I've been on a reading kick! Usually this time of year I'm on a writing kick, but I'm painting my house's interior and can only concentrate on one creative project at a time, I guess.
First Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Okay, this is THE BEST BOOK I've read in a year. Maybe more. It gripped me. It's the biography of Louis Zamperini, 1936 Olympic runner and later an Air Force gunner in WWII. My dad recommended it as excellent (always a good sign!) and when I'd already laughed out loud AND cried by page FIVE, I knew he was right. The anguish, the humor, man's inhumanity to man, the ultimate redemption in this story makes it an absolute MUST READ. I don't usually read much history (sorry, Dad!) or biography, but the writing in this was impossible to put down.
Next, Charlie St. Cloud. It's a romance. I don't read a lot of romance. There's a reason for this. Somehow, though, romances written by men (like Nicholas Sparks) are more palatable to me. This is by Ben Sherwood. It's kind of a ghost story, too. If romance is your thing, this one might be for you.
Next, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik. It's about a 500-page book, but 2/3 of it is drawings by the author, with about 25,000 words of text. It was made into a movie last year, Hugo. My kids saw it, but I was (surprise, surprise) writing in the foyer of the movie theater while they watched. The book, I must say, is excellent. Inventive, with a good, sympathetic main character and lots of conflict, mystery, and a tiny bit of romance--with historical detail thrown in and lots to learn. Came away feeling smarter. Loved it. Plus, it took just two hours to enjoy. I like that, too.
Finally, Identity by Besty Love. Betsy is a friend from my writers group. Her novel is a Mormon-centric suspense thriller. There's a lot of churchy stuff in it, more than in a lot of the LDS novels I've read lately, so it kind of surprised me. Maybe I don't read a lot of LDS fiction? Anyway, the gist is two women who look identical meet in Mexico and are on the same flight back to the U.S. The plane is sabotaged and crashes. Only one of the women lives. And she has amnesia. Which one is she--the heiress or the little perfect Mormon girl preparing to go on a mission? And which life will she live? Fun premise. I wanted to get a little more into the head voices of the characters more, though, to get a better feel for the story as it went along. Still, a fun escape.
Watched a cute rom-com on Netflix called Pizza My Heart, which was a Romeo and Juliet take-off set in New Jersey at two adjacent pizza shops that have been in fierce competition for a generation. The kids of the competitors fall in love, of course, and conflict ensues. Shiri Appleby is always cute. Beware, though. It WILL make you crave pizza. Man! I had to make homemade pizza with creative ingredients just to get that movie out of my system. Oh, and it's a clean movie. I love that.
Another Netflix find was Broken Hill. It was another clean teen romance. Love that. It's directed by Kieth Merrill (a really neat guy). The plot is a kid lives on a ranch in Australia and his dad is a rugby coach. The kid has always wanted to conduct an orchestra that's playing his own composition, and he may have a chance to get out of the Outback and go to a good music school. Plus, he's got a love interest, a stupid American ex-pat, who eventually grows on you. Kind of. Very attractive cast, great acting, really good story. I'd recommend this movie.