The Story of Louis Zamperini

Now that I’m well enough into Lauren Hillenbrand’s latest book, I feel like I can — and should — recommend it to everyone I know.  There’s an excellent article here about how the book came to be.  Hillenbrand has that rare gift of stitching together a well-researched history lesson with one fascinating character and then writing a story that clips along so fast it’s hard to put down.  I remember feeling this way when I read SEABUSCUIT.

When I read nonfiction books like this, I always wonder if I’d have the patience to do such exhaustive research.  How does she keep all the facts straight, and then tell the story so smoothly, as if she’s just sat down with you on the porch swing?  From a writerly perspective, I’m more than a bit awestruck.

I’ve been reading UNBROKEN at night, but that’s not going to cut it.  I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next.  So in order to keep up I’m going to have to squeeze in some daytime reading — harder to do when I’m in the writing frenzy that’s hit this week.

I have just one nitpick:  I hate the title.  With a main character named Zamperini, how could the title be this bland?

4 thoughts on “The Story of Louis Zamperini

  1. glasseye

    Yes, I’m with you. I will never write historical fiction or non-fiction. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to keep everything straight. To verify each detail and try to set it down in an engaging way. It’s hard enough writing about the things I do know!

  2. amyg

    i thought the same thing when i saw this title, “blah.”

    and since we all met at betsy’s, i must admit that her whole exercise with titles now has me thinking about titles on a whole new level. i mean, as a writer-not-just-reader, i thought about titles before, but not like i’ve done since all that back and forth on that post. i can’t help but wonder about how simply being part of all the conversation’s on betsy’s blog has helped my writing on a craft level, like some sort of poor-man’s independent study on writing.

    i had a gift certificate to my favorite indie bookstore that’s been burning a whole in my pocket. i got gail goodwin’s The Making of a Writer, Volume 2:

    doesn’t this sound like a box of expensive chocolates:

    As a young woman and aspiring author, Gail Godwin kept a detailed journal of her hopes and dreams, her love affairs, daily struggles, and small triumphs as she yearned for the day when she would finally become a published writer. At the urging of her friend Joyce Carol Oates, Godwin has distilled these early journals into two parts: This second and final volume opens in London in 1963 and concludes with the triumphant sale of Godwin’s first novel in 1969.

    1. Teri Post author

      Agreed, Amy. I read Betsy’s blog first thing every morning. It goes great with coffee. I find that making my way around blog-land, and even coming up with daily titles for my own blog, make my writing sharper. Kind of like a basketball player dribbling his ball down the street for a quick pick-up game.

  3. lisahgolden

    I’ve been off and on reading a historical fiction for a couple of months. I am amazed at the level of detail involved. Since I read the author’s blog (I won the novel by leaving a comment), I know from her daily posts and tweets that the research for her second novel is time consuming and intense.

    I’ve had to do what I consider lots of research on the days leading up to D-Day in England, but it’s nothing compared to the kind of research this author has done to be able to write well about 16th century England. Yowza. She’s even learned how they baked bread.

    Me? I drink strong English tea and pretend it’s 1944 by listening to Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller on Pandora.

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