Painful Joy: A Holocaust Family Memoir by Max J Friedman was the perfect read to counter the fiction book, A Girl in the Stripped Dress. Friedman's book is completely nonfiction and helps the reader understand his parents who were both survivors of the Holocaust. I enjoyed interviewing Max for Online for Authors.
This book is very different than anything I've ever read about the Holocaust. Friedman did extensive research to discover his parent's history and all the things they never spoke of during their lifetime. One of the most poignant moments for me was when he learned of his two half-sister's names, little girls murdered at Auschwitz. I can't begin to imagine how his father, Solomon, continued living when he realized their fate. And yet he did. He remarried a woman who lost her first husband in the same way, had two children, moved to the US, and did his best to survive while haunted by emotional and physical trauma caused by his years in the camp. And his mother did the same - moving forward - despite the trauma that dogged her throughout the rest of her life.
Painful Joy will help you understand what was happening in Poland and Germany prior to and during WWII, some of the things experienced by the Jewish people, and how what happened to the survivors was passed down to the following generations. In this way, the message is one of those I wanted to pass on with An Enemy Like Me, which is this: What a soldier sees and experiences is not something that goes away once the war is over. Instead, the ripples of those things can be felt for generations.
If you want to see the effects of the Holocaust without the frills of a fiction story, then Painful Joy is for you.
The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively & Joyfully was written by Morrie Schwartz and posthumously edited by his son Rob Schwartz. I spoke with Rob on Online for Authors.
This book looks at how to age well and not get trapped into believing that old age needs to be about becoming slow, unnecessary, and small. Morrie examines ageism and how the idea that the old people have no vitality or functionality left relegates many seniors to sad, lonely lives once they retire. He offers hundreds of suggestions for throwing those ideas out the window and living a joyful life.
This book would be a great one for a group discussion or even a class on aging because it is full of suggestions, action sets, and questions to consider. I can see it being used in senior centers and retirement villages by both residents and those who care for them. I think it is also useful for children with aging parents, anyone who works with seniors, and quite frankly, anyone who plans to get old! There are many suggestions for living well that I started applying right now.
Beyond the Rut: Create a Life Worth Living in Your Faith, Family, and Career by Jerry Dugan is a great self-help/inspirational book based on his podcast of the same name. I had the honor of interviewing him about his book for Online for Authors.
Although Jerry focuses on helping men get out of the rut, I found that what he says applies equally to women - as well as people of all ages and stages in life. Essentially, if you are stuck in life, then this book will give you some great tips for getting out of it.
Jerry focuses on three main steps to getting beyond the rut:
I enjoyed Jerry's sense of humor, his down-to-earth advice, and his willingness to share with others that he struggles with ruts. I also realized that moving beyond the rut isn't a one-time thing. We can find ourselves in ruts throughout our life, so learning what to do is essential.
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
Follow the Blog Using the RSS Feed link below: