4.10.2009

True Stories

From today's Writer's Almanac:
It's the birthday of Anne Lamott, (books by this author) born in San Francisco (1954). She wrote a few novels, but none of them were very successful. Then when she was in her mid-30s, she got pregnant and her boyfriend left her, and she decided to write a book about a year of raising a child. It was called Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year (1993), her first best seller. She went on to write Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994), Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (1999), and many more books. She said: "If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."

I've read two books by Anne Lamott, a fiction book Hard Laughter and the book mentioned in the paragraph- Traveling Mercies. Both are edgy and honest. I appreciated the stories and and questions brought up in Traveling Mercies, as well as LaMott's full-of-grace outlook on life. She gave example after example of how she was shown grace, by God and by people in her life, through her struggles and adventures.

I still have this book, and am torn as to whether to include it in the church library. It was vetoed by the other library helper (that's how I ended up with it, I grabbed it out of the "Free" pile). After reading it, I can see how some might be taken aback by coarse language and hard life situations, but I feel like the book is honest- a real tale of one person's faith journey.

If you've read Traveling Mercies, what do you think? Is it appropriate to include in the library of a diverse church?
And, if you're local- anyone want to borrow it & decide for themself?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll borrow it. I've actually tried to take up reading for myself as a hobby again. If only for 1 chapter a day.
-Heather

Ariah said...

Oh, I would HIGHLY recommend this go in a church library. With out a doubt.
I'm not sure if you guys have any sort of criteria for authors in your library, but my guess is she'd fit most.
I LOVE her writing and highly recommend any of them. I can attest they grew, challenged and encouraged me in my faith.

katydid6 said...

If it's any help in your decision, our church actually had Anne Lamott a speaker a couple of years ago (St. Lukes UMC in Indy). It was a huge success. We also keep copies of her books in the gift shop. If your church isn't ultra-conservative I would think it would be okay. I love her writing as well. "Operating Instructions" is in my top 3 of favorite books of all time.

Joanna said...

Ariah & katy- Our church isn't super-conservative at all, in fact it's probably one of the more progressive churches in the area. The other librarian, however, IS fairly conservative and already vetoed this book once. I might go back & talk to her about it, since I'm pretty sure the church bookstore has had Lamott's books in the past. Typically if she vetoes a book, if I read it then give an informed argument for it, it will be included.

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