Stand-out Author: Anne Lamott

I’m doing a series featuring authors whose books were 2012 Sonderbooks Stand-outs who have appeared on my lists in the past. It turns out a lot of names turn up multiple times. It’s not that I’m biased — it’s that these people write wonderful books.

Anne Lamott is today’s featured author, with 5 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, all Nonfiction. (And she’s the first Nonfiction author I’m featuring.) I find her interesting, because I first discovered her through her classic on writing, Bird by Bird, long before I started writing Sonderbooks. Over the years, she began writing about faith about the same time I became a lot less rigid in my beliefs. So we were coming from opposite directions, but we meet in a place where her books on faith exactly speak to my heart.

I read it before I ever wrote Sonderbooks, but Bird by Bird was still a 2004 Sonderbooks Stand-out, because I did a category for Nonfiction Old Favorites, and it was #3.

2005 was the year I first read a book by her on faith, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I liked it so much, it was #1 in the “Musings” category of my 2005 Sonderbooks Stand-outs. Reading some of the quotations I selected, I still love them! Like these:

Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours. Being awake is the one real fly in the ointment—but it is also when solutions come to us.

But Jesus kept harping on forgiveness and loving ones enemies, so I decided to try. Why couldn’t Jesus command us to obsess about everything, to try to control and manipulate people, to try not to breathe at all, or to pay attention, stomp away to brood when people annoy us, and then eat a big bag of Hershey’s Kisses in bed?

In my 2007 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, that year when (Alas!) I didn’t get everything reviewed, her book Grace (Eventually) was #3 in Christian Nonfiction.

And then, of course this year she had not one but two 2012 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, #2 in Nonfiction: Personal Stories, Some Assembly Required, a wonderful journal of her grandson’s first year, which goes well with the book I read years ago about her son’s first year. (HOW did her son and my son grow up so fast?)

And she also had another #1 choice, in Other Nonfiction: That wonderful book on prayer, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. This one’s quick reading, but will make you laugh and think and pray. Here’s another little snippet:

Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.

There you have it, another Favorite Author. Her books make me look at the world with a little more humor, love, and joy.

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