Monday, June 25, 2007

The darkness of Night...

I finally finished another book. There were several false starts in the last few weeks, but "Night" by Elie Wiesel was not one of those.

Mr. Wiesel is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1986. His book "Night" (which has been translated from French) is the story of his experiences during WWII in concentration camps. He tells with chilling and surprizing detail the accounts of being rounded up, separated from his mother and sister, and his loyalty to his father throughout their time in the camps. Wiesel describes the loss of his faith during that time, but then seems to have regained it again by the time of his Nobel prize acceptance speech at the end of the book. So perhaps we can assume that the faith was not lost completely, but just challenged. I'd like to hear more of THAT story.

The chronicle of Wiesel's time in captivity isn't new to anyone who has read other WWII stories, but we MUST keep this time period fresh in our minds and hearts and pass it on to the next generation. Our children must be as horrified as we are, lest history repeat itself.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Books I DIDN'T read...

There are SO many books to read and just not enough time. So it doesn't make sense to keep reading a book that doesn't capture you or give some hint that you will be better off having finished it. I recently thought that I would give Stephen King another chance. Years ago I avidly read his books - before I decided that horror was not a genre that improved my character. So I borrowed "Kisey's Story" from the library. And I gave it a good chance. But no go...back it went. However, having read that King's wife and son are also novelists, I reserved a book each of theirs. Owen King is Stephen's son. "We're All in this Together" is a novella and short stories. The novella (same title as the book) was intriguing enough to hold me through most of it, but unfortunately the language (oh woe, that "F" word) did it in for me and I delegated it to the "soon to go back" shelf. Then I pulled out Tabitha King's "Survivor", but didn't make it beyond the first few chapters. Language! Really Tabitha! Am I so far out of the "real world" that bad language bothers me so much? I can sort of see it in war novels or coming from the lips of criminals in a thriller, but when regular characters start spouting it, I'm out of there. I want to be edified by the literature that I read. The free dictionary online defines edifying as "enlightening or uplifting so as to encourage intellectual or moral improvement". Authors - give me edifying words!
What interests me the most about this literary family is what went on between their four walls to give them all such a talent and love for writing. Did Stephen take his son Owen through WriteShop or Writing Strands? Did he require his son to write daily in a journal or practice the structural models and stylistic techniques till he had honed his craft to perfection? I suspect not. He probably just wrote everyday himself and modeled such a love of writing that his son, (who already had ideas within himself to express), naturally started putting those down on paper himself. But I could be wrong. I'd sure like to know, though.