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Chicago's reading "Night"

I don't know if this is remarkable or not. The city of Chicago has chosen, for the second book in its now ongoing, citywide book reading, Night, by Elie Wiesel.

On the one hand, it's a book well worth reading, especially in these times. On the other, it's by a Jew and about the Holocaust — not exactly the vanilla flavored direction one might expect in such a politically freighted decision. (Part of me is afraid that this will inevitably result in some minor scandal; such things always enrage certain types of people, who are bound to search for some "proof" confirming the moral bankruptcy of it all.) The apparent runner up (the Chicago Tribune tells us) was Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, which would have probably been infinitely more politically palatable.

Regardless, it's a great thing, a hopeful thing. According to the Tribune, "tens of thousands" of Chicagoans read and then gathered to discuss the first book in the One Book, One Chicago program, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. In the New York Times, Jonathan Goldstein writes that "the project is designed to encourage reading while fostering a sense of community." If even half as many Chicagoans are moved to read Wiesel's tragic story and his message of tolerance and humanity, it will have accomplished far more than that.

February 8, 2002 11:11 PM

Comments (and TrackBacks)

I love the idea of this, but I only just finished January's book for the MeFi book list. I'd be turning up a week late, and discussing it with myself. I take it that Night is worth a read then, Matt? I'm a sucker for a good recommendation ...

Posted by walrus on February 11, 2002 2:32 PM

It is indeed worth a read, in my humble estimation. (I believe it is readily available even outside of Chicago, as well.)

Posted by M on February 11, 2002 5:26 PM

My girlfriend got a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird from her mom coincidently at the time the citywide book club thing started. She was interested in reading it and taking part, but she had other books cooking, and never got around to it. Myself, any book that ends up being read in that program is one I will never consider reading in public. I have trouble enough when I am out in public, I don't need to make it appear that I wish to discuss my reading material with strangers.

Posted by thirteen on February 14, 2002 1:00 PM

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