I tell you, I am so good at finding distractions, especially when I have challenges looming over me. I really had no idea how many distractions I could find until NaNoWriMo! This morning I almost started scrubbing my shower before I reminded myself that I really did NOT have time for that today. Well, this week I have another temptation to deal with (one much more compelling than scrubbing showers!)
There's a new biography out that I've really been looking forward to reading. It's called Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I know, random, right? Well WWII isn't my usual genre, that's for sure, but this one sounded really interesting, and the author is almost as interesting as the story she wrote. Laura Hillenbrand is the author of Seabiscuit, so this is her second biography. (I count a story of a racehorse as a biography, okay?) Laura Hillenbrand also happens to be an extremely ill woman. She's had severe chronic fatigue syndrome from the time that she had a virus when she was in college. She is almost never able to leave her house. And, according to some of the articles I've read, she has such severe weakness and vertigo that she can't even read books anymore. She told one interviewer that she had to skip her morning shower in order to have enough strength to even be interviewed.
This woman is so sick that she's never gotten to meet the subject of her biography, who is, in fact, still alive and in his 90's. They've done dozens of phone interviews, and apparently she has done a remarkable job of remotely researching her topic. I'd never even heard of the man about whom she wrote, but after reading the synopsis I am not sure why he hasn't been a household name to this day - his story is certainly incredible. Louie Zamperini was an American Olympic runner who competed in the Berlin Olympics, met Hitler, and then stole a German flag off the Reich Chancellery! So, yes, it seems that he was a spunky fellow. Which was a good thing, I guess, because in the war, his plane crashed and he was marooned in a raft with two other men for weeks and weeks and weeks, drifting thousands of miles, living on rainwater and bird blood, being strafed by Japanese planes and followed by sharks. The survivors found land only to be taken prisoner by the Japanese, and it gets crazier from there, apparently. The final portion of the book tells of how Mr Zamperini handled the emotional aftermath of this trauma.
The reviews are phenomenal, and I just got an email from Amazon that had this book recommended as one of the ten best of the year.
I remember reading an article that came out soon after they released the movie version of Seabiscuit. In that article, Laura explained that during the course of writing Seabiscuit her health had deteriorated significantly. At the time, she really sounded unsure that she would ever be able to complete another book, and frankly, it sounded like an open question of whether she would even want to, given how much the first one had cost her in terms of her health. So I was very happy to learn that she was successful in writing another book, and one that sounds very well received, too.
And that really makes me want to read it.
(Yesterday I completed 1,940 words, for a total of 22,943. Still working on today.)