©1999 Natalie Goldberg; (P) Sounds True
As someone who already writes on a regular basis, I didn't get much out of this book. I can see how it might work as a motivator for someone who is interested in journaling, and who hasn't tried it. The author draws a lot on a relationship with a yoga teacher, which was obviously very important to her own writing process, but a lot of which has limited value to the average listener. The quality of audio left something to be desired as well.
There's a sweet, gentle reflection in her voice as she reads Writing Down the Bones, fourteen years later. From a different perspective she is able to connect with the listener, answer questions of why she continues to write, how she has grown as a writer since the success of the book, and tell that she became depressed after Writing Down the Bones was published. With as much insight and hindsight, Natalie, at age 50, offers new advice at the end of each chapter, discusses how her opinions have changed and matured, and shares fresh points of view that an established writer, or someone new to the art, will be surely gain from.
This is Natalie reading her 1st book years and years later. She reads the chapter and then reflects on anything she has learned since or wants to add 15 years later. This is a special special edition!!!! To hear her actually speak is great but the "update in time adds much".
The book is fabulous, and the author's 15-years-later commentary just adds to the great experience. It feels like you're sitting with an old friend who's giving you life advice and encouraging you personally.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is the audio quality. So let me revise slightly: It feels like your'e sitting with an old friend who is whispering words of personal encouragement into a brown paper bag.
This book is the best I've read from Audible since I've become a member. The audio itself is a little sketchy...I believe it wasn't recorded in the same way as most books. But none of that matters, just turn the radio up higher, and on headphones, you don't even notice it.
Natalie Goldberg is a treasure. Her accented style of speaking makes the reading sound cozy, like you are getting stories from a neighbor or friend. And if you don't want to write, this book is still immensely enjoyable and pleasurable. I don't know if it has to do with Natalie's practice of Zen Buddhism, but her speech is slow and measured, without being monotonous. Everything is explained, you are never left to wonder. The entire effect made me feel peaceful whenever I listened. And it's a good long book....I can't remember exactly, but I'm thinking in the realm of 5 hours. I wish it had gone on longer.
This is an enjoyable selection if you are interested in trying to get yourself in the writing mood. Getting into the mood is not what I needed. Hence, for myself, it lacks instructional nuts and bolts I expected. Heavy on personal thoughts and feelings about writing and skinny on methods.
Writing Down the Bones is one of the five books I'd take with me to a desert island. The other four would have to be blank notebooks, because this book will keep you writing every time you listen to it. I read the book a few years ago, but I like to listen to the audio when I'm feeling down about my writing. It keeps me going. I appreciated Goldberg's reading. It was nice to hear her "New York Jewish accent ... naging [me] to write" (paraphrased from the introduction). I love the authenticity of Goldberg's writing, but her reading adds a lot. It is not a professional reading, but that's whats so great about it. It is endearing and real. It shows that real people like you and me are writing in cafes all over the America. If you have never read this book be prepared to have your life changed. My only regret was the poor audio quality. I have heard this recording before, but it never sounded so awful. It is still worth it to carry it around in your iPod, but I wish the sound was better. The book and the reading get five stars, but the recording only gets three. Even so, it is worth the download.
The writing process is far more than sitting at a desk and putting words down on paper. It is that, but it's also living a life open to the world around you and filtering experiences through a writer's lens.
If you're looking for a book that will hold your hand and walk you through the process of writing a bestseller, this is not your book. However, if writing is your passion and you want to get a glimpse of what one particular writer's life can be, this is an excellent guide.
Because the book was written early in Natalie's career as a writer, she has gone back over the chapters with some reflection. As a listener to this unabridged version you'll get a bonus review by the author of each chapter where she explores her thoughts and feelings on the subjects now.
Understand there are many portions of this book that will different writers at different stages. For me personally, this book allowed me to let go of the idea that commercial success equals being a successful writer. Journalling to discover something new, writing short fiction for obscure magazines, hammering out bad poetry, these things all contribute to the process.
So does spending time with friends and family, practicing yoga, running in the park, petting my cat, etc.. All of life contributes and Natalie does a great job of illustrating that in this very open, very accessible book.
Nat is a great writer and I really like her but she is the worst narrator on Audible! I can't understand why she can't read her own book! Gee! Did she even listen to herself after recording this!
Since taking my first creative writing class in 2008 the pleasure I used to get from reading has been greatly reduced. I notice things I never noticed before. That said, I think I rate books pretty generously. Anyone who actually manages to write a whole book and then get it published deserves an extra star.
This recorded book, narrated by the author, is especially illuminating and enjoyable because it's a type of summing up for Natalie Goldberg. She wrote the book years ago and now, as she is narrating, she comments on what she'd written then and how she sees it now, at the end of each chapter. She's funny and pithy and honest and she kept me listening all the way through even though the sound was particularly tinny and annoying. Maybe it was my device but I haven't had the same problem with any other books I've downloaded.
It feels strange saying that I feel 'ultimately disappointed' with a book that contains a lot of good information. However, I know that only because I have read the book previously.
What was disappointing was the audio quality. The maximum available was level 2 which was described as 'good', but actually sounded like Natalie Goldberg was talking from several feet below the surface of a swimming pool. I have - generally - a good quality of hearing, but I found the quality to be awful, which is a shame. Still, I now know not risk purchasing anything with an audio quality of less than a 3, but to preferably stick with the 4's. I'll look upon it as part of my Audible learning curve.
Best avoided, but only on account of the audio quality.
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