When I was young, all I was interested in reading was fantasy; particularly Harry Potter, which is understandable enough. Nonfiction did not hold my attention and felt more like reading a text book. Then, in 2014, a movie came out that I was interested in, but knew nothing about. I’d been told it was an amazing story, so I rented it. It was the movie “Unbroken” based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand. I was completely floored when I saw it and simply had to get my hands on more. I wanted to know more about this man, Louie Zamperini, and what he’d been through. I bought the book and haven’t put it down since. I’ll be re-reading it for the eighth time next month. (As is normal, the book is one hundred times better than the movie and I always advocate for reading the book first.) When I love something, I have the tendency to read it over and over again, recommend it to everyone, and quite literally never stop talking about it. This book changed my life, not only because of Louie’s incredible redemption story, but because of the love and fascination that grew in my heart and mind for the forgotten men and theatre of WWII: the Pacific, the airmen, and the POWs of the Japanese. The European theatre is so well studied that most people have forgotten we fought another enemy. Most people have only heard of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima… possibly Iwo Jima, but surprisingly, not many people have heard that name that I’ve come across. My pursuits, while staying grounded in pursuing a biology degree—at the time and since pursuing my work as a zoo keeper—shifted toward reading and watching all I could get my hands on for WWII. Fantasy holds no fascination for me now when there are incredible stories like Louie’s to be found in the real world. My book shelf is covered in books on the Pacific theatre and I’ve watched every documentary and movie I can find. I cannot recommend reading strongly enough, especially to a generation growing up with so much technology. Reading has the capacity to and will change your life and ground your future pursuits.

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