His hands had been lovely on the wedding day. Large and lucky, as your grandmother said. Calloused, hardworking, moneymaking hands as your mother said. Your hands were calloused too. A little smaller, trembling some, with what the aunts had called girlish nervousness as they decorated your skin and your feet, combed your hair and tied you into your wedding gown. You were apprehensive–nervous, scared, terrified–but good girls didn’t say no. And good girls knew no better, as was the way.

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Nonfiction and historical fiction and biography, from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas to All the Light We Cannot See. And oh, how ludicrous it sounds, but I was proud. Proud of my empathy, proud of the superficial sadness that would string through me as I read of death camps, putrefaction and squalor and the persistent family-torn-apart motif.

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