Tuesday, July 31, 2012

[bookclub - 'night']

Edited to add:  

Welcome to this months Mrs. Readalot's bookclub!  Grab a bikkie and a cuppa or a scone and some cream and lets share some ideas.  

This month I'm drawing on the ideas of some other great bloggers, and the theme for this month's bookclub is 'books that inspire you'.  
Books that inspire or create emotion for travel, to be a better wife or to parent better, to try a new craft, to remember history.  I've chosen a book that inspires me to do just that - to remember a time in history that I fear may otherwise soon fade away.

the review...
History, in its essence is about remembering past events - particularly as they relate to people, races and places.  If I'm honest, I've never found history particularly interesting.  I find it hard to relate to places and peoples I know nothing about and have never experienced - facts just don't stick in my head.  My Guy, on the other hand can recite facts about aeroplanes, wars, deaths and weapons right down specific wars and even battles.  I guess when things are interesting, or feel relevant to us we tend to remember them more.

I think there is such sadness in forgetting things that happened to whole nations, races.  I suppose it happens a lot with wars - the people that lived them can't speak of them and the people that came afterwards can't possibly understand.  

That's why I think books like these - emotive books that speak of times gone by that we would otherwise let slip away - are important.  They inspire us to travel, to converse, to keep the memories alive.  Brave men like Elie Wiesel - who wrote the book I am reviewing this month - help us to hang on to these memories and hopefully to learn from the past so as not to repeat it.

"Night"  Elie Wiesel.

Available here on Amazon
Here at book depository

'Night' is ultimately part of a trilogy - 'Night', 'Dawn', and 'Day', which takes us through the story of a Jewish boy who survives a concentration camp.  'Night' is the book that tells us about the actual concentration camp, and how the Jewish boy survived.  

'Work makes one free.'

 As bystanders, we reflect with sadness on what we know of as 'the holocaust'.  We know that millions of Jewish people died at the hands of an evil dictator who for some inexplicable (or non-understandable anway) reason felt the world would be a better place without them.  We know they died in gas chambers, and that some were even beaten.  We lament at the unfairness and the unjust way that they died.  We even despise Adolf Hitler for his choices - we judge him and wonder how the world would be different had he not been born.

The holocaust was an unthinkable tragedy, a turning point in history, a wedge driven between nations and races.  As bystanders we may stomp our feet in fury, even shed a tear or two but I don't think we can really and truely feel and know the extent of what went on.  And so we read.


We read books like 'Night' to broaden our minds, to expand our emotions and to keep the memories of these times alive.  I'm certain that many people wish with all their might to forget what happened in the holocaust, but surely forgetting is to dishonour their memories?  Surely by forgetting we don't learn and grow?

Elie Wiesel is one of many brave souls who did make it through the genocide that was the holocaust. There were many brave souls that did not survive.  He speaks with candour of his and others' experiences in concentration camps, and in doing so helps us to remember.  He writes simply, in short sentences and with beautiful words that help us to grasp in some small way, the horror of what he experienced.

(Memorial in the National Holocaust museum, Washington D.C.  Originally a bible verse - Deuteronomy 4 vs. 9).
'Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children's children.
Here lies earth gathered from death camps, concentration camps, sites of mass execution, and ghettos in nazi occupied europe, and from cemeteries of American soldiers who fought and died to defeat nazi Germany.'

So why would I choose to review this dark and troubled book?
Well, I'm interested in reading and the way it helps us to feel.  It helps us to understand cultures we would perhaps otherwise not (The Help), to relate to times we wouldn't have otherwise crossed paths with (The Bronze Horseman).  Reading inspires us to travel to far away lands (Under the Tuscan Sun), and it brings us closer to God (The Atonement Child).  It also, as I mentioned earlier helps us to parent better and be a better wife (Growing Great Marriages).

Which books are emotive to you, and why?
Link your post up to the linky below, or comment and let me know your thoughts!

(Grab Mrs. Readalot's button here to pop on your post!)



  1. Mrs. Readalot, I've read several books on the Holocaust. They are heart ripping. The first one I read was The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a teenager. Since then, I've read many more. Thanks for bringing this to mind. Linda

    1. Thanks for your comment Linda. Do you have a blog also? The link to your name takes me to your google+ account but I'd love to check out your blog too?

  2. Tough challenge! I never know which books are going to hit me this way until I read them.

    1. Hi Rachel! Of course as usual you are free to review any book of your choice and link it up as well. :-)

  3. I'm sorry I haven't linked up. I guess what is holding me back is that I would have to write a book review on my blog and I don't normally do that. I am following and enjoying, though. Have a nice, joyful day. Linda

  4. Hey Stacie... I finally got to write my post. Loved this post and the way the book helps you to remember and do honour to the memory of those who lost their lives. I personally am fascinated by WWII/the Holocaust; it's such a dark period of recent history, and like you, I don't want us to forget what supposedly "civilised" human beings did to each other, and how they justified it. A repetition of history like this would be unthinkable. I also find it inspiring how anyone survived the camps and the horror of war; it is amazing what the human soul can survive. Also particularly inspiring is the way some amazing men and women living under these regimes risked everything in order to help rescue others; and how they didn't stay silent but fought back. The few bright lights of humanity in the end conquered the great evil. Pretty amazing stuff.
    I'm putting this book on my wish list.

  5. I have added this book to my list, I have read a few books about the holocaust, but not this one.

    I have just linked up a small review about To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is a book I have wanted to read for as long as I can remember and I finally did it last week.

    Amy x


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