Bird by Bird. This is a book for writers, but it also a book for those lovers of life. I was lost in it, loving her humorous and honest way of revealing what she has learned in her life and about writing. No writer should miss it. SC

From Publishers Weekly
Lamott’s ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: “Just take it bird by bird.” Lamott’s suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. But she’s even better on psychological questions. She has learned that writing is more rewarding than publication, but that even writing’s rewards may not lead to contentment. As a former “Leona Helmsley of jealousy,” she’s come to will herself past pettiness and to fight writer’s block by living “as if I am dying.” She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that, even if your audience is small, “to have written your version is an honorable thing.”
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Further Thoughts – Plan B. I can only sigh and wish I wrote as eloquently and honestly and wittily as Anne seems to be able to do every time out. If you lack faith, any kind of faith, read this book. SC

From Publishers Weekly
Five years after her bestselling Traveling Mercies, Lamott sends us 24 fresh dispatches from the frontier of her life and her Christian faith. To hear her tell it, neither the state of the country nor the state of her nerves has improved, to say the least. “On my forty-ninth birthday, I decided that all of life is hopeless, and I would eat myself to death. These are dessert days.” Thankfully, her gift for conveying the workings of grace to left-wing, high-strung, beleaguered people like herself is still intact, as is her ability to convey the essence of Christian faith, which she finds not in dogma but in our ability to open our hearts in the midst of our confusion and hopelessness. Most of these pieces were published in other versions on Salon.com, and they cover subjects as disparate as the Bush administration; the death of Lamott’s dog, her mother and a friend; life with a teenager and with her 50-year-old thighs–yet each shows how our hearts and lives can go “from parched to overflow in the blink of an eye.” What is the secret? Lamott makes us laugh at the impossibility of it all; then she assures us that the most profound act we can accomplish on Earth is coming out of the isolation of our minds and giving to one another. Faith is not about how we feel, she shows; it is about how we live. “Don’t worry! Don’t be so anxious. In dark times, give off light. Care for the least of God’s people!” Naturally, some pieces are stronger than others–her wonderful style can come across as a bit mannered, the wrapup a bit forced. But this is quibbling about a book that is better than brilliant. This is that rare kind of book that is like a having a smart, dear, crazy (in the best sense) friend walk next to us in sunlight and in the dark night of the soul.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.