This months I didn’t read as many books as in May, but I read two huge tomes. Since they deal with rather heavy themes, I thought I’d get depressed reading them. I did feel very somber reading them – at the same time I became very caught up in the fate of the author and the people around him. In the end I’m glad I tackled these two books!
21. Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten. Tagebücher 1933-1941 (I Shall Bear Witness 1933-1941) – Victor Klemperer
s. No. 23 below.
22. Selbstbetrachtungen – Marc Aurel
Phil is a big adherent of stoicism. Since he always talks about incorporating stoic lessons in his daily life, and how helpful that is, I thought I’d see myself what the fuss is all about. Honestly I found the constant “Everything dies, nothing’s important in the long run” more depressing than calming. That said, it’s very helpful to remember that you can’t control people or events around you, so you need to focus on you and your work instead. I’m a control freak, this is hard for me. Marc Aurel’s stance on doing what you think is good for the community calmly, without personal pride, and regardless of the opinions of others, really resonated with me as well.
23. Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten. Tagebücher 1942-1945 (To The Bitter End 1942-1945) – Victor Klemperer
Victor Klemperer was an esteemed philologist teaching at TU Dresden until 1933. His diaries from 1933-1945 show how the Nazis slowly stripped him of his rights. It’s honestly terrifying to read how they just took away and took away and took away. Klemperer captures the fearful, oppressive atmosphere in the Jewish community in Dresden, how they could be arrested for the most minor details, how arbitrary and demeaning the Gestapo terror was, how his friends, family and neighbours get deported or commit suicide out of fear of being deported. It’s a deeply impactful historical document, and it should serve as a warning in a time where fascism rears its ugly head in several countries.
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