Wine, Women, and Words Book Club

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A heartfelt THANK YOU to the Wine, Women, and Words Book Club for selecting A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other as your book this month and inviting me to be part of this week’s meeting. Great exchange of thoughts and opinions – wonderful discussion.

Local Books for Holiday Giving

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The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, December 16, 2016

“A Smile in One Eye, a Tear in the Other” by Ralph Webster of Kitty Hawk. A World War II history with implications for today’s refugee crises. Webster tells the story of his father’s family, Jewish by heritage, Lutheran by choice, targeted by the Nazis. The buzz includes this from a staff member at Bookish: “When I first started reading the book, it felt very much like a love letter from an older son to an even older father. By the time I finished, it felt more like a letter of apology. … I cannot claim to know the author’s mind, but this book is one of the best reads I have had in a long time.”

A 2016 Goodreads Readers Choice Nominee

Thank You Geeky Bibliophile!

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A shout out and thank you to the Geeky Bibliophile!  I hope others will find my answers do justice to the interesting questions asked in the interview this week.

Sometimes it is good to sit back and wonder why we do certain things – like write a book!

 

Selected Quotes – Feel Free to Share

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A number of book clubs have been reading A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other (a semi-finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards – Memoirs/Biographies).  I felt honored when someone handed me this list of quotes from my book.  

“Life does find a way to create a balance somewhere between smiles and tears.  And, like a pendulum’s swing, life seldom stays in one place.  Life keeps on moving until, one day, it stops.”

“Nothing about these times makes any sense.  Nothing.  Putting it to words only makes it sound too simple.”

“I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.”

“I thought those were others.  Soon, I was to learn that they were us.”

“My parents have lived longer than most and have expected very little.  We have been blessed in too many ways to count.”

“I’ve made my peace.  He will always be part of me.  I don’t need to watch him die.  I am just glad I was able to watch him live.”

“He told me that what he owned and accumulated didn’t matter.  He still had his family.  We still had our future.  Go forward,  You can’t look back.  It will destroy you if you do…  Ever since that day, I have seen the world through a different prism.”

“The way I see it, religion, has done our family more harm than good.  For me, faith has never been a source of comfort…  For herself, Mela always missed having that sense of identity.  She had a longing to belong…  Long ago, we found that compromise.”

“With all her heart, Mom believed in opportunity for everyone and privilege for no one.  She put her children first, and her faith and trust in the American dream.”

“All of us have parents.  Generations pass.  We are not unique.  Now it is our family’s turn.”

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is a story about the holocaust and the struggles a proud, prosperous, and patriotic German family faced.  Their circumstance is compelling.  Baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church they were abruptly cast as Jews – an ancestry always respected but never embraced.  It made a life-and-death difference.  Some would say this book is a biography; others might call it a memoir.  While true in terms of people, places, and timeline, it reads like a historical novel.

Thank You to The Escape Book Club

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A heartfelt thank you to my friends with The Escape Book Club. It was a wonderful evening – great conversation and provocative discussion.  I felt special to be invited and honored that you selected A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other as your monthly read.  Congratulations – 98 books and your club is still going strong!