Review: “Zealot” by Reza Aslan

Author Reza Aslan has been getting a lot of press, largely because of a Fox News “interview” displaying one of those moronic performances for which the network is known. (I won’t link to it. Google if you feel the need.)

I reviewed his new book for The Seattle Times:

A scholar who sets out to put the record straight on Jesus is an anomalous creature, eager (perhaps even driven) to share diligent research and original conclusions with the very people most likely to be rattled by his findings.

“Zealot” by Reza Aslan is a fascinating book, and no doubt will be chosen by many a well-meaning and hurried gift-giver who imagines a devout Christian recipient will be delighted. Be advised, dear reader, Sunday school this isn’t. Yet Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image.

For the whole review, click here.

 

 

Review: Ellis and his “Revolutionary Summer”

I was able to review this book for The Seattle Times. If you know someone who is wild about early American history, jot down this title for use during frantic holiday shopping.

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis

The best thing about Joseph Ellis’ vast writings on Early America is his ability to construct unvarnished and original accounts, clear away myth and yet leave the reader with a sense of the color, irony, humor and — dare I say it? — the great good luck present throughout our country’s history.

More than once I’ve had the thought that his award-winning books should be issued to every family with fiercely opposed politics and loyalties, with instructions to read one or more of them immediately prior to Thanksgiving dinner. Just imagine it: intelligent arguments about the character of our nation.

His latest, “Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence,” is not the fully transporting sort of book, as was his “American Sphinx” on Thomas Jefferson. And it won’t inspire people to become public servants or professors, as I believe his works on John Adams et. al. can actually do.

Yet it is an absorbing read and is aptly named, for it takes a fresh view — as his subtitle puts it — of the birth of American independence.

It requires a kind of donnish confidence to focus on the buildup to a great change, and the University of Massachusetts professor shoves off with a characteristically good one-liner at the start: “By the spring of 1776, British and American troops had been killing each other at a robust rate for a full year.”

 

Read the rest of the review in The Seattle Times by clicking here.

 

 

She surfaces…with a do-not-miss recommendation.

I have been AWOL on this blog for a long time. I’m welcoming myself back with this tip:

This column in The New York Times is beautifully written. Under the bluntly worded headline of “You Are Going to Die,” Tim Kreider writes about life in a way that will resonate with people of all ages. He is funny without being flip, sober without gloom, hopeful and worried at the same time. A lovely accomplishment.

Click here and enjoy.

Review of Richard Russo’s “Elsewhere.”

Longtime readers of Russo’s fiction will recognize the woman at the center of this memoir. His mother, Jean Russo, and his childhood with her have fueled most of his novels.

My review in The Seattle Times begins this way:

Richard Russo has mined his childhood with enormous energy, humor and craftsmanship. He’s populated most of his stories and novels (one, “Empire Falls,” a Pulitzer Prize winner) with wonderfully believable characters found in fading mill towns nestled in upper New York State.

These towns, once vibrant, clattering, stinking centers where animal hides were turned into famously excellent gloves and other leather goods, were dying by the 1950s when Russo was growing up just north of the Adirondacks foothills. His hometown was Gloversville, in what was later labeled the Central Leatherstocking District — two names so simultaneously sad and absurd that Russo might have made them up . (A place proudly named after an extinct industry not once, but twice, is the sort of stuff Russo appreciates.)

 

Read the rest here.

Joan Leegant’s novel: “Wherever You Go”

I had the good fortune to read an advance copy of Joan Leegant’s novel Wherever You Go, some months ago.  Leegant is a brainy, multi-degreed writer and teacher (Harvard undergrad; then law school and on to an MFA) who moves easily between Boston and Tel Aviv.

The book, published in 2010 by W.W. Norton, is getting good press–and among her stops, Leegant will appear in Portland in the spring. The review in The New York Times didn’t resonate for me on this one, but one paragraph had a good summary:

The book is an indictment of certain anemic corners of the modern American Jewish experience — spiritually sapped by bourgeois values, rote religious observance, Holocaust fatigue and jingoistic ethnic pride — and an exploration of the radicalism, religious and political, into which some searching people flee.

What wasn’t emphasized was the sympathy and fairness with which all those corners are portrayed, or Leegant’s gift for nailing down the nature of our imperfect introspection into matters religious and cultural. This slippery process has everything to do with the generally inept coverage of “Jewish issues” by mainstream media. When the interviewees are not articulate about their own Jewishness or view of Israel, the interviewers aren’t either.

I thought Steve Pollak, writing for Jewish Literary Review, did a good job on his review of Leegant’s book. And, for a better sense of Leegant and her writing process, click here for some video.

Huck Finn would be in juvy lock-up today.

It’s that time again. Another round of the predictable outcry in a school district over Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

(A good opinion piece about it by New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani, here.)

The argument is always the same: Twain’s use (a zillion times) of the word “nigger” is insulting and racist, and not appropriate for discussion by students in this enlightened time. His novels should be banned–or worse–rewritten to remove the offensive words.

This fight always leaves me very cranky.

First, because I have always secretly disliked the novels of Mark Twain, which is like hating puppies. I’ve made a vow to try them again this year, just in case my literary tastes have matured. So, stay tuned on that.

Second: Why is it that the opponents to Twain’s writing are almost always such obvious misfits? Unpopular professors seeking to make a name for themselves; wacky PTA presidents, pastors of some church way, way off the mainline.

I’ve always wondered why Twain gets picketed and Louisa May Alcott doesn’t. God knows there is more truth in his view than hers…what family is as happy as the March clan? As for bad influences: Clearly Jo was a lesbian who marries that old guy just to get out of the house. And what about Beth’s mysterious death? Oh, and P.S., maybe Daddy March ought to get a real job, hmmmm?

For months now I’ve been working on a project that has me immersed in reading about our sinful history of slavery; of lynching, the civil rights movement and, more recently, Vietnam. Erasing this hateful word from literature doesn’t erase that history. It just makes it a bit easier to pretend it didn’t happen.

Here’s what I know for sure: We can’t learn and change without reading and seeing the stuff of the past. And if we don’t teach kids the nuance and import of context, they are royally screwed. Left without one of the most important tools for making decisions and forming personal ethics.

Here’s an idea: You educators, parents and others who fear that the language of Twain will embarrass or disrespect or corrupt our youth — why don’t you go to work on a study guide that runs through the various points of view on the matter. Tell us how and why it became unacceptable to call a grown African American man, “boy.” Explain why it took so long for the big newspapers to use Mr. or Mrs. or Miss when referring to black people–just as they did when writing about white folks. Trace the timing and thought behind the migration from “colored” to “negro” to “Negro” to “black” to “Black” to “Afro-American” to “African American” to a person of color.

Sanitizing language is silly. It’s a teaching moment, so get on with it.

In 100 years someone will be agitating to ban your study guide. I promise.

Author Rebecca Skloot and the Dwight Garner book list.

I don’t usually pay much attention to lists of “Top 10 Books” that come out at the end of each year. They tend to be too much like those annoying, whitewashed annual holiday letters:

Look how artsy I am! I could not put down that impenetrable novel you tossed after 10 pages! See how smart I am! I loved that biography that weighs more than the chair I sat in to read it!

This year, though, I read two books I knew had to make every list. The first was The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Journey of America’s Great Migration (Random House). I had the good luck to review Isabel Wilkerson’s book for The Seattle Times.

I wrote:

Many of us see the history of African Americans as bracketed by slavery and the televised moments of the 1950s-’60s civil-rights movement. Coverage of Barack Obama’s historic election replayed those midcentury milestones: cruel, brave, jubilant, violent moments. The past unrolled in footage of powerful speeches; attack dogs and fire hoses; a dignified, unblinking dark-skinned girl walking into a Southern school with white adults screaming abuse all around her.

Isabel Wilkerson’s exceptional book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” moves the story to a much larger screen, as she chronicles the migration of some six million African Americans who left the South behind between World War I and the 1970s. Her extensive demographic and social-history research, thousands of interviews and select oral histories create a fresh, rich book.

Wilkerson is getting well deserved recognition right and left. She’s already won a Pulitzer for her work at The New York Times – now she’ll likely get another.

The other book is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown) by Rebecca Skloot. It’s a fascinating story (enough so that Oprah will movie-ize it soon) and Skloot’s crafting of the science and human stories is nothing short of brilliant.

I noted its publication  on this blog:

Cells from Henrietta Lacks, a cancer patient in the 1950s, started something that seems more magical than scientific. Johns Hopkins doctors who took the cells from Lacks, a poor African American farmer, never imagined creating HeLa – the “immortal” cells grown in culture that live on and save lives around the world. This is tireless, deep reporting sensitively done and written with unusual clarity. The very talented Skloot erases the line between lab and humanity with inspiring deftness.

Skloot’s book has attracted great press. Yet some of the year-end  lists of Top Ten do not include it. Hello? This makes zero sense.

Maybe it has something to do with the publication date — long ago in February 2010. We have short memories in this society. But, still.

An exception is critic Dwight Garner’s list. He’s the sharp book dude at The New York Times–the one who avoids making a review more about himself, something most of his peers seem unable to avoid. Garner’s a fine writer with encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary publishing and a charming sense of humor. Again, all too rare among the professional book junkies. His review of Skloot’s book was typically well done.

Garner also had the catchiest, most fitting one-liner of any book review in 2010:

“A thorny and provocative book about cancer, racism, scientific ethics and crippling poverty, ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ also floods over you like a narrative dam break, as if someone had managed to distill and purify the more addictive qualities of “Erin Brockovich,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “The Andromeda Strain.” More than 10 years in the making, it feels like the book Ms. Skloot was born to write. It signals the arrival of a raw but quite real talent.’”

Garner produced 2010′s  best list — and yes, it appears I am now on the way to compiling the “Top Ten Lists” list.” Well, someone had to do it.

Stieg Larsson: The man who brought us Lisbeth Salander

For fans of the addictive The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its two crime-fiction siblings, this New Yorker piece by Joan Acocella is good stuff.

Only after I read it did I realize why it all seemed so familiar.

Last year on a flight to New Mexico I had a Swedish seatmate who filled me in on the gossip about the squabbles among the late Larsson’s near and dear.  It was so interesting that I forgave the man for his constant uncovered coughing, sniffing and nose-wiping on both sleeves.

Sometimes you have to risk your own well-being to cover the news. Sorry I didn’t write about it sooner, but Ms. Acocella does a fine job.

Writers in passing: Hugh Prather, Norris Church Mailer.

Two deaths reported in The New York Times give me pause. Both were considered accidental authors by their critics. Both found their gifts in unusual ways.

Hugh Prather wrote Notes to Myself as a journal in the early 1970s; it was a surprise bestseller. Norris Church Mailer was a fashion model who married Norman Mailer when he was more than twice her age. While insisting she was no intellectual, Ms. Mailer created fine art, theater and prose that showed intelligence and spirit.

Prather came from privilege and discovered his literary and artistic talent through manual labor; Ms. Mailer climbed out of childhood poverty as a beauty-pageant contestant and became the glue in the lives of the much-married writer, her two sons and seven stepchildren.

Both artists used inner strengths to empower countless others. Prather was the first contemporary journal writer I read, and his gentle reflections helped me make the feminism of my twenties part of my heart, not just my rhetoric. Ms. Mailer I came to admire in middle age, for her ability to be both helpmeet and writer–in the shade of Norman Mailer’s massive ego and talent, yet.

The notion that writers should “empower” us is a relatively new requirement. Literature and memoir were not always evaluated for this ability. There’s a certain flimsiness to the idea, since it bases the value of a piece of writing on how it makes us feel, period. A key manner in which new books are publicly valued relies on tabulating the number of people who buy into the hype of impending empowerment, then buy the book.

There are, though, other measures of a book’s power over us. The test of time, for one. The books that stay shelved in one’s inner library do matter, often for reasons beyond craft or depth. And the “back story” of a book has power too. For all the celebrity and success around her, Ms. Mailer rarely had a real Room of Her Own. She was always a writer with a hyphen: wife-and-writer, mother-and-writer. She too was someone for this feminist to learn from, and admire.

“Cry to Heaven” by Anne Rice

“Cry to Heaven” (Knopf) came out in 1982 and it is the first Anne Rice work I’ve read. It’s rich and brilliant, the story of 17th century castrati, castrated males with unearthly, beautiful voices. These revered artists were courted by the Vatican and high society, but were also outcasts: eunuchs who existed in an excruciating gender limbo surrounded by complicated societal mores and attitudes. The boys who were sold by parents, then “cut,” did not all become stars. The ones who lost their voices or never developed the talent needed for the stage are among history’s most tragic figures. The story tells of Tonio Treschi, a Venetian nobleman kidnapped and castrated, who rises through the ranks of this odd society. His teachers, lovers, audiences and family are all swept up by his unearthly gift, for which everyone pays a price. Read this and prepare to dream about the story at night. Rice is a clever literary witch.

Buy these books.

“Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski - This gratifyingly fat volume is what you always hope to find when you buy a new, writerly, recommended-by-bookstore-staff, nouvelle-cuisine kind of book. Only this one isn’t contrived or over-written and it’s about a boy and dogs without turning into Old Yeller 2.0.

“Up from Orchard Street” by Eleanor Widmer – This is the first novel written in 100 or so years about Jews on the Lower East Side that has an original story line. It’s historically accurate and the characters are much more interesting than anyone you’re going to meet this week, so read it instead of perusing Match.com or going to Happy Hour.

Review: “The Warmth of Other Suns”

An excerpt from my Seattle Times review of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.

Many of us see the history of African Americans as bracketed by slavery and the televised moments of the 1950s-’60s civil-rights movement. Coverage of Barack Obama’s historic election replayed those midcentury milestones: cruel, brave, jubilant, violent moments. The past unrolled in footage of powerful speeches; attack dogs and fire hoses; a dignified, unblinking dark-skinned girl walking into a Southern school with white adults screaming abuse all around her.

Isabel Wilkerson’s exceptional book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” moves the story to a much larger screen, as she chronicles the migration of some six million African Americans who left the South behind between World War I and the 1970s. Her extensive demographic and social-history research, thousands of interviews and select oral histories create a fresh, rich book.

Wilkerson, who teaches at Boston University, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times writer. She spent more than a decade on the book, which is framed by the migration of three very different people in this revolutionary exodus out of Jim Crow segregation.

See the whole review, here.

Bookish. (updated) (updated again)

Some of the books from this summer and fall that I can recommend…or not:

“Blind Man’s Alley” by Justin Peacock - You wouldn’t think a thriller about a New York City developer and the lawyers who represent him would be a page turner, but “Blind Man’s Alley” is, in fact, just that. The characters’ dialogue rings true; the lawyers, real estate robber barons, and the journalists are well cast; New York City is as much of a player in the plot as any human. There’s even some biracial angst and the realistic amount of sex possible for a lawyer who works 80 hours a week. It won’t be long before this one is a movie, I’ll wager.

“Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski - This gratifyingly fat volume is what you always hope to find when you buy a new, writerly, recommended-by-bookstore-staff, nouvelle-cuisine kind of book. Only this one isn’t contrived or over-written and it’s about a boy and dogs without turning into Old Yeller 2.0.

“Up from Orchard Street” by Eleanor Widmer – This is the first novel written in 100 or so years about Jews on the Lower East Side that has an original story line. It’s historically accurate and the characters are much more interesting than anyone you’re going to meet this week, so read it instead of perusing Match.com or going to Happy Hour.

“The King’s Favorite,” by Susan Holloway Scott and “The Other Queen” by Philippa Gregory – I got my annual Royal fix with these two novels. Gregory is the better-known author, and she carries on her strong research and convincing narrative style of 16th-century English intrigue here. Its rotating first-person accounts by Mary, Queen of Scots; the Earl of Shrewsbury (George Talbot) and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, are good stuff, although Bloody Mary’s egotistical rants get tiresome. (Think how poor Bess felt…she had to host the annoying Mary for more than two years while the reigning Queen Elizabeth I tried to figure out what to do with her plotting cousin.) Scott’s novel is just as well researched, and ultimately a more enjoyable tale with its lone narrator, the bawdy Nell Gwyn. This illiterate, street-smart actress and mistress of King Charles II started out as a tavern wench in the 1660s and never lost sight of those humble beginnings. By all accounts she was an honest, uncomplicated friend to Charles, a rarity in court life. (Then and now, probably.)

The 37th Hour” by Jodi Compton – After I read “Hailey’s War,” I hunted up this novel by the same author. Also very good. Compton has a gift for strong, flawed, believable, contemporary female characters. This one stars a police detective with a gift for finding missing people. She’s put to the test when her husband, also a cop, disappears. It’s a thriller on the surface and underneath…a meditation on the many ways people get lost. Sometimes without going anywhere at all.

“Running Commentary: The Contentious Magazine that Transformed the Jewish Left into the Neoconservative Right,” by Benjamin Balint – I bought this planning to get a sense of period details relevant to 1940s-50′s Jewish intelligentsia, and ended up reading it with care. This is a sleeper; well researched, well written. It’s a close look behind the scenes at a magazine that brought America good stuff by Roth, Malamud, Singer, Arendt, Mailer, and the staff’s gradual move to the Right. This arc of change is a fascinating process and (former Seattleite) Balint does a masterful job explaining how it went down. The cast of characters is worthy of a novel or two. Balint’s four-year stint as an editor at Commentary came in handy.

“Hailey’s War” by Jodi Compton - Very good novel that is much smarter, less predictable, fresher than whatever thriller you last read. Hailey has much of the panache of the blockbuster heroine Lisbeth Salander who will apparently be on the bestseller list for years. She’s a West Point washout, bike messenger and wow, she can kick some butt and think meaningful thoughts at the same time. Loved it.

“Wherever You Go” by Joan Leegant - New novel about three people pursuing their vision of Judaism and Israel today. I disagree with the NYT review on this one. I found the characters and their struggles to be realistic and the push-pull of life as a Jew today to be captured with clarity and feeling. Buy it.

“South of Broad” by Pat Conroy - Someone has hijacked this formerly wonderful writer. A whacked plot and a hero I wanted to slap. Reread any of his other books instead.

In My Father’s House” by Lynn Harris (of blessed memory) — Slightly convincing gay soft porn and a lot of fashion detail exhibited by characters of color. Flaccid plot. You decide.

“Poor Little Bitch Girl” by Jackie Collins - Yes, I am ashamed. But I got it at the library. I did not spend money on it. You probably wouldn’t buy it anyway, right? Don’t.

“Born on a Blue Day: Inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant” by Daniel Tammet - Wonderful, fascinating, occasionally gently funny first-person account. It is impossible to look at other marching-to-different-drummer type humans quite the same way after reading this one. It helps that he’s a Brit on top of it all.

“Marriage and Other Acts of Charity” by Kate Braestrup – Not as good as her previous book, but continues the appealing story of the widowed chaplain who ministers to law enforcement and civilians in the Maine woods. If all clergy were this practical and funny, the world would be a better place.

“The Devlin Diary”  by Christi Phillips – Story moves between Oxford of today and 17th century England. An escapist novel with very good historical grounding and a female protagonist with brains and bravery. The duties and drawbacks of a female doctor in the royal court are considerably more interesting than those of the contemporary scholar of history at stuffy Oxford.

“Dragons” by Michael Connelly – The Detective Harry Bosch series is now DOA. Or should be. This one reads like a movie treatment.

“Split Image: A Jesse Stone Novel” by Robert B. Parker – Trademark terse sentences. Snappy one-liners. Alcoholism. Washed-up cop. Hot private detective. If this mystery book was food, it would be those little oyster crackers that float. Only unsalted. And past their expiration date.

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story if America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson.  See my review for Seattle Times, here.

I’ll spare you the list of books related to lynching and racism that are part of my ongoing writing project. At least for now. Except to say that Professor Paula J. Giddings created a suitable monument for the heroic Ida B. Wells with “Ida: A Sword Among Lions.” Until this book, Wells did not get the credit she deserved for helping to end widespread lynching in the American South.

Review: “The Pain Chronicles” by Melanie Thernstrom

An excerpt from my latest book review in the Seattle Times:

Pain, most of the time, makes sense. It happens for a clear reason: Break a leg and it’s going to hurt.

Even booming migraines and ruptured discs have a kind of logic. That’s “acute pain,” and it warns us something’s wrong. When the broken things abate or mend, the pain quits.

Melanie Thernstrom is concerned with a very different animal: one that lives on long after it has served its purpose and “transforms into the pathology of chronic pain.” That “pathology” bit is important, because this isn’t just pain that lasts longer, it’s the body’s failure to return to normal.

Chronic pain, Thernstrom notes, is like a security alarm that never quits ringing, so itself becomes the problem.

She writes from personal experience, having suffered for years from pain of various intensities and locations, especially of shoulder and neck. Pain that imprisoned her and either baffled doctors or was shrugged off by them.

For the rest of my review in the Seattle Times, click here.

[Full title: "The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing and the Science of Suffering" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 328 pp.]

All the news that fits. And solves.

I’ve only read some of the stories and ads in three sections in Sunday’s New York Times (Book Review, Business and Week in Review) and here’s what I’ve already learned:

Most new fiction is deeply flawed. A five-line letter from Ronald Reagan to his old actress friend Kitty Carlisle Hart is worth $6,100. Whales and dolphins are as smart as we are, and probably nicer. Congo is still the rape capital on earth. Congress still has absolutely no balls when it comes to regulating Wall Street. Our cellphones are built with materials that are obtained at human cost. Author Danielle Steele and legal pot growers in Colorado work harder than the rest of us. Camile Paglia says “female Viagra” pharmaceuticals will not cure the sexual malaise blanketing America.

It seems so clear:

Send sexually disappointed whiners to witness real problems in Congo.  Sell collections of witless Presidential missives as e-books in order to fund the increased cost of cruelty-free cellphone manufacturing. Deploy the hyper-prolific Ms. Steele to the pot-growing operations for one week. Swear in Ms. Paglia, stand her up in front of Congress, and let her spell it out for them: No balls, no glory.

If that last thing doesn’t work, vote for a whale or a dolphin next time.

77 Words: “The Love Letter” by Cathleen Schine and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson

“The Love Letter” by Cathleen Schine (Penguin; Signet 1995) –

Before I get Schine’s latest rave-receiving novel, I figured I’d try this older work. Verdict: Excellent and smart summer escapism. A middle-aged bookseller has an affair with a much-younger man, motivated by a mysterious love letter… oh, yeah, and lust too. Schine nimbly chronicles the flowing thoughts of characters; stream-of-consciousness, but always with a point. Her heroine, Helen, is a force of nature. This is not a book for those intimidated by the unquestioned superiority of women.

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s another 77 Words review:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (Knopf, 2010) -

I bought two hardcover copies… so we didn’t have to share. I had to check on journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and of course, learn the fate of the bewitching Lisbeth Salander. It’s hard to incite envy for a heroine who survives horrible abuse, but Larsson manages. Start with the first book; fall in love with this hacker, martial-arts fighter, steel-cored murderer. Third book is overloaded with Swedish-government-detail. It’s OK to flip through for good parts. Really.

For more “77 Words: Tiny Book Reviews,” click here.

77 Words: “Lean on Pete” by Willy Vlautin

Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin (Harper, 2010) –

At first this writing is simple, straightforward, plain. But soon 15-year-old Charley’s voice has so fully filled the reader’s head that she sees her world as he would. And long after the book’s done, an image or word will bring it back.  Author Willy Vlautin, it seems, is both honest writer and canny hypnotist.  This search for family, sustained by love for an ailing racehorse, has the poetry, tragedy and history of any classical hero’s epic journey.

For more “77 Words: Tiny book reviews,” click here.

LoveGivesMeHope and FmyLife….the soap operas of our time.

LoveGivesMeHope…..the name of this blog would normally make me gag…but once I started looking through it, I admit it, I got sorta hooked. It came about because its creators were burned out on a blog that was just the opposite–Fmylife–all about life’s downers.

Sadly, I probably prefer the latter. More comic material. It doesn’t register as high as “Best of Craigslist” on the procrastination meter, but it’s good.