50 books to read before you die discussion

Night  (The Night Trilogy, #1)
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message 1: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine This is the next book to read on the '100' list - 33

message 2: by Jeffrey (last edited Sep 09, 2019 04:29PM) (new) - added it

Jeffrey (wordsmith2294) | 26 comments I finished Things Fall Apart more quickly than I thought I would, so I'm going to read this one too!

I would say I'm excited, but I've already read the Forward by Francois Mauriac and it shook me to my core, so "exciting" is definitely the wrong word. I imagine this won't be a very exciting book. I am hoping to learn something though, and to gain another perspective on one of the worst moments in history.

Has anyone else read this?

Buck (spectru) I read this six or seven years ago. The subject certainly is compelling, but the storytelling didn't encourage me to read the next two books in the trilogy. I don't remember a lot of the details and didn't write a review. I rated it three stars.

message 4: by Jeffrey (new) - added it

Jeffrey (wordsmith2294) | 26 comments In lieu of a review, I wanted to write about something from Night that spoke to me. I don't know who in this group needs to hear this, if anyone does, but I think it needs to be said.

While reading Night, I've been watching the final season of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. It's a fictionalized retelling of Piper Kerman's memoir from her time in a women's prison. The show is well-made and sometimes controversial, and even though it's fictionalized, it mirrors some themes from Night - like how imprisonment changes a person. Particularly, in the final season, the show has directly faced the plight of women in American detention centers, put there after having entered the country illegally. The women have their rights and their humanity taken away from them bit by bit - they no longer have medical access, their legal protection, or their children and families. It sounded remarkably similar to Wiesel's experience.

There's even a scene where the detainees receive mail, and they are referred to by their detainee numbers instead of their names. I watched this scene right after reading a passage from Night, where Wiesel describes his name being replaced by a prison camp number. That act of taking someone's name from them is a familiar act throughout history, designed to chip away at a person's identity and remove their humanity.

I know the show is fictionalized, but it comes from a place of reality. The comparison between the Holocaust and American detention centers is not made lightly. It is made with genuine fear. For instance, had I been in Germany at the time of the Holocaust, it's likely I would have been imprisoned because of my sexual orientation; and today, had I been born in any country other than America, it's likely I could have wound up in one of these detention centers, given that many LGBT people come to American to flee persecution against their country and their own families.

I don't usually talk like this. But I felt that I should, because at the end of Wiesel's book is his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Price, and he is quoted saying: "...I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

I'm using this discussion group as a platform to take a side and to break my usual silence. If we read Night thinking about how it's in the past, and how glad we are that those horrors are no longer a reality, we have squandered the point of reading it. Night, and books like it, are meant to remind us what terrible things happened, and to make sure our world never forgets. Even in my limited experience, I can tell that the people managing these American detention centers and treating people like animals have forgotten that the world has done this to people before.

If anyone else is reading Night this month, please read it honestly. Make sure you do not remain silent or neutral with injustice happening in our world. Make sure you take Wiesel's words to heart and do something about the injustice he condemned.

Buck (spectru) Jeffrey wrote: "In lieu of a review, I wanted to write about something from Night that spoke to me. I don't know who in this group needs to hear this, if anyone does, but I think it needs to be said.

While readin..."

Hear, hear.

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 25 comments I read Night some months ago, and found it to be very powerful and painful to read. It should be required reading for everyone who thinks "it can't happen here". The next two books in the series did not stand up to the first-- I was quite disappointed in them. I guess it was partly because Night was a true account, and Dawn and Day were fiction.

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