I want to commend “Staff Picks: Five Most Influential Books,” Aug. 8, for a fascinating variety of excellent books, some of which I have read and others I am now motivated to get.
I would like to add my own recommendation — and I was a bit surprised that no one mentioned it: Maus (both volumes I and II, or in a set called The Complete Maus) by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. This Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the Holocaust is possibly the greatest graphic novel ever written, but don’t let the concept of a graphic novel put you off.
In terms of Holocaust literature, this is an absolute must-read. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father, with whom he has a difficult relationship, about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The work employs postmodernist techniques and represents Jews as mice, Germans as cats and Poles as pigs. Absolute sheer brilliance. There was a follow up called Meta-Maus that is a collection of interviews, essays and illustrations that led to the creation of Maus that also should not be missed.
Arlene Steinberg | Northeast Philadelphia
The Big Picture
After reading “Don’t Use Tragedy to Win Political Points” (Aug. 15), I just felt the need to reply. It is commendable that the author, Jack Elbaum, is so interested in political life as a high school student.
Being Jewish means a great many things to me, one of them being able to try to follow the lessons in our Bible. As a Jew, I am appalled at the things that are being bandied about concerning people of color and different religions by my peers. Those who endorse Trump willingly align themselves with his administration, whatever they are supporting. I do hope the writer, at his young age, understands that. He must learn to use his conscience when choosing to align himself with a cause or person that can change society. As a nation, we must try to see all of our citizens as people who deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Leaders who incite violence and hate against our own people, whichever political party, do not deserve this nation’s support. Trump has split this nation, which weakens it and causes our allies to question our ability to be a world power. I have found that supporting a candidate because of one cause is narrow-minded and often dangerous to our nation. Please always look at the big picture.
Jacqueline Baver | Warminster