skip a page (that being the downside of audiobooks, very hard to skip without missing crucial plot points) although I was fine with the gory bits. I grew up with a medical family so I think that made me somewhat less easily grossed out. Just somewhat though.

  13. 12th October 2016 / 03:32

    I thought Unbroken was okay. I’m skeptical about how much was memoir and how much was the author taking liberties. I wrote about this back in 2015 I think. I remember listening to it then.
    I kind of wish I’d just seen the movie instead (still haven’t).

    • 15th October 2016 / 22:19

      I see what you mean. Some of the dialogue recollections seem awfully sharp, you’re right. I don’t see why you would need to take liberties with a story like Unbroken, so I really hope they didn’t. I’m not sure whether to see the film, but Erin says it’s good so I’ll take her word for it!

  14. 12th October 2016 / 08:17

    I’m someone who always prefers to read a book before seeing a movie. That being said, I’ve seen the movie “Unbroken” but didn’t read the book. The movie is fantastic, by the way.

    • 15th October 2016 / 22:20

      Yes I’m definitely the same. At least I’m all tee’d up in the right order to see Unbroken then, but I’m not sure I could handle seeing the story on the big screen. Was it horribly gory or ok?

  15. 14th October 2016 / 18:35

    I’m reading Rose Under Fire right now and while it is fiction, she’s in a German concentration camp and it’s absolutely breaking my heart. I have never read anything about POWs in the Pacific so Unbroken could totally expand my horizons some!

    • 15th October 2016 / 22:22

      Oh goodness. I normally steer clear of any sort of fiction around either wars because I can’t even handle the non-fiction books about them. And Sarah’s Key absolutely finished me off so I think your book choice is very brave! I do agree that it’s a horizon expanding kind of book, I’m not too familiar with the war in the Pacific as the British didn’t fight over there too much therefore they don’t focus on it at school. I definitely need to educate myself more though.

  16. 17th October 2016 / 20:45

    I love to read about other people’s reads 🙂 You went very non-fiction, that’s great. They did the movie for unbroken right? Rings a bell. And the writer of The Shepherd’s Life the guy who instagrams his sheep all the time? I follow him haha

    • 17th October 2016 / 21:18

      Yeah I’ve been in a real non-fiction groove recently which I’ve been really enjoying. I hear there is a film version of Unbroken, having listened to the book I’m not sure I could face it all again (in presumably more graphic format) but there are good reviews from Erin and others so maybe I’ll work my way up to it. No way does the shepherd guy have an instagram?? I’m going to look for it right now. I think some sheep instagrams is what I need most in my life right now.

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