This first week in May brings to mind the liberation of the concentration camps at the end of World War II. The Nazis had exterminated an estimated 11 million people because of political or religious affiliations, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disabilities.
Six million of these people were Jews.
Some were members of my family.
I have yet to write about those Holocaust years, although The Ninth Day (companion novel to Blue Thread and the forthcoming Seven Stitches) spirals between the free speech protestors in 1964 Berkeley and the Jewish granddaughter of Rashi in 1099 Paris, in the aftermath of the Crusader attack on the Jews of Mainz. The story touches on survival and guilt, on speaking up, and on the power of song.
The main character in The Ninth Day speaks up as little as possible to avoid stuttering. She would have admired Aaron, the boy who stutters in Anna Olswanger’s Greenhorn. […] Continue reading
I know it’s been a while, a very long while, since I’ve posted. I’ve been hyper busy on polishing Book Three. Still, I had to share this news, which came to me via a Twitter post from Ooligan Press.
The Oregonian recently compiled a list of 21 little-known must-read books about Oregon. Blue Thread shares the honors with books from many authors I admire, particularly Ursula K. Le Guin. I am blown away.
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Writers read. It’s one of the perks of this particular calling. I get to stack an armload of books by my comfy chair and sample another author’s fare without the slight twinge of guilt because this is, after all, “work.” Included in my recent “work” was reading Barry Deutsch’s Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish as part of the #Readukkah reviews for the Association of Jewish Libraries.
Tonight, when I light the Hanukkah candles on a 1970s birch-log menorah, I will reread How Mirka Caught a Fish just for fun. This comic/graphic novel is third in the series about Mirka, who is “yet another 11-year-old time-traveling Orthodox Jewish babysitter,” according to the cover. For those of you unfamiliar with the Hereville series, click here. You’ll know in short order that Barry is a master at writing and illustrating a whopping good tale.
The story combines universal themes of adventure and sibling rivalry with the sort of Old World monsters that my grandmother told me about, the kind that I figure also frightened and fascinated her when she was little. […] Continue reading