This is the first meeting of M. L. Swift’s Progressive Book Club. Basically, participants sign up on the Linky list, read the designated book, and post their thoughts the third Wednesday of the month. Then we visit other participants and discuss our reviews.
For more info about the group, click here.
This month, we're discussing Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, a popular book among writers. First I'll give you the description, then follow that with my review.
"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.'"
My review . . . if you can call it that.
I debated what to post today, but then I decided honesty is the best policy.
I hope I don't offend the author or anyone in the club.
It's not that I have a bad review to post. I don't have a review, period. I never got a chance to read the book.
After signing up for ML's hop, I went to Amazon to buy a Kindle copy of Bird By Bird and discovered that the price was $11.99—more than the $10.41 paperback! Well, dang. I paused and considered what to do.
Maybe I'm cheap, but I don't like paying more than about $5.00 for an ebook. I will pay more for fiction by authors whose writing I like and trust or for a good book on the craft; but that's where the problem lies, my definition of a 'good' book on the craft.
When it comes to books on writing, I like them chock full of specific advice. A sprinkling of the authors thoughts, reminiscences and pep talks are okay, but I want details—lists and diagrams and before-and-after examples that spell out the concepts out for me. Apparently this book isn't one of those.
After reading reviews like 'Funny, inspiring and wise--but get your craft elsewhere,' 'Instructive memoirs,' and 'Insightful and humorous, but also annoying' (which all basically said the same thing), I was unwilling to pay the going price for an ebook that has little actual craft advice and is more of a comedic attitude adjustment.
Still wanting to properly participate in ML's club, I went to the website of my local library and requested a copy of the book be sent to my branch.
I'm still waiting.
So, I guess that's it. I would have gladly read Bird By Bird, but I can't get my hands on a copy for a price I'm willing to pay. Sorry if I ruffled any feathers.
I can assure you that my PBC post next month will be much better. I've already bought and read Blake Snyder's Save The Cat.
Now it's your turn.
*holds up tomato shield*
Go ahead. Vilify me in the comments.