Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bird by Bird






















No, this isn’t a blog about our feathered friends. Instead, it’s a review of a book published by Anne Lamott back in 1994.

Okay, maybe I’m not so up to date on my reading material. But after hearing countless writer friends rave about Lamott’s “Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, I figured the time had come for me to dive in.

I’m so glad I did. The book is filled with observations on writing and life’s realities that come straight from the heart, with a liberal sprinkling of humor so irresistible, that I couldn’t put it down.

Fear not, you don’t need to be a writer to enjoy this book. All that’s necessary is that you enjoy reading good writing. If you, like me, are the slightest bit neurotic about life, I promise you’ll find thoughts or scenarios that sound eerily familiar.

Lamott’s keen ability to describe things we’ve all felt at some point in time is spot on, such as her thoughts about the success of others:  "...Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading.  And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older, (b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and (c) using it as material". 

This funny, revealing, and encouraging work will not only aid your writing process, it will help you read more critically and with greater appreciation. I loved the book enough to put my name on the inside  front cover.

And that makes it a keeper.

26 comments:

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Oh! Thanks for the heads up on the good book! I love adding to my "must read" list! thanks, too, for noticing my blog was misbehaving. I don't know what the problem was, but it seems to be working now. Not that I've posted anything...

Sallie said...

Dawn has this book. She was assigned it in school and has kept it ever since. Great read.

BECKY said...

Hi Pat. I'm so glad you not only read this book, but that you bought it, so it really is a keeper! It's one of my 2 or 3 that I pick up and read just a few pages of, every now and then, when I need a little pick-me-up concerning my writing! It really is a strange title, though, and I think that might be what keeps a lot of people from even giving it a try! Yes, she explains it in the book, but still..."bird by bird"?!

Benny and Lily said...

Maybe momma could read it to us. Sounds good
Benny & Lily

Maggie Mae said...

I thinks my mom would be interested in this book too. :)

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

gonna have to add that to my wishlist!

Pup Fan said...

I'm going to add this to my list... thanks for the recommendation!

little princess Luna~ said...

thank you for the review~! :)

xo,
luna

Mr. Pip said...

My mom says this is a great book. She read it quite a few years ago, but remembers it very well!

Your pal, PIp

Linda O'Connell said...

Pat,
This is a great book. Today I finished her other book Grace, Eventually. WOW! Is that a powerful book. I couldn't put it down. You should check it out.

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Furry interesting!

Mom loved how woo knew it was a keeper!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

RYKER said...

Thanks, mom said she would give it a read!

Dip-Dip and The Bridge said...

That looks very interesting, we love old books.
Wags, Dip Bridge and Elliot xx

Terri Tiffany said...

It sounds wonderful! This is the second blog in a row where I've read about her:)

Judy said...

I've been trying to get my hands on that very book for over a year. Every time I go to the library, it is checked out--guess that says something, huh? I'll keep trying!

animal lover, quilt lover said...

Hi Pat,
I am not a friend of words! You probably aready know that. I am un-educated!! I am dyslexic and when I went to school they didn't know what was wrong with kids like me. We were just dumb!! My own Mother gave up on me!! I have not read a book since I got the computer. I am so hooked on the blogs and the friends I make with this wonderful machine!!!! I am so happy I found you!!! You are perfect fo me. I will not buy the book but I will look for it in the library. Thanks for the heads up!!!
XXOO, Fern

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hi Pat! A second Anne Lamott book to request from the library! How does this stack up to Stephen King's "On Writing" (my all time fave book on writing)? I'll look forward to diving in. Thanks!

irishoma said...

Hi Pat,
Very well put.
Donna V.
http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com

An English Shepherd said...

Sounds like an interesting book

Wizz :-)

Tammy said...

I've heard nothing but raves about this book! Thanks for reminding me!

The Strawberry Mallard said...

Oh I love her work......brought one of her bookS here with me to delve into on the beach!

Life with 5 dogs said...

We are adding this to the must read list! I wish I had more time to read. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Twinkietinydog said...

I loved your pick for 6 Word Winner and I honestly loved the contest. Sorry I bailed on you. As for the book you mentioned, it's one of my favorites along with Steven Kings "On Writing." If you haven't read that one, I highly recommend it.
Glad to see all is well :)
Twinkie

Lynn said...

I read Bird by Bird when it first came out - and Stephen King's On Writing when it first came out. I just reread Stephen King's On Writing and enjoyed it so much more the second time around. Guess I'll need to do the same with Bird by Bird...then I'll report back, but can't say when since my reading list is as long than my writing list.

Life With Dogs said...

Sounds like a winner from here. I may have tome to get to it by say...2012. :)

ocmist said...

Thanks for giving me another book to consider. I read a lot, just finished a series, and have one my friend just sent me. It is by Karen Kingsbury, and I've been reading quite a few of her books lately. They are awesome!