I was given this book as part of the book swap, and it was the perfect read for me. In fact, I have written a thousand words a day the last several days which I owe in part to reading this.
Mostly what I enjoyed was the support the author provides writers in the sense that she makes sure writers understand it is perfectly Okay to feel crazy, worthless, and so on. I really appreciated hearing this from the perspective of a successful writer.
I must critique her language, though. This might be a consequence of me reading the book in its entirety instead of spacing this out while reading something else. I generally read one book at a time, but I think this may be one that is not meant for this approach. I say this because her language can start to feel very heavy and wordy at times. There is such a volume of adjectives about self-loathing and deprecation that may read in a more ironic way if breaking up the reading over a longer period of time.
I took some time to read about the author and her personal life to get some context from which this level of denigration comes, and that was helpful. I get it, I just am honestly saying it is a little much for me in a book about writing. Overall, regardless, I found that this book brought me back to basics, and it came to me at a wonderful time in my writing life.
I’d rate this book 3.5/5
2 comments on “Book #2: Bird by Bird”
That’s so interesting! I remember how exhausted I’d feel after reading Bird by Bird–inspired, yes, but also wiped out by Lamott’s almost manic prose style and wordiness. But I keep her ideas about shitty first drafts (and second and third, in my case!) and the one-inch picture frame with me when I’m writing, and they are both incredibly helpful in just getting the words down on the page. I’m really glad the book came to you (from guess who?) at an opportune time in your writing life!
Nadia thank you so much for the book!!! It really did help me out so much- I’ve been all blocked up with my writing and now I think I at least can approach it without a continual fear of absolute failure.
But I am also relieved to hear that you experienced exhaustion while reading this – I think she is quite witty, but I thought it was ironic to read her work telling us to be clean and refined, and not self indulgent when I found this book to be all these things to some degree- maybe that’s the point!