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

Charming–there’s not much more I can say about this book. It is mostly biographical, following Ms Lamott’s quest to become a writer and shadowing her triumphs and failures. It is also very funny and entertaining enough to make me curious about her other books.

The hints and tips she gives are the same that many other gurus have expounded on over the years: write everyday; write what you know; write the truth; persevere. So, there was nothing that pounced out at me with startling clarity. No ‘tiger’ moment where the logic became so inescapable it grabbed me by the throat and shook me. No new and fantastic insights into method or craft.

That said, this was still a very entertaining read, and definitely one of the more pleasant books I’ve read of this type.

I guess sometimes a writing book doesn’t have to give you the Holy Grail. Sometimes it can just let you know that such an object exists. I think that’s what I’ve taken away from this book. A sense of peace. It’s a good read. If you don’t have a lot of writing books, it’s probably worth getting for the advice it does give. If you have a bunch of writing books already, this is still good for the entertainment value and the chance to see how your peers view the art.

I’m rating this as a beginner book since I think beginners might connect with the way of life of a writer, and the tips that do turn up in here are basic to the art.

Four stars for ease of reading.
Three stars for usefulness of information. (Although some of my friends have argued this should be higher).

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