Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Anchor Books a division of Random House

Rating: 8+
Readability: I thought it was very captivating.
Impact: I'm hoping it will greatly improve my writing.

Read it Again: Yes!
Recommend It: See review....

What to Expect

Anne Lamott gives priceless advice on the craft and life of a writer in a funny, sometimes cynical, manner.

My Squib

I've heard a lot of people rave about this book. I bought it in August, but I've been saving it.
On Tuesday I packed it in my computer bag, checked in at the PDX airport, climbed into a monstrous paper-towel tube, became airborne, and read for 5 hours strait.

There were a million awesome things about this book. I loved her style, most of her cynical humor, her perspective on writing and life, and all the writer's wisdom she had to offer. I certainly think it is an amazing (almost a must read) book for aspiring writers. Even if your not a writer, you'll enjoy it.

However, some of her world view is plain messed up. The book is not completely clean so be warned. She comes across as a bitter (almost anti-authority) and angry, and she's quite proud of it. She certainly doesn't seem to be interested in maturity.

So, it's an amazing book. Many of the chapters could stand alone beautifully. But keep your eyes open to when her odd outlook sneaks in.

I loved most of it. I'll be reading it again at a slower pace in a year or so. :-)
It has a lot to learn from and is an excellent encouragement and motivator.

Plus, the format of this book and the texture of the cover are yummy.

Thank you to all those who kept recommending it to me!

From the Book

Plot grows out of character. If you focus on who the people in your story are, if you sit and write about two people you know and are getting to know better day by day, something is bound to happen."

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.

"So why our writing matter again?" they ask.
Because of spirit, I say. Because of heart.
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.
We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on the ship.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


Lydia Kang said...

Thanks for this review. I've heard about this book but never picked it up. I'm tempted to get it now, if my book budget will make room soon!

kee said...

I think I would really love it!!!

Jubilant Wife said...

Thanks for reviewing it! I'd never heard about it.