Bird by Bird was the very first Anne Lamott book I ever read and also the one that solidified me as a huge fan. You don't even have to be a creative writing student or a writer for that matter to enjoy her thoughts on the writing process and how she got to where she is now. Highly recommended, along with all of her other books.
I am still in the middle of reading this book, but I'm already glad I've bought it. Miles writes with a candor and sincerity that is sorely lacking in those who profess Christianity the loudest. She comes by her faith completely by accident, then grabs onto it with such ferocity that I'm jealous at times of her yearning for more knowledge about her newfound faith.
Highly recommended for fans of Anne Lamott.
The third in a "series" by Lamott, Grace (Eventually) is compiled of new writings, several writings that were featured on Salon.com, and gives all of us fans a chance to further read Lamott's attempts at grace, forgiving Bush, and learning how to be a parent to a teenager who can drive. She's a bit more mellow in this book than she's been in the past two books, but it's still Lamott through and through. There were certain times while reading this that made me catch my breath and then just as quickly, I was laughing out loud on my bus commute home.
I picked this up on a whim and it didn't disappoint. What I liked best about this book is that it proves to the reader that anyone can help anyone. Rodriguez tells her story of being a hairdresser in the US and finding herself in Afghanistan with a humanitarian group feeling as though she had nothing to offer because she wasn't in the medical field. What she finds she CAN offer though, is a helping hand to the women of Afghanistan who are trying to put their lives back together, who are trying to build sisterhood, and who are trying to make a living. Rodriguez helps, but she also receives a lot of help in return.
I am just now finishing this book, one in the line of many that I've been reading lately about the Middle East, and I can say with certainty that it is one of the best.
It is the life story of Iraq's celebrated exiled poet, Nabeel Yasin, written by Jo Tatchell (a journalist who focuses on the Middle East). The whole book is written in present tense, as though you, the reader, are following Nabeel on his life journey: watching him grow up in a loving household where his mother encourages each of her children to think independently, worrying as his brothers get repeatedly arrested for being enemies of Saddam Hussein, smiling as he marries his sweetheart, Nada, and rejoicing when they welcome their son, Yamam, into the world. They barely escape Iraq with their lives and are unaware at how celebrated (and necessary) his revolutionary poetry is to their fellow Iraqi citizens.
Reading this made me want to read Yasin's poetry and learn more about him. It's a gripping read and gives yet another much needed insight into Iraq and its people.
If you like this, you'll also like Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, and Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat...just to name a few.