survival in auschwicz, by primo levi.
this is the fourth of the five books at bought at the holocaust museum bookstore in july. i also bought the sequel, which i’m pumped about reading. primo levi was a young chemist from turin, italy, who spent a year at auschwicz. while night, by elie wiesel, gets all the attention, i think i connected with this book even more. there’s a tedium in levi’s book that reveals what life was really like, day to day. the chronicling of atrocities is here, but even more, levi dealves into all that he was feeling and thinking — and he was clearly a thinker. that’s what i connected with (not that i’m much of a thinker!): i was able, as the reader, to put myself in his place. it was less of a voyueristic read, and more of an invitation to join him in his thoughts and emotions. powerful, powerful stuff. as to the storyline, wiesel left the camp as part of the death march, and mentions those left in the camp because of illness. levi was one of those left in the camp, and his story of those 10 days — between the camp being deserted and the arrival of the russian forces — is “can’t stop reading for any reason” stuff. apparently, the sequel tells his story of re-emerging into life and his transition back home, which i expect to find fascinating.
is belief in god good, bad or irrelevant?: a professor and a punk rocker discuss science, religion, naturalism & christianity, edited by preston jones. this book has received a few mentions in the blogosphere lately, and for good reason. apart from an extremely lame title (though a clear-as-day subtitle), it’s a great read, accessible and engaging. it’s the edited email dialogue between preston jones (a history professor at john brown university in arkansas) and greg graffin (lead singer/songwriter for the band bad religion). graffin had (at the time of their correspondance) just finished a ph.d. in zoology from cornell, with a dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism. jones, a whip-smart progressive evangelical, in addition to being a history prof with a good working knowledge of science, theology and philosophy, is a fan of graffin’s band. the discussion is almost always interesting — and the great thing about the book is that it is truly a dialogue. they identify some common ground and some clearly significant differences. they get a bit punchy with each other from time to time, which only adds to the readability. btw, this is one of the first releases in a new line published by IVP called ‘likewise’, aimed at younger adults and emerging culture — this book bodes well for the line.