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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing…

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

by Anne Lamott

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I'd heard about this book for years, but hadn't read it because I generally prefer to read books about writing theory, rather than "writer-on-writing"/writer's journey books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Lamott is serious enough about her craft and herself to bare herself honestly, but not so serious that it's not clear she is often rolling her eyes, or laughing at herself. She confesses to fears, jealousies, and paranoia, that I know many writers experience (and may not admit to) then describes responses to them, many of which, I hope, are meant as a kind of reductio ad absurdum, showing us just how little power we should give such emotions over our lives, lest we end up so destructive.

I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they want to write, but isn't actually getting words down, it will help them decide whether they really want to write or if they are just in love with the idea of "being a (best selling) writer". Lamott shares her experience - as writer, and daughter of writer - of what "being a writer" isn't and what publication doesn't magically bring, and makes it clear that your focus, your passion, your satisfaction must be in the work itself - whether it's published or not.
( )
  Darcy-Conroy | Sep 28, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Bird by Bird was actually a re-read for me. I can't remember the first time I read this (which was sometime in between its publication in 1994 and a few years back), but I liked it well enough then. This time around, in 2015, this book showed its age -- a lot has happened in the writing/publishing industry in the past 21 years. Not only that, I felt that I was seeing Anne Lamott herself differently -- instead of thinking that she provided so much wise, sage advice, this time I saw her as someone who says something, then pauses anticipating laughter or oohs and ahhs. Not sure why my perception has changed -- I have not read anything else of hers that would color my viewpoint. Maybe it's just me.

I wouldn't say reading this book is a waste of anyone's time, but that a second reading is unnecessary even if someone felt that a refreshing-of-memory was needed.. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Aug 31, 2015 |
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I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week.
…getting all of one’s addictions under control is a little like putting an octopus to bed.
...perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.
I understood immediately the thrill of seeing oneself in print. It provides some sort of primal verifications. You are; therefore you exist.
If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don't even bother finishing, that you lose interest or faith in them along the way, it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately.
…if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
I found this book in a library after my life fell apart one rainy day in California. I thought the writing was so clean and simple and straight forward and funny that I almost cried with happiness. Telling the truth is really hard, but writing the truth is almost impossible. After that day, I went back to college for a few decades...so glad I did.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385480016, Paperback)

Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

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"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that hed had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brothers shoulder, and said, Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird. Here, for the first time, is a local edition of the bible of writing guidesa wry, honest,-- down-to-earth book that has never stopped selling since it was first published in the United States in the 1990s. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott, a bestelling novelist and memoirist, distils what shes learned over years of trial and error. Beautifully written, wise, and immensely helpful, this is the book for serious writers and writers-to-be."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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