A New York Times best-selling author of both fiction and nonfiction, Anne Lamott was also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. As much a guide to writing as an exploration of the emotional challenges of being a writer, Bird by Bird offers a candid and often humorous look at how to tackle these varied obstacles.
©1994 Anne Lamott (P)2013 Recorded Books
“Lamott’s … guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight.”—Publishers Weekly
After a friend read Lamott's humorous passage to me about elementary school lunchroom protocols, I had to buy this book. I laughed aloud all the way through it and learned many useful insights for improving my writing (e.g., writing a "shitty first draft" as a way of overcoming the perfectionism that besieges most writers when they sit down to write).
Lamott also opens a window to her own soul, sharing a wide swath of experiences to include how the passing of her father (also an author) affected her development as a writer. These personal sections are refreshingly non-melodramatic. Rather, the reader feels intimately connected with Lamott. The effect is one of trust in who she is and what she says.
It was funny in many places but it was almost more biographical or like a collection of musings from Facebook or a blog. It wasn't really a book on how to write better. She talked about all the obstacles that a writer runs into, personal experience with her publishing company, jealousy of other writing friends who are publishing more books than her, students from her class that ask (on the first day) how they can get published right away, etc. I enjoyed it but it wasn't what I had originally hoped it would be.
Since this was a non fiction book, there was no memorable "ending."
She was actually wonderful. A clear, witty, funny narrator. I will look her up and see what else she can read.
Musings of a Writer
If you want to listen to a lighthearted book about being a writer, get this and and enjoy.
If you want a book on how to actually BE a better writer, I highly recommend:
1). On Writing by Sol Stein. Incredible advice and never a dull moment. The narrator, Christopher Lane, is awesome and keeps your attention throughout the entire book.
2.) On Writing by Stephen King - The first half is autobiographical and then he gets down to business talking about real writing advice.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Steinbeck
This little book sings and the narrator carries the tune so sweetly. Yes, a lot of this optimism and outlook and pointers and warnings you've heard in other sermons.
But, if you are a writer or want to be one, Ms. Lamott's virtuosic LP can be viewed as a Best of Little Birds (anecdotes, experience and hope). Something you can pop in to put you on the right track, get you unstuck and, in all cases, on to making magic.
The narrator at times seems too perky and overly caffeinated, but see her with dimples and you'll just want to bust through your speakers, squeeze her cheeks, lightly tap her button nose and kiss her forehead.
I highly recommend this audiobook.
If you write or want to, read it. If you are any kind of creative, read it & transpose "writing," with painting, quilting, composing, campaigning, pearl diving, etc.
Not only is this the best book on writing I've ever read it's in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Anne Lamott doesn't just give excellent advice on writing but captures the emotional roller-coaster that is the writing life. I often listen to this book rewind the beginning and start it all over again.
Although I have not seen the print version, this book held my attention and motivated me to write.
It was written with a wonderful sense of humor, feeling, purpose and so very motivating. Ms. Lamott very much relates to her readers. It felt great to laugh out loud several times. I could relate to the writer's block frustrations and the experiences shared.
The author shares her experiences, her advice and humor. It's apparent she knows how to reach out and pull her audience right into her audio classroom, so to speak. I thought Ms. Bennett did a fabulous job as I didn't feel like Walter Kronkite was telling a news story. It seemed that Ms. Bennett related to the content fabulously.
What hits home is the idea that we all come up with all sorts of reasons we should or could be doing something else instead of taking the time to write. It's nice to know that it's natural to have these distractions try to rob us of our writing time. Anne Lamott explains a lot and provides a sense of freedom and encouragement to write. She totally convinced me that the enjoyment is in writing and expressing and not being preoccupied with how others write, or how quick one can get published. The joy is in creating the art. I will listen to this whenever I need inspiration. I truly loved it.
This may seem like a lengthy review but the book was such an inspiration that I don't think there are enough descriptives to do it the justice it deserves. It was a better experience for me than watching a "feel good" movie. I'm so glad Ms. Lamott wrote this to share with everyone who is interested enough in their writing. This book has definitely been worth the while.
A friend of mine gave me this book maybe 10 years ago...never read it. Believing it is never to late and hoping listening would satisfy the soul...I listened and my heart was torn open. Inch by inch I felt her words come alive and bring more life to my already well lived years. A must read for anyone who loves to read, think, feel and grow.
I think I wore my first copy out reading and rereading it. I listened to the Audible version this time and loved it just as much. I believe Susan Bennett is the perfect reader for Bird by Bird - excellent job, and the time flew by.
I loved Ms Lamont's frank honesty. Her quips and stories of life opened a world of learning that snuck up on me. At times, I laughed out loud as I was drawn further into the lines of "Bird by Bird." I highly recommend this book to aspiring writers as well as to any one who enjoys the stories of life.
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