Multiple forum members have September trips to Poland planned, including me. I'm marking out this little corner of the forum for me to comment on interesting books/films I encounter in preparation for the trip (which, of course, may need to be deferred). I invite others to contribute Poland books/films they like -- from well-known to obscure. Random comments are welcome, too, including snarky insults, as long as you limit them to me (I can take 'em!). I am aware of Judy B's post from a couple of weeks ago, but did not want to commandeer it.
A couple of background thoughts:
In preparing for a trip to Germany several years ago, I asked a world history professor at a local college for recommended reading. He suggested an overview text of German history, but also strongly encouraged me to read memoirs to try to get a better sense of personal reactions to the periods/events that interested me. I found the advice regarding memoirs to be excellent, and memoirs tend to be disproportionately represented in my reading.
An author named John Piper once wrote something to the effect that books don't change people's lives; sentences change lives. I've run into one of those sentences in my Poland reading. In White House in a Gray City, Itzchak Belfer credits Janusz Korczak, an early 20th-century Jewish pediatrician turned orphanage director, with the statement, "I do not exist in order to be loved or cherished, but rather to act and to love." Many of you are probably higher on Maslow's hierarchy than I am, but Korczak's sentence is quite meaningful to me -- one that has prompted quite a bit of reflection and aspiration.