No hate, just a lesson in gratitude and moving forward

hate.jpegOn a Friday night in November, 2015, French journalist Antoine Leiris kissed his wife Helene goodbye on her way out the door for a concert. He was watching their 17-month-old son, Melvil. It was the last time he would see her alive.

Helene was one of more than 90 people killed by terrorists at the Bataclan concert house that night in what was the deadliest attack on France since World War II. Two days after the attacks, while still trying to understand what had happened to him, his child, his country, Leiris wrote an open letter to the terrorists in a Facebook post (ah, modern life) that went viral.

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Mma Ramotswe: Still revealing the mysteries of a happy life

precious and grace.jpegI have written many times about Alexander McCall Smith and how he has charmed his way into my list of favorite authors.

In “Precious and Grace,” the 17th(!) novel in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Smith takes a stray dog, a naive friend of Mma Ramotswe who unwittingly becomes part of a pyramid scheme, and a Woman of the Year contest (no, neither Precious Ramotswe nor Grace Makutsi are nominees) to paint a picture of a gentle world where everything comes out right. This being a mystery series, however, there is a case of a woman who returns to Botswana to reconnect with her past. She hires the agency to locate her old nanny, a woman she only knew as Rosie some 30 years before, with only a blurry, faded photograph to help.

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In a nutshell, Ian McEwan is one of the best

nutshell.jpgI was relieved to discover, through the Google, that Ian McEwan is only 68. He’s been a part of my consciousness for so long, that I thought he was much older. That had me worried. The idea of a year without a new book by this guy might be too much to bear.

McEwan is one of my favorite writers. Of his 17 works of fiction, I’ve read all but three (“First Love, Last Rites,” “In Between the Sheets” and “Black Dogs”). I have also read three screenplays he wrote early in his career that are fascinating and bizarre. At least one of these works was pulled from a scheduled air date at the last minute, as I understand it, because the censors didn’t know what the hell to make of them. I guess they though there must have been something immoral in the works if they couldn’t understand them.

Most of his works left me marveling at the craft or the story, usually both. I often reread sections, because where he takes us is surprising. Sometimes, truth be told, because I had no idea what point he was making until I worked through it a few times.

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