Finding the Words to Describe a Nightmare

I’ve wanted to read Night by Elie Wiesel for many years. This slim memoir has a legacy all its own, which very few books, either fiction or nonfiction, can claim to have. I don’t know why I’ve avoided it for so long. Perhaps the ubiquity of its influence over the years told me I always had time to visit it when I wanted to, as I remind myself with Proust or James Baldwin or Simone de Beauvoir. That it wasn’t going anywhere. Then, several months ago, while flying to California from New York, I purchased it on my way to the airport. It’s short, hardly a hundred pages, and I finished it just as I was landing in Los Angeles.

Elie Wiesel was only sixteen years old when his family was forced into one of the two ghettos of Sighet, a Romanian town in the Carpathian Mountains, which had, by 1940, come under Hungarian control. That same year, Hungarian authorities allowed the Germans to deport Jews settled in these ghettos to various concentration camps that began sprouting up in German-controlled areas. The Wiesels were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a camp located in contemporary Poland.

Read More

How Soccer Can Lead to Love

Off the Shelf sat down to talk to Brigid Paskula, who has just published a wonderful novel, The Sun and Other Stars, that is set in a little town in Italy and is filled with charming characters and romance. The story, which centers around Etto, a butcher’s son, and his friends…

Read More

What are you reading?

Your Shelf

We've made it easy to create your own reading list from books you find on this site. Just click "|+| Add to Your Shelf" and we'll save them for you. If you're like us, those shelves will fill up fast!

Login or register to get started.

A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

-Carl Sagan