Book Review – Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird

Book 21 was one of those books I just felt like I should probably read once I heard about it. At one point, someone told that if I wanted to be a writer, I had to be a reader. I didn’t like reading, but I forced myself to get into it. Now, I’m a reader, and I think I still want to be a writer, but I have to remind myself that some times. Book 21 was, for me, a reminder.

Book 21:
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott

Language/Writing, Nonfiction, Memoir

September 1995

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is essentially a lecture-style writing class in book form. Lamott recounts moments from her own writing experience as well as her personal life and puts them into bite-sized suggestions for how be a writer – or, rather, how to stay a writer.

Favorite Quote(s):

“The issue now is how to take care of one another. Some of us are interested in any light you might be able to shed on this, and we will pay a great deal extra if you can make us laugh about it. For some of us, good books and beautiful writing are the ultimate solace, even more comforting than exquisite food…”

“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.”

– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Awards (based upon my brief research):
None noted.


My Overall Rating:
4 – While I was expecting this book to be more memoir-like, it was much heavier on the instructions on writing. Initially, I struggled with this. But about halfway through, I realized how beautiful it was that someone could write a book about craft that was so inspiring. When I removed the vibe that the book is only about writing, my rating jumped up. In Bird by Bird, Lamott is saying, “You probably have a craft. And you should do it. And it will be hard. But we’re called to create. Go. Create.”

That is a beautiful message. While I love to write, myself, I think this underlying message is important for everyone to hear. Plus, it helps that Lamott weaves in funny stories/experiences and a few that tug on your heartstrings, too.

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