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[April 10, 1954 - ]
Hard Laughter (1979)
Anne Lamott's poignant first novel, reissued in
an attractive new edition.
Writer (and sometime housecleaner) Jennifer is twenty-three when her
beloved father, Wallace, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. This
catastrophic discovery sets off Anne Lamott's unexpectedly sweet and
funny first novel, which is made dramatic not so much by Wallace's
illness as by the emotional wake it sweeps under Jen and her brothers,
self-contained Ben and feckless, lovable Randy. With characteristic
affection and accuracy, Lamott sketches this offbeat family and their
nearest and dearest as they draw ever closer in the intimacy Jen
prizes "among the other estimable things: good music, good hard
laughter, good sex, good industry, and good books."
In Anne Lamott’s wise and witty novel,
the growing pains of motherhood are portrayed with rare humor and
honesty. If Elizabeth Ferguson had her way, she’d spend her days
savoring good books, cooking great meals, and waiting for the love of
her life to walk in the door. But it’s not a man she’s waiting for,
it’s her daughter, Rosie — her wild-haired, smart-mouthed, and
wise-beyond-her-years alter ego. With Rosie around, the days aren’t
quite so long, but Elizabeth can’t keep the realities of the world at
bay, and try as she might, she can’t shield Rosie from its dangers or
mysteries. As Rosie grows older and more curious, Elizabeth must find
a way to nurture her extraordinary daughter — even if it means
growing up herself.
Joe Jones is Anne Lamott’s raucous novel of lives gathered around
Jessie’s Cafe, “a restaurant from another era, the sort of broken-down
waterfront dive one might expect to find in Steinbeck or Saroyan.”
Jessie, “thin, stooped and gorgeous at seventy-nine,” inherited the
cafe years before and it has become home to a remarkable family of
characters: Louise, the cook and vortex, “sexy and sweet, somewhere on
the cusp between curvaceous and fat”; Joe, devoted and unfaithful;
Willie, Jessie’s gay grandson, (“I thought he just had good posture,”
said Jessie); Georgia, an empress dowager who never speaks; and a
dozen others all living together in the sweet everyday. Lamott’s rich
and timeless themes are also here: love and loyalty, loss and
recovery, staying on and staying together, the power of humor to heal
and to bind. Out of print for fifteen years, Joe Jones is a novel of
hilarity and joy.
Joe Jones (1985)
With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne
Lamott takes on the barrage of dislocating changes that shook the
Sixties. Leading us through the wake of these changes is Nanny
Goodman, one small girl living in Marin County, California.
All New People (1989)
A half-adult child among often childish adults, Nanny grows up with
two spectacularly odd parents-a writer father and a mother who is "a
constant source of material." As she moves into her adolescence, so,
it seems, does America. While grappling with her own coming-of-age,
Nanny witnesses an entire culture's descent into drugs, the mass
exodus of fathers from her town, and rapid real-estate and
technological development that foreshadow a drastically different
In All New People, Anne Lamott works a special
magic, transforming failure into forgiveness and illuminating the
power of love to redeem us.
Crooked Little Heart (1997)
Rosie Ferguson, in the first bloom of
young womanhood, is obsessed with tournament tennis. Her mother is a
recovering alcoholic still grieving the death of her first husband;
her stepfather, a struggling writer, is wrestling with his own demons.
And now Rosie finds that her athletic gifts, once a source of triumph
and escape, place her in peril, as a shadowy man who stalks her from
the bleachers seems to be developing an obsession of his own.
Crooked Little Heart asks big questions in intimate ways: What
keeps a family together? What are the small heartbreaks that tear at
the fabric of our lives? What happens to grief when it goes
underground? And what road must we walk with our flawed and crooked
Brilliantly written, inhabited by superbly realized characters, funny
and human and wonderfully suspenseful, Crooked Little Heart is
Anne Lamott writing at the peak of her considerable powers.
Blue Shoe (2002)
A funny, warm, and wise novel about family and forgiveness.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten
years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written
that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were
out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table
close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened
books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then
my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's
shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by
Bird by Bird
Annie (VHS), a
by Freida Lee Mock of American Film Foundation.
It’s not like she’s the only woman to ever have a baby. At
thirty-five. On her own. But Anne Lamott makes it all fresh in her
now-classic account of how she and her son and numerous friends and
neighbors and some strangers survived and thrived in that all
important first year. From finding out that her baby is a boy (and
getting used to the idea) to finding out that her best friend and
greatest supporter Pam will die of cancer (and not getting used to
that idea), with a generous amount of wit and faith (but very little
piousness), Lamott narrates the great and small events that make up a
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (1999)
Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers
she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you,
thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is
"Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of
Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty
Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject
for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by
Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that
explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith
that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The
people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a
favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and
the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar.
And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as
well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same
candor, insight, and tenderness.
Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears
her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came
to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she
puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a
series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and
very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail
how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest
part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith (2005)
With Anne Lamott's trademark wisdom,
humor and honesty, Plan B is a spiritual antidote to anxiety
and despair in our increasingly fraught times. This New York Times
bestseller picks up where Traveling Mercies left off.
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
The sharp, funny, and heartfelt follow-up to her bestselling Plan B,
Anne Lamott's newest collection is a personal exploration of the faith
and grace all around us.
In Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, Lamott examines the
ways we're caught in life's most daunting predicaments: love,
mothering, work, politics, and maybe toughest of all, evolving from
who we are to who we were meant to be. This is a complicated process
for most of us, and Lamott turns her wit and honesty inward to
describe her own intimate, bumpy, and unconventional road to grace and
"I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things," she
writes in one of her essays, "that delicate silver bells would ring to
announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on
the floor, in silence, in the dark."
Whether she's writing about her unsuccessful efforts to get her money
back from an obstinate carpet salesman, grappling with the tectonic
shifts in her relationship with her son as he matures, trying to
maintain her faith and humor during politically challenging times, or
helping a close friend die with dignity, Lamott seeks out both the
divinity and the humanity in herself and everything around her.
Throughout these essays, she writes of her struggle to find the
essence of her faith, which she uncovers in the unlikeliest places. By
turns insightful and hilarious, pointed and poignant, Grace
(Eventually) is Anne Lamott at her perceptive and irreverent best.
Between Mothers and Sons: Women Writers Talk about Having Sons and Raising Men
(1999), Patricia Stevens, ed.
Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century
(2000) by Marianne Williamson
In the realm of highest possibilities, what could America look like in 50
years? What kinds of changes would have to occur in order for that to
happen? How can an individual or an institution best contribute to such
change? And what is the deeper story trying to emerge within this nation
and the world?
Best-selling author Marianne
Williamson posed these questions to nearly 40
of her well-known contemporaries, inviting them to open their imaginations
to all the possibilities that could exist. Imagine is their collective
response: a powerful, provocative, and compelling vision of a better
America and a prescriptive call to action for significant positive change.
Between the covers of Imagine, an unprecedented assembly
of America's foremost visionaries, academics, activists, and spiritual
leaders -- including Anne Lamott,
Neale Donald Walsch,
Sarah Ban Breathnach, and
Thomas Moore -- addresses issues of personal, internal transformation as well
as institutional, external change, recognizing that the internal and
external are not separate but intertwined, that we must find peace
within ourselves before we can change the world around us.
Today, America is plagued by darkness, home to a plethora of problems
and millions of troubled souls. Imagine moves beyond the present, aiming
a shining beacon of light on a brighter tomorrow.
All author royalties from the sales of this book will be donated to the
Global Renaissance Alliance,
a nonprofit organization dedicated to imagining and working toward a
better world for our children and our children's children.
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