By Paul Cardall
"I was born with half a heart. God made up the difference."
SUMMARY: After living for more than three decades with congenital heart disease, popular musician Paul Cardall has undergone twenty-eight operations and seven open-heart surgeries. But the one surgery he needed most - his last chance at seeing his three-year-old daughter, Eden, grow up - was a heart transplant. This is the remarkable true story of one man's struggle to survive long enough to get a second chance at life.
Along the way, Paul wrote down his thoughts, feelings, and observations in an online blog called Living for Eden. This book reflects those weekly blog entries - insights and wisdom beyond his years. After reading his story, yu may come away asking yourself, "Who do I need to love ... before my heart stops?" Nominated by Sandra Ganschow
by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
SUMMARY: Holland is under Nazi control... Thousands of Jewish refugees... One extraordinary family. An old watchmaker in Holland. His two daughters, Corrie and Betsie. Simple, ordinary people. Yet these three unlikely heroes became the center of a major underground operation: To hide Jewish refugees from the occupying Germans. These kindly, law abiding people broke every rule in the book to save the lives of the men, women and children being hunted by the Nazis. Their home became a hiding place, but the cost of their bravery was betrayal and in the dreaded Ravensbruck concentration camp, they had to create another hiding place for those around them. Nominated by: Erika Sullivan
by Marcus Luttrell
SUMMARY: Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors. A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates' heroism and mutual support renders an experience for which two of his squadmates were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war. Nominated by Jen Hatch (Best book ever! Every American should read. WARNING: A little language, they’re Navy SEALS after all…)
By Rebecca Skloot
SUMMARY: Who, you might ask, is Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) and why is she the subject of a book? On the surface, this short-lived African American Virginian seems an unlikely candidate for immortality. In truth, we all owe Ms. Lacks a great debt and some of us owe her our lives. As Rebecca Skloot tells us in this riveting human story, Henrietta was the involuntary donor of cells from her cancerous tumors that have been cultured to create an immortal cell line for medical research. These so-called HeLa cells have not only generated billions of dollars for the medical industry; they have helped uncover secrets of cancers, viruses, fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping. A vivid, exciting story; a 2010 Discover Great New Books finalist; a surprise bestseller in hardcover. Now in paperback and NOOKbook.
Nominated by Shea Biorn
by Laura Hillenbrand
SUMMARY: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. Nominated by: Jen Hatch…I haven’t read it yet… but it’s become highly recommended to me, and I’ll stand by it!
by Tatiana de Rosnay
Host: Caryn Warren - Discussion Lead: Caryn Warren
SUMMARY: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.