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Nancy's Notes - March 10, 2011


We recently acquired a copy of “Unbroken”, by Laura Hillenbrand. She is the author of the former bestseller “Seabiscuit”. This time Hillenbrand has brought us the real-life story of Louis Zamperini. When he was a boy, Zamperini was a delinquent, as a teenager he channeled his defiance into running, which carried him to the Berlin Olympics. When World War II. broke out he became an airman. The book begins in 1943 when Zamperini’s Army Air Forces bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean, leaving only debris and a slick of oil. Suddenly a face appeares and Zamperini pops to the surface struggling to grab a life raft and pull himself aboard. Ahead he would face thousands of miles of open ocean, sharks, a flimsy raft, thirst and starvation and enemy aircraft. Driven to the limits of endurance he would answer desperation with hope and humor.
Biographer Lyndall Gordon has used the letters, diaries, and legal documents of Emily Dickensen to write, “Lives Like Loaded Guns”. She begins in 1882 when Emily Dickensen’s brother has a passionate love affair with an Amherst faculty wife. This sets in motion a series of events that would forever change the lives of the Dickinson family. The feud that erupted as a result has continued for more than a century. The story reveals Emily as a different woman from the pale, lovelorn recluse who exists in popular imagination. Gordon digs into the life of Dickinson and proposes a new solution to the secret of the poet’s seclusion.
If you would like something lighter, “Eighteen Acres”, is the latest in fiction from Nicolle Wallace. The story revolves around three women at the highest level of politics and at the height of their careers they juggle ambition, family, and the nature of life in the White House. To the world it’s known as the White House, to the staff it’s the “Eighteen Acres”, referring to the land on which the White House sits. Melanie Kingston, White House chief of staff: Dale Smith, White House correspondent; and Charlotte Kramer, the nation’s forty-fifth president, have made it to the top only to see their accomplishments jeopardized by deception and one mistake. At the moment when the White House should have been securing the president’s reelection,  her administration implodes under rumors of her husband’s secret love affair. In the wake of these personal and political upheavals which threaten the nation’s security, Cahrlotte fights to regain her footing by proving to the voters that she is able to govern with honesty and conviction.
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