Law and Conversation

November 15, 2010

Read This! Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

Today’s Read This! recommendation features “Man’s Search For Meaning,” by psychotherapist Viktor Frankl.  A law professor I know characterized this book as “one of the best books on the planet,” and he’s right.

Frankl tells the story of his experiences as a concentration camp inmate in the Holocaust and then uses his story to make a convincing and beautiful argument that the strongest force driving people is the search for meaning and purpose in their lives.  It’s a book that merits reading and rereading. 

On Friday I posted about my plan to read Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” over the weekend.  Now that I’ve done so, I’d include it on any list of great Holocaust literature or list of seminal graphic novels.  It’s fascinating to see how the cartoons of people as mice, cats, pigs, and dogs (and one frog) work so well with the characters’ conversation to convey Spiegelman’s father’s harrowing story of the Holocaust as well as his son’s own story of how he came to draw and write the book.

Speaking of the Holocaust, there are wonderful YouTube videos of another concentration camp survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer, playing the piano at the age of 106 and telling the story of how music helped sustain her.

And speaking of graphic novels, last week I posted about another graphic novelist whose books I love, Lynda J. Barry.  Nathalie Atkinson at Canada’s National Post calls Barry a “happiness bomb!” in her article of November 12, “Everything is illuminated: Tagging along on Lynda Barry’s magical mystery tour of Toronto.”  Barry is in Chicago today, giving a talk at the Art Institute.

What stories have helped you find a deeper meaning in aspects of your life?

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