I recently downgraded from one and a half bookcases (five shelves each and each shelf stuffed to capacity) to just one bookcase (full and stuffed to capacity to the point of exerting effort to pull one out). I thought, I have a Kindle now. I will rarely buy real books. Then this weekend I purchased four books.
Interestingly (or maybe not) each of these books is about the Holocaust. Three were intentional, having been purchased at the Holocaust Museum. The other one, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, was purchased in Barnes and Noble. That's irrelevant though. I don't think that saying I am fascinated by the Holocaust is an appropriate phrase, but it's such an interesting period of time. It's close enough that most of us know people who were alive when it happened making it one of the first major events that my generation can relate to. My grandparents (though not together at the time) were in the Ukraine when the Nazis invaded and for fear of being rounded up (as dark-haired Ukrainians they were afraid they'd be mistaken for Jews) they fled the Ukraine and ended up in a German work camp. They met and took an Army boat to Ellis Island before settling in Pittsburgh. My grandmother tells me all the time about how much she used to love to sing and how the Germans loved it when she did. I just hope I have more time to listen to her stories. They are not all as happy as that one, but they are essential to our history and must not go untold. Even if it is just for family.
A (fiction) book essential to any reading about the Holocaust is The Book Thief. Such a ridiculously amazing book. It brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. Read it. It will forever change your life.