In the course of a long and eventful life, author Doris Lessing was many things.
She was a mother — and a self-described "house mother" for a procession of starving artists, writers and political refugees. She was a refugee herself, from bourgeois respectability in 1940s Rhodesia. She was a campaigner against racism, a lover, an ardent communist, and a serial rescuer of cats.
It's a funny thing to read a book and realize two things simultaneously. One: some people you know, whose taste you trust, will really love it. Two: some people you know, whose opinions you value, will want to toss it across the room.
For me, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is a great example. He's one of the biggest authors in the world, a global bestseller. Millions of people love that guy, myself included. But I also know many people, readers and writers, who think he's a total sham.
On Wednesday, diplomats from the United States and Iran — along with five other world powers — go back to Geneva and the negotiating table. They'll be discussing a possible deal to limit Iran's controversial nuclear program, which has sparked international tensions for a decade.
The previous meeting between Iran and the five permanent Security Council members (Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S.) plus Germany failed to produce an agreement.
Since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last week, the largest Filipino community in America has come together to grieve and to help.
Friday night, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, members of Long Beach's Filipino community gathered at Grace United Methodist Church to hold a vigil for typhoon victims. One by one, attendees came to the microphone and named people who died or remain lost in the storm.