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Anne Lamott

4 Memoirs that separate mothering and smothering

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With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, there’s no better time to read about the often ambivalent relationships between mothers and daughters. There’s a growing shelf of autobiographies dwelling on the complexities of the mother-child bond. Below we’ve chosen four terrific memoirs that illuminate that fine line between mothering and smothering. The Year My Mother Came Back, by Alice Eve Cohen (2015) There’s gentle magic realism in this mother-daughter memoir. The year of the title has two meanings: first was the last year of Louise Cohen’s life, when she and Alice reached a détente in their tense relationship. But then, nearly three decades later, Louise kept “coming back” during the difficult year that forms the kernel of the memoir—a year…

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Happy Birthday, Anne Lamott!

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There’s no denying it—I adore Anne Lamott. While we’ve had the pleasure of featuring her interview with Melissa Duclos here on BookTrib, I’ve never met her in person. So why do I, and thousands of my fellow fans, feel like she’s a close personal friend? Maybe it’s because of the courageous way she bares her vulnerable heart and doesn’t shy away from revealing her personal flaws. She’s a feisty, loving, occasionally cranky, straight-shooter with an enormous spiritual heart. Her books Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird have become manuals for new parents and writers respectively. For new and old friends, here are a few of our favorite nuggets of Lamott goodness. So Happy Birthday, Anne! Here’s to many more.  …

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Anne Lamott discusses grief and forgiveness in Small Victories

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Anne Lamott has become known for her ability to write about such diverse topics as becoming a single mother after recovering from addiction, her son as a teenaged father, the craft of writing, and her faith with openness, grace and self-deprecating humor. In the 35 years since her first book was published, Lamott—a winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to California’s Hall of Fame—has become one of America’s most beloved and celebrated writers. Her newest book, a collection of essays titled Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (Riverhead, 2014) offers a message of hope and stories of triumph over hardship. BookTrib sat down with Lamott recently to discuss her views on the forgiveness and grief, which underscore…

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Oh, baby, what a shower gift! Honest books for expectant mothers

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Crib sheets. Burp cloths. Receiving blankets. Diapers. These are useful items, for sure, but not exactly inspiring on the subject of motherhood. If you’re shopping for a baby shower, consider giving a gift that will provide the expectant mother a bit of comfort and insight as she approaches this major life change: a book. The recommendations we’ve included below are perfect for any mother looking for some helpful perspective on her little bundle of joy. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott (Pantheon) Novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott captures her experiences as a single mother and recovering alcoholic during her son’s first year of life in a memoir that is both poignant and hilarious. Not…

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How will YOU celebrate National Library Week?

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April 13th marks the first day of National Library Week, a celebration sponsored by the American Library Association that has been observed since 1958. The week-long celebration is aimed at promoting the use and support of libraries. According to the “State of America’s Libraries Report” released last year during National Library Week, 53% of Americans reported visiting a library or book mobile in the past year. Whether you count yourself among those 53% or not, this week is a good time to step back and appreciate what our public libraries have to offer. Robert Dawson’s new book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (Princeton Architectural Press, April) is a good place to start. The book includes photographs taken by Dawson over…

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At the heart of Anne Lamott’s latest, finding meaning after tragedy

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We are, all of us, searching for meaning. As we approach the holiday season, this question of how to find meaning in our increasingly chaotic lives becomes even more pressing. In a September 11, 2011 column published in the New York Times, Clemson University philosophy professor Todd May reflects that a meaningful life is one “lived with abandon.” We can, he explains, find meaning in our lives when we devote ourselves wholeheartedly to pursuits that we value, and that are worthwhile. While perhaps not always attainable, this is a reasonable enough goal; but how do we do this in the wake of tragedy? This question is at the heart of Anne Lamott’s latest book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope…

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