Sunday, December 31, 2023

2024 Read Your Shelf Challenge


As you know (hopefully), Read Your Shelf had an overhaul in 2023. Previous incarnations weren't working for me and then I found this article on Book Riot...

Basically, the premise is to take one shelf on your bookshelf (or some other designated place where you can place books for this challenge) and think of it as your "holds shelf." If you buy or receive a book you haven’t read, it automatically goes onto that shelf. 

As you can see from the image below, my holds shelf has grown exponentially. I did manage to read some of the books I placed there that I received in 2022, and I've added books acquired in 2023, including those I received for Christmas. When I did read a book from my holds shelf, I shelved it on my main shelves and chose a book from my main shelves to replace it. So, out of the original 25 books I placed on my holds shelf in 2023, I managed to read six. Not great, but I'll take it.


Further challenge details

For this challenge, you will only read the books on your holds shelf. When you have read one of the books, you put it back on one of your other shelves (think of it as "main circulation"). By design, there is no room in main circulation for this new book (probably not the case in some instances) so you must take a book from main circulation and place it on your holds shelf.

If you want, you can leave some space on your holds shelf for any new books you might receive or buy, just be sure to set a number of spaces available so you don't go over. Remember, the ultimate goal is to read books you already own. Not only are you reading newer books you were excited about when you bought them, but you're knocking out books that have been languishing on your shelves for years. 

From the original Book Riot post (linked above): "This revolving door system has turned my bookshelves into my own mini library. Each time I finish a book I own, I return it to main circulation, and then I get to spend a few minutes browsing the stacks. I pick out a new book I’m excited about reading, and get the satisfaction of putting that book on hold (i.e. on my TBR shelf).

The best part: eventually all the unread books in my house will either get cycled onto the holds shelf, or I’ll realize there aren’t any unread books left in main circulation that I still want to read, in which case, I’ll donate them."

The goal of this yearly challenge is to see how many books you can get through on your holds shelf, and your "main circulation," by keeping track of how many you read from each. You can set a personal goal of a set number, or just see how far you get. There's no winning or losing here. It's all in fun.
  • Challenge runs January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2024
  • You can use books from your holds shelf for other challenges (this will give you even more incentive to get them read!)
  • Hashtag for social media #ReadYourShelf
  • Any questions? Leave me a comment below, or contact me via the button in the sidebar.
Sign up in the linky below, and grab the button at the top of the post. Sharing is appreciated. Happy Reading in 2024!
 
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Saturday, December 30, 2023

1000 Books Project 2024 - Collins/Dickens


Challenge Backstory:
I picked up a copy of James Mustich's amazing 1000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life Changing List and upon looking through it, I realized it really is a well-rounded reading recommendation book. I was pleased to discover I have read quite a few of the books he lists, and that many of them are on my personal reading lists (and they are books I own). So, to ever expand my reading horizons, and include others in the journey, I decided to create a read-along challenge, or project, if you will.

Very proud of myself because this year I managed to read and post discussions for all four 2023 1000 Books selections! You can take a look at discussions for all four books under the 1000 Books Project label here.

One thing I did realize is that it's not a good idea to schedule these read-alongs during the holidays so in 2024, I will avoid that. This year we will only be reading two books with the first read-along January to April, a month break between, and then the second in June to September.

So, what are we reading? Well, in honor of Wilkie Collins' birthday on January 8, 2024, we will be reading The Moonstone. Now you're probably wondering where Dickens comes in. Well, since Collins and Dickens were good friends (until a late-life falling-out), we will be reading a Dickens book for our second selection which is The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.


You can reference The Moonstone in the 1000 Books to Read Before you Die book on pages 168 - 169. To sum up Mustich's summary of the book, it is considered Collins' masterpiece, and "Psychological acuity, formal virtuosity, the social and human amplitude of a Victorian novel, and the narrative pulse of a thriller add up to make The Moonstone the prototype of (as T.S. Eliot said) 'the book you can't put down.'"
 
Since we are starting The Moonstone on January 1st, I'm posting the reading schedule for it now. 

My edition: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (April 22, 2014) - Kindle edition, 384 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.

Note: Because of the way the chapters and sections in this book are arranged, the reading may be heavier some months. Since this Kindle edition does not give page numbers, it's very difficult to determine the number of pages. Hence, the lack of page numbers in the schedule.

Reading Schedule
  • January: Prologue - First Period Ch XXIII (Ch 23)
    Discussion post: January 31
  • February: Second Period, First Narrative, Ch I - Ch VIII (Ch 8)
    Discussion post: February 29
  • March: Second Narrative, Ch I - Third Narrative, Ch X (Ch 10)
    Discussion post: March 31
  • April: Fourth Narrative - Epilogue, Ch III 
    Discussion post: April 30
I hope the schedule isn't too confusing. Strange arrangement of sections and chapters!


Our second selection for this year's project is The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Because he is Dickens after all, Mustich does not focus on just one book by the prolific author. His write up about Dickens in 1000 Books can be found on pages 215 - 222, with commentary on Nicholas Nickleby on page 218. He refers to the book as "Pure Storytelling Bliss."

This read-along, as stated above, will run from June to September. I will post the reading schedule in May.

If you would like to join us, sign up by leaving a comment below (and a link, if you post about it on your blog or social media).

Thursday, December 28, 2023

2024 Book to Movie (and TV) Reading Challenge


Welcome to year eight of the Book to Movie (and TV) Challenge

Let's see what books are coming to the screen in 2024. As usual, these releases are subject to change.

The info below comes from Booklist Queen and Screen Rant.

Legend: Movies = M, Streaming series = S, Streaming movie = SM (these will only be indicated if I know for sure which format the adaptation is.)

S: The Tiger’s Apprentice, Lauren Yep (Jan 19)
M: Argylle, Elly Conway (Feb 2)
M: Force of Nature, Jane Harper (The Dry 2 - Feb 8)
M: It Ends with Us, Colleen Hoover (Feb 9)
M: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Lisa Frankenstein - Feb 9)
M: Dune, Frank Herbert (Dune: Part 2 - March 15)
M: Mickey 7, Edward Ashton (Mickey 17 - March 29)
M: The Watchers, A.M. Shine (June 7)
S: It's Not Summer Without You, Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 2 - July 14)
M: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson (Aug 2)
S: Heartstopper: Volume 2, Alice Oseman (Season 2 - Aug 3)
M: The Amateur, Robert Littell (Amateur - Nov 8)
M: Wicked, Gregory Maguire (Part One - Nov 27)
M: LOTR: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien (The War of Rohirrim - Dec 13)
S: Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben (Jan 1)
S: The Expatriates, Janice Y.K. Lee (Expats - Jan 26)
SM: Orion and the Dark, Emma Yarlett (Feb 2)
SM: Spaceman of Bohemia, Jaroslav Kalfar (March 1)
SM: The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (3 Body Problem - March 21)
S: Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Julia Quinn (Bridgerton Season 3 - May 16)
M: Cold Storage, David Koepp (June 20)
M: Landing on My Feet: A Diary of Dreams, Kerri Strug & John P. Lopez (Perfect - Sept 9)
M: The Legacy of Mark Rothko, Lee Seldes (Oct 25)
S: Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman (TBD)
S: A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles (TBD)
S: The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (TBD)
SM: Turtles All the Way Down, John Green (TBD)
S: The Sandman, Neil Gaiman (Season 2 - TBD)
SM: The Electric State, Simon Stalenhag (TBD)
S: Trust, Hernan Diaz (TBD)
S: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black (TBD)
SM: The Shrinking of Treehorn, Florence Parry Heide (TBD)
SM: Uglies, Scott Westerfeld (TBD)
S: Shogun, James Clavell (Feb 27)

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you find out about any I haven't mentioned, leave me a comment and I'll add to the list.

Main Levels

The Enthusiast: read 1-3 books
First One to the Theater: read 4+ books

Read only books being made into movies for release in 2024 (you are not required to only read from the list above. As I stated, if you find another movie or TV series/mini-series, based on a book, coming out in 2024, feel free to read it).

Additional Levels

Not Ready to Let Go: read at least one (1) book made into a movie or series in 2023

Here's a list of 2023 movies adapted from books. (Note: Some of the movies listed may have been moved to 2024).

Living in the Past: read at least one (1) book made into a movie in previous years

You can Google for previous years, or check Goodreads lists.

The Movie Was Better (What?!): watch the movie(s) for the book(s) you read.

*the additional levels are optional, you still must complete one of the main reading levels above

Additional Guidelines
  • The books you read can count for other challenges. Ebooks, audiobooks, and traditional formats all count.
  • The start date is January 1, 2024. End date is December 31, 2024.
  • Remember, TV series/mini-series count too.
  • Pick your level (and additional levels, if you like)
  • Sign up below and grab the button (top of post). I hope you will join me!
  • If you have any questions, click the contact me button in the sidebar, or leave a comment.

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1000 Books Project - Beloved Discussion


Yes, I missed the first discussion (doing this during the holidays is not a great idea...next year's challenge will avoid that), and I finished the book early. Just getting around to posting this. I won't say much because I have tons of stuff to get done before New Year's (our family Christmas is on New Year's Day). Also, to those who celebrate, I hope you had a great Christmas!

Books about slavery are always a hard read for me. Ever since I was a child, when my parents let me watch Roots, it is a subject that has affected me deeply. No matter how long I live in this world, I still cannot wrap my head around the horrific treatment of fellow human beings. 

What Sethe feels she must do to keep her children from being taken back to slavery is both horrifying and understandable at the same time. Imagine thinking death would be better for them than living as slaves. I imagine many former slaves had post-traumatic stress disorder, something I think Sethe suffers from. 

The supernatural aspect of the book...Beloved. She is so disturbing. When Sethe finally comes to the realization of who she really is, the story becomes even more disquieting. My theory is that Beloved is the physical incarnation of Sethe's guilt, and it almost ends up killing her. It's a statement on what a person's guilt can do to them. In those days, there was little to no help for the mentally ill, and probably highly doubtful for former slaves. As shown at the end of the book, it's community that these people relied on to get them through tough times. That was a truly heartening aspect of the book. 

Despite the difficult subject matter, I thought this book was excellent. Yet another testament to Toni Morrison's brilliance.

If you joined me for the read-along, I'd like to thank you. Please share any final thoughts you had on the book in the comments.

I'll be announcing the 2024 1000 Books Project this week so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

1000 Books Project - Beloved Reading Schedule


Pardon me for being late with the schedule. The month crept up on me!

Time to start our next book in our 1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023 read-along challenge...Toni Morrison's Beloved, winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. 

My edition: Plume (Penguin Books) 1998 - trade paperback, movie tie-in edition, 275 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.


Since the holidays are coming up, I'm going to make this easy (and it won't be hard since it's such a short book). There are two parts. We will discuss Part One at the end of November and Part Two at the end of December.
  • November - Part One, pp. 1 - 165
    Discussion post will go up on Thursday, November 30
  • December - Part Two, pp. 167 - 275 (end)
    Discussion post will go up on Sunday, December 31
The original 2023 1000 Books challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

I hope you will join me!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

1000 Books Project - The House of the Spirits Discussion Two (Final)


I apologize for delaying and combining the final two discussions into one. I'll admit I struggled with the middle section of the book. While I enjoyed the magical realism, I sometimes felt Allende went into too much detail. 

Frankly, I was horrified when it came down to the coup d'etat with the government and military. The warnings early on of what was probably going to happen, with the left and the right constantly at odds, and the right not giving a shit about the poor. Sound familiar? I can only hope that our country never comes to that, but I'm certainly not going to say it could never happen because the sad reality is...it could. 

I did a Google search to see if there was any historical context regarding the political upheavals in the book (which I figured there was some basis in fact). Turns out...
HOS could be considered a fictional version of the history of Chile from the 1930s to the 1970s leading up to the military coup d’├ętat led by General Pinochet. In fact, politics is a major theme throughout the novel, as there is constant conflict between the socialists and conservatives. The characters in the novel resemble known characters during the Chilean revolution. For example, Pedro Tercero parallels the tale of Victor Jara. Both were musicians and used songwriting to express their revolutionary ideas. Unlike how Jara was murdered, Tercero was simply kicked out of the Tres Marias and eventually runs away to Canada with Blanca. Other parallels include the novel's the Poet and real life, famous Pablo Neruda, whose real death came twelve days after the coup d’├ętat. The Poet’s funeral was somberly described in the final pages of the novel. Another parallel was the fictional character, the President, in conjunction with real life Salvador Allende, who was assassinated very accurately described in the novel. The behind-the-scenes drama of left versus right and super power USA versus USSR was also dramatically brought to life in this novel.
Most importantly, General Hertado correlates with the persona of Augusto Pinochet. Both yearned for power and money. Similar to how Pinochet overthrew socialist President, Allende, Trueba dedicated all his work to support the right-wing government. Ultimately, Pinochet became president and Trueba became disenchanted, isolated, and ignored by the military rulers. The 1970-1980s were the saddest period in Chilean history where a “brain-drain” where the talented and well-educated fled the country and stripped the nation of its best and brightest for a generation including Miss Allende.  
Source: The House of the Spirits - Historical Context

What befell Alba during the upheaval was horrific. It was heartening to learn that Trueba had worked with Miguel to find her. I think in the end Trueba finally realized how wrong he had been about everything. His political ideology had harmed his family, and I feel family, above all, was ultimately the most important thing to him. Clara, with her clairvoyance, never truly abandoned him because I think she knew deep down the truth about him. 

At the end, I was teary-eyed. The quote below really got me at the end. The older I get the more I think back and try to remember things that happened in my life, particularly having to do with my sons. I wish I had written down more, kept notebooks, as Clara did. My mom has always kept a journal so I know when she finally leaves this world it will be sad to read them, but also a blessing to have all those memories captured for all time. Personally, I have started thinking back and writing things down because I feel it's never too late. 

"I write, she wrote, that memory is fragile and the space of a single life is brief, passing so quickly that we never get a chance to see the relationship between events; we cannot gauge the consequences of our acts, and we believe in the fiction of past, present, and future, but it may also be true that everything happens simultaneously--as the three Mora sisters said, who could see the spirits of all eras mingled in space. That's why my Grandmother Clara wrote in her notebooks, in order to see things in their true dimension and to defy her own poor memory."

If you joined me for the read-along, I'd like to thank you. Please share any final thoughts you had on the book in the comments.

I did a more extensive write-up about this book for Banned Books Week at my main site, True Book Addict. You can read that here.

Our next book for the 1000 Books Project is Beloved by Toni Morrison which we will read in November. I will post the reading schedule by the end of October.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

1000 Books Project - Update on The House of the Spirits read-along and plans for the Beloved read-along

Just wanted to post a quick update on The House of the Spirits. I had intended on posting the next discussion on September 16th. Clearly that didn't happen. I will post the final discussion, over the second half of the book on Sunday, October 1st. If you missed the discussion over the first half of the book, you can check that out here.


I've decided to move the Beloved (Toni Morrison) read-along to November. I have way too much reading on my plate in October (because...spooky season) so November will work better for me. Hope that's okay for everyone who is reading along. I'll post the reading schedule sometime in October.



Wednesday, September 6, 2023

1000 Books Project - The House of the Spirits Discussion One


Yes, I realize I am totally off schedule with the first two reading sections. I apologize. I can't explain what happened in August. I'll just say it wasn't pretty. lol

This book is truly wonderful. It's loaded with magical realism which I love. But it also takes a good look at class differences in 20th century South America. The politics spoken about, and the mention of Socialism, made me think of current murmurings in American politics. Esteban Trueba is a right bastard. It has been a while since I've disliked a character this much. His treatment of the women in and around Tres Marias, and his clear disdain for all women..."I didn't dare leave my house, where there was clearly need for a man among so many hysterical women" is almost unbearable to read. The earthquake was terrible. His beating of Blanca was horrible. He certainly deserved for Clara to never speak to him/have anything to do with him from that point on. We shall see what transpires in the second half of the book. 

I remember the film The House of the Spirits and I was looking at the cast online. How very white-washed. Jeremy Irons as Esteban. Meryl Streep as Clara. Winona Ryder as Blanca. Glenn Close as Ferula. The only Hispanic actors were Antonio Banderas as Pedro Tercero, Sarita Choudhury as Pancha, and a few others in supporting, and other minor, roles. I did enjoy the film, and plan a rewatch after finishing the book, but I can only hope that if this film was made in the present day, it would feature a far more diverse cast. 

One of the reasons we are reading this book is in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from September 15 through October 15. And, of course, as a banned book...

Though the novel has never been officially banned, it has faced several challenges in schools since the time of its publication in 1982, often being characterized as “pornagraphic”, “immoral” and “defaming the Catholic faith”. The most recent, and perhaps most significant, challenge came about in 2013 when several parents at a North Carolina high school raised formal complaints to the school board regarding the book being a part of the English curriculum. The book was retained after three appeals and a defense letter from Isabel Allende herself. In the letter, the author writes:

“I find myself in the unusual and awkward position of having to “defend” my novel The House of the Spirits that risks being banned from a high school in Boone, North Carolina. Banning of books is a common practice in police states, like Cuba or North Korea, and by religious fundamentalist groups like the Taliban, but I did not expect it in our democracy…” 
Source

What did you think of the first half of the book? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

I will make a concerted effort to post the next discussion on time, according to the reading schedule. Thank you for bearing with me. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

1000 Books Project - The House of the Spirits Reading Schedule


Time to start our next book in our 1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023 read-along challenge...Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month in September.

My edition: Alfred A. Knopf 1985 - hardcover, 368 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.
Reading Schedule:

  • August 1 - 15, Chapters 1 - 3, pp. 3 - 88
    Discussion post will go up on Wednesday, August 16
  • August 16 - 31, Chapters 4 - 6, pp. 89 - 178
    Discussion post will go up on Friday, September 1
  • September 1 - 15, Chapters 7 - 10, pp. 179 - 269
    Discussion post will go up on Saturday, September 16
  • September 16 - 30, Chapters 11 - Epilogue, pp. 270 - 368 (end)
    Discussion post will go up on Sunday, October 1
The original 2023 1000 Books challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

Happy reading!

truebookaddict

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

1000 Books Project - Brave New World Final Thoughts


I apologize for not having two discussions like I planned. The month got away from me, and I was having trouble getting into the book. I finally finished it today. 

I've heard a lot of great things about this book so I guess I was expecting to be wowed. I didn't hate it or anything (4 stars on Goodreads, but maybe closer to 3.5). It just had a lot of ups and downs for me. Just when it would start to get exciting, the long philosophical talks would start. But that's enough nitpicking. Let's talk about how appalling it would be if the world was to come to be as it is in this book. 

No families, no parents, a caste system decided by level of intelligence which is genetically engineered in every person. It's normal for seven year old children (and probably younger and older as well) to participate in erotic play (!). No books, meaning literature...no Shakespeare, etc. No one grows old because they're disposed of before they can even become elderly. Psychological manipulation and conditioning. The list goes on and on. It's such a generic society, it does border on hilarity. The way they talk, act. It would be a shock if you had not always lived like that so I completely understand John's (who they call the Savage) reaction. How else could someone who had grown up reading the beautiful words of Shakespeare act? 

Huxley was a visionary in a lot of this, as this was published in 1932. He writes about many of the things we are now capable of in our current society. Pretty scary. I hope I'm long gone off this earth if this kind of world ever comes to pass. Not a brave new world in my opinion.

*********

What did you think? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

Our next book for the 1000 Books Project is The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. We will read and discuss in August and September, with the latter month being Hispanic Heritage Month and Banned Books Week also falls in September. I will post the reading schedule before the end of July. 

truebookaddict

Saturday, May 20, 2023

1000 Books Project - Brave New World Reading Schedule


Time to start our next book in our 1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023 read-along challenge...Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

My edition: HarperPerennial, 1998 - trade paperback, 268 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.


Reading Schedule:
  • June 1 - 15 - Chapters 1 - 9, pp. 3 - 145
    Discussion post will go up on Friday, June 16
  • June 16 - 29, Chapters 10 - 18, pp. 146 - 259
    Discussion post will go up on Friday, June 30
I've invited the participants in June's Sci-Fi Summer Readathon (hosted on my Seasons of Reading blog) to join us in this read-along. If you would like to join us for the readathon, you will find all the info and sign-up here.

The original 2023 1000 Books challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

Happy reading!


truebookaddict

Friday, April 21, 2023

1000 Books Project: Part Three of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy - Discussing The Accident


I'm sorry I am SO late with this post. I finished the last novel in the trilogy at the very beginning of April. Just haven't had a chance to get over here. 

I don't really know what to say about The Accident. It is what it is. What I will say is that the story in this novel really illustrates the guilt Holocaust survivors carry. That they survived while others didn't. Even to the point where, after surviving all of that, their will to live is not very strong. Is this character in The Accident autobiographically based on Elie's own experiences. I wonder. Perhaps he knew of other survivors who did have this mentality, this not being able to carry on a normal, happy life because of the memories. Having survived one of the most horrific and tragic events in history is something that would be very hard to reconcile with living a normal life. This is my opinion, of course. 

What did you think of The Accident? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.


Our next book for the 1000 Books Project is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Since the book is relatively short (my copy is 268 pages), we will be doing the read-along for this one in June, during my Sci-Fi Summer Readathon at Seasons of Reading. I will be inviting readathon participants to join us for the read-along. I will post the reading schedule in May. 


truebookaddict

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

1000 Books Project: Part Two of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy - Discussing Dawn


I don't really have too much to say about Dawn. Not quite as compelling as Night, but still gripping in its own right. I did find myself wondering how many young people who survived the Holocaust (the camps) ended up exactly where Elisha did...part of a terrorist movement? It's sad to become so consumed with hate, but it is very understandable. I can see how fighting back against oppression is very important to them. Of course, Gad is a convincing recruiter. 

"Gad's stories were utterly fascinating. I saw in him a prince of Jewish history, a legendary messenger sent by fate to awaken my imagination, to tell the people whose past was now their religion: Come, come; the future is waiting for you with open arms. From now on you will no longer be humiliated, persecuted, or even pitied. You will not be strangers encamped in an age and a place that are not yours. Come, brothers, come!"

The ending is truly hard to read. I think to myself, I could never kill another human being, but I have never been faced with oppression. That being said, is terrorism really the answer? It has been around for hundreds of years, and nothing has ever really changed. Much the same as war. Something to think about.

*********

What did you think of Dawn? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

We are reading Book Three of the Night Trilogy, The Accident, this month. According to our reading schedule, I will post the discussion on (around) March 31.


truebookaddict
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Thursday, February 2, 2023

1000 Books Project: Part One of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy - Discussing Night


I will never ever understand how human beings could treat their fellow man so horrifically. The Holocaust is what happens when people turn a blind eye to what is slowly developing in their back yards. It could happen again, people. As much as I hate to say that, I can't help but believe it. I don't want to get political, but I just have to say that I never thought I would see America becoming what it is becoming. Our very Democracy trampled upon.

Let's talk a bit about why this Night has been challenged or banned. First, some information...

One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.

That seems to be the case according to a recent study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The New York Times summarizes, “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force.”

Read that second paragraph again. Let it sink in. That is a very high percentage of people who know nothing, but let's ban all the books about it so we can get that up to 100 percent. I knew about the Holocaust when I was as young as elementary school age. My parents did not shield me from it because they understood the importance of knowing and acknowledging what happened. 

In 2017, the Conejo Valley Unified School District adopted an opt-out policy where parents could object to reading materials in the core list. While no books were actually taken off the list, enough parents opted-out their children from reading Night that the teacher could not effectively teach it to the rest of the class.

The other thing to point out in the second paragraph above "52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force." Night starts out when Elie and his family are still living their daily lives, but we start to see gradual changes in their lives, until finally, the family is separated and Elie and his father are on their way to Auschwitz. Even the Jewish people, their neighbors and friends, ignored the warning signs because, really, what did they have to compare it with. In their minds, they could not fathom it, even when Moche the Beadle warned them. 

Only through history, and learning these subjects, instead of brushing them under the rug, can we understand how easily Hitler accomplished what he set out to accomplish. We cannot turn a blind eye to things going on in the world just because they are difficult to face, or because we think it could never happen. It happened. It could happen again. 

Elie Wiesel said: "We may use words to break the prison." In this video, he explains that he wrote his memoir Night out of a duty to bear witness to his experiences in the Holocaust.

We must keep reading books with subjects of injustice. We must keep reading, and spreading the word about how and why books are challenged or banned. 

International Holocaust Remembrance day is on January 27 every year. Let us never forget what happened. Let us not let future generations forget. 

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What did you think of Night? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

We are reading Book Two of the Night Trilogy, Dawn, this month. According to our reading schedule, I will post the discussion on (around) February 28. 


Sources of quoted (italicized) information:

5 Banned Books That Will Help You Learn About the Holocaust

Facing History and Ourselves, “We May Use Words to Break the Prison: Elie Wiesel on Writing Night,” video, last updated April 19, 2022.


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Monday, January 2, 2023

1000 Books Project - The Night Trilogy Reading Schedule


Happy New Year! Welcome to the first book in our 1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023 read-along challenge.

Time to start Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy. 

My edition: Hill and Wang, New York - trade paperback, 318 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.

Reading Schedule:
  • January: Night (starting with the short introduction on page 3), pp. 3 - 119
    Discussion post will go up on January 31
  • February: Dawn, pp. 121 - 204
    Discussion post will go up on February 28
  • March: The Accident, pp. 205 - 318 (end)
    Discussion will go up on March 31

The original challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

Happy reading!

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