Saturday, May 17, 2008

Writing Down the Bones


I was reviewing the books I've read this year, and saw the posts I wrote about the books I'd picked up at the library, and noticed that I started several of them and didn't finish them (like, for example, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Last Child in the Woods), but then I also noticed that I DID finish this one, but never reviewed it.

So, here are my leftover impressions from reading Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, back in January:

It was pretty good. However, I had just finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and that is an AMAZING book, so this one seemed a little dry and boring comparatively. They're both how-to books for aspiring writers, and both are quite good at helping you with your writing, but Ms. Lamott's was infinitely more passionate and inspiring. But again, it's not that Ms. Goldberg's wasn't--it just suffered from the close comparison of the two.

If you're looking for a book to read that will help you get started on a writing project, or for that matter, that will help you through the middle of it or help you finish it or just help you feel like writing, you should probably read both. Both were helpful. Just read this one first so you're not so wowed by the other that you spend all your time mourning the fact that this is not that.

Got it? Good.


Charley said...

I read Writing Down the Bones last year and Bird by Bird this year. I like both - Goldberg's gentleness and Lamott's toughness. The books balance each other nicely.

Susana la Banana said...

I do agree, although it was hard to get interested in Goldberg's Zen-ness after Lamott's butt-kicking style. I just wish I'd read them in reverse order from what I did.

However, now I'm reading Goldberg's memoir-writing book, Old Friend from Far Away, and I'm surprised by her sass. Good stuff!