January 18, 2016
A novel about two American Jewish boys, Rueven & Danny– one Hasidic and one modern Orthodox– who become friends during WWII. The story is as much about their fathers as it is about them and I learned a lot about Judaism and what it might have been like to be Jewish in America during World War II, while also reading an enjoyable story.
“You can listen to silence, Reuven. I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it…
You have to want to listen to it, and then you can hear it. It has a strange, beautiful texture. It doesn’t always talk. Sometimes — sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it. It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.”
“Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. so it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?
“…I learned a long time ago Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant… A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning… A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here.”
Also recently finished…
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
This one is a book club selection that we aren’t discussing for a few months so I’ll save my thoughts until later in the year. I will say that I definitely recommend it.
Blueprint Your Bestseller by Stuart Horwitz
I just finished going through this book and it has so far proved extremely helpful as I attempt to edit my novel manuscript. I had no idea where to begin so I went through this book and dutifully completed each action step. I honestly know nothing about the process of writing and editing a novel length piece of writing and I’m sure there are dozens of ways to go about it. But I like a plan and a checklist and this gave me both.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Still working my way through God Laughs & Plays by David James Duncan
- And recently started Fifty Prayers by Karl Barth
- I’ll also be calling my mom to see if she will send me her other Chaim Potok books. My Name is Asher Lev and The Promise are both on my to-read list.