Lamott - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott
Anchor Books
Nonfiction, Writing
****

DESCRIPTION: The author, a published novelist and writing instructor, offers tips on how to write, when to write, what to write, and - most importantly - why to write, using anecdotes and stories from her own life to augment lessons.

REVIEW: This should have been a top-mark book, but it fell short. Part of its charm is Lamott's personal touch. That's also part of the problem. While she does indeed have some valuable advice and offers insightful truths about the writer's mind, her personal stories and tangents come to occupy too much page space. These anecdotes seemed to have less and less to do with writing as the book progressed, and I started feeling like I was trapped in a dinner-party conversation with someone who won't stop talking about themselves. Maybe it's because she succeeds in portraying herself so well that I clipped this a point. While I can't argue with much of her advice, I don't think I'd like her very much in person. Since she insisted on making herself such a central focus of the book, the fact that I wasn't altogether keen on her personality affects my perception of it.

You might also enjoy:
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The Seven Moments In Storytelling That Really Matter (Christian Blake, Writing - Recurring elements in successful stories)
Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life (Terry Brooks, Writing - Anecdotes and practical advice for writers)
How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) (Julia Cameron, Art - Common obstacles we place to our own creativity)
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Writing Down the Bones (Natalie Goldberg, Writing - How and why to write)
Who's... (oops!) Whose Grammar Book is This, Anyway? (C. Edward Good, Grammar - Because you can't write clearly if you don't know something about it)
Reflections (Diana Wynne Jones, Nonfiction - A poshumous collection of essays and articles by the noted author)
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Crawford Kilian, Writing - How to write sci-fi/fantasy stories that sell)
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly (Gail Carson Levine, YA Writing - Great advice and inspiration for writers of all ages)
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The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing (Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King, Writing - How to write a crime story)
A Whack on the Side of the Head (Roger Van Oech, Creativity - Helpful ways to break old thought patterns)
Wonderbook (Jeff Vandermeer, Nonfiction - An imaginative, illustrated guide to writing)

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