“Unbroken”

25192223280_p0_v3_s114x166 Several years ago Tom Brokaw wrote a book calling  the men and women who lived during the Second World War the “Greatest Generation.”  After viewing the movie “Unbroken,” it is undeniable that those who served their country, at home and overseas, were indeed men and women whose sacrifices were unbelievable and great.

Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best seller, “Unbroken” is the true story of Louis Zamperini.  The movie traces Zamperini’s story from his childhood in Torrance, California, to his feats as an Olympic runner, to his service in the Pacific during the war.

After being shot down, he and two members of the crew, endured 47 days on a raft.  After miraculously surviving, the two remaining crew members are captured by the Japanese to endure years in a prisoner of war camp and hard labor at a Japanese port.

Never having heard of Louis Zamperini, I was mesmerized by his story as I read Hillenbrand’s book.  The movie does a good job of capturing the pain and cruelty that these men endured. Perhaps because I had read the book, the movie, for me, was anti-climatic.  For those unfamiliar with his story or for those who do not have a strong background of the Second World War, this is an emotional movie of one of the members of the “Greatest Generation.”

 

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

5th gospelCo-writer of The Rule of Four, Caldwell pens an intriguing mystery surrounding two brothers and the Shroud of Turin, the cloth believed to have covered Christ’s body in the tomb. The novel is set in 2004, and begins on the property of the Vatican. Father Alexander Andreou, an Eastern Catholic priest with a young son, receives an urgent phone call one evening from his brother Simon, a Roman Catholic priest, who begs Alex to “pick him up before the police do…”  When he arrives at Castel Gandolfo, Alex finds Simon standing over the dead body of their mutual friend,Ugo Nogara, who was working on an exhibit for the Vatican Museum, whose focus was the Shroud. The mystery of Ugo’s death is just one piece of the puzzle, which widens to include the Crusades, Pope John Paul II’s dying wish, the Orthodox Church and the four Gospels of the New Testament.

The Fifth Gospel is fast-paced, and provides a fictional look inside Vatican politics for the curious reader.

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

dream loverThis novel is a chronicle of the life of George Sand, the French writer, famous for the novels Lelia, Indiana, The Marquise and Pauline. She spent her life searching for someone who would love her as much as she could return that love, yet that person in fact eluded her. Her list of lovers is long, with the most famous being Frederic Chopin. The Dream Lover is very descriptive, and Berg goes into much character detail. It is a beautiful romance novel, but I found it a little too long-winded for my taste.

Rosetta Stone

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Rosetta Stone is a popular language learning program that we offer to patrons with Palisades library cards. You can link to it from our home page. I logged in today for the first time to try out the Spanish language section.

In high school I spent 4 years studying Spanish and had 2 more years of instruction in college. I never speak Spanish, understand very little when it is spoken and can only read it at a second grade level. In the Rosetta Stone software I chose the Latin American program and started at level 2.

It was a lot of fun. A narrator speaks and usually the sentences are displayed on the screen. The exercise I practiced involved matching what the narrator said to pictures on the screen. There is instant feedback and the exercise advances at a nice pace. The level of difficulty was both familiar enough and challenging enough to keep me interested.

After logging on I had difficulty getting the program to begin. So I tried it on Google Chrome and was connected instantly. So use Chrome and not Firefox.

Father’s Day-new juvenile books

Two new books have been added to our juvenile fiction collection that celebrate dads.9780399256714_p0_v1_s114x166“Tad and Dad” by Caldecott Award winner David Ezra Stein is about the bond between a little tadpole, Tad, and, of course, his Dad.  Each day Tad tries to impress his Dad with his growing abilities.  He learns to sing loudly, hop great distances, and swim faster and faster.  But each day he asks his Dad if he can sleep in his bed so that he won’t miss Tad.  Complications occur, but in the end Tad and Dad learn to sleep together comfortably on their lily pad.  The cartoon-like illustrations focus on the frogs, especially their bulging expressive eyes.

 

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“I Want My Daddy!” by Tracey Corderoy is a father-son story featuring mice.  Arthur is the baby mouse who finds that he needs his daddy a great deal.  His dad helps him repair his cardboard castle, plays “knights” with him, takes him to the park, and saves him from something that is very scary and hairy.

This is a very gentle story featuring adorable mice.  The illustrations are non-threatening and focus on sweet-looking Arthur and his dad.

Both of these new books would appeal to toddlers and children  through the age of six.