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
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.
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.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
Please be informed that "Bird by Bird" actually doesn't contain much instruction on writing. It's a series of stories that are by turns inspirational, by turns darned funny. You won't get many tools here, but you will see what it's like to bounce back after you've written your hair out... and have failed... yet again (her book, "Rosie"). As a writer, it's good to know that you can survive the death of a beloved concept and come back stronger than ever.
It's about handling writing while handling life in all its (sometimes) horrific glory, horrific ennui. Her story about her son and his innocent yet earnest use of profanity pretty much sums up the details about life as we experience it.
As long as you're not expecting a step-by-step, how-to, book, this shows a wonderful journey that's sure to please, if not flat-out inspire.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
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.
This book is so wonderful. I've read it in paperback but I love listening to it when I'm in the car too. It's a huge boost when I'm struggling with my own writing to listen to books written by successful authors.
This book is really great for the heart and for those who need to be cheered up and coached into opening up and getting back to the writing. it does not provide techniques for academic writing. I still listened to it every day during my final week and it made me laugh and cry!
It has so many wonderful little anecdotes that I will remember.
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.
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 am a huge fan of Anne Lamott. Though I am not religious, ever since I discovered her writing I have felt that I would join a church where she was the pastor, to hear her beautiful, unique and often humorous take on the world. Bird by Bird is as much about life as it is about writing and there are too many good quotes to recite here.
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.
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