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March 17, 2016

Find the Good



Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende
Nonfiction/Essays
Finished on October 29, 2015
Rating: 3/5 (So-so)




Publisher’s Blurb:

As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple--and that hard.

Quirky and profound, individual and universal, Find the Good offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit--and it is a habit--of seeing only the negatives. Lende reminds us that we can choose to see any event--starting a new job or being laid off from an old one, getting married or getting divorced--as an opportunity to find the good. As she says, “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.”

Ever since Algonquin published her first book, the New York Times bestseller If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, Heather Lende has been praised for her storytelling talent and her plainspoken wisdom. The Los Angeles Times called her “part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott,” and that comparison has never been more apt as she gives us a fresh, positive perspective from which to view our relationships, our obligations, our priorities, our community, and our world.

An antidote to the cynicism and self-centeredness that we are bombarded with every day in the news, in our politics, and even at times in ourselves, Find the Good helps us rediscover what’s right with the world.

I read Heather Lende’s previous book, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, in the summer of 2012 and wrote about it here. I was thrilled to see her new book on the shelving cart at work and quickly snatched up a copy for a quick peek. I wish I could say I loved it as well as her previous book, but this one fell flat and left me wishing for something a bit more substantial. I love essays and thought this collection might be similar to Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, but alas not. I didn’t even find any passages to mark and share. However, I haven’t given up on Lende and still plan to read If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name.

Final Thoughts:

Start with Lende's earlier books and then grab a copy of this one from your library. You can also find her blog here.

8 comments:

  1. I think I liked this more than you did but I didn't love it either.

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    1. Kathy, I still plan to read more by her. I do enjoy her blog, as well.

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  2. I loved If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name....it is my favorite of the ones by Lende. I am looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

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    1. Tina, you and another blogger have me convinced to read If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. I hope to get to it sometime soon. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  3. What a disappointment. The publisher's blurb sounds so promising and I was certain it would be something I'd like. Sorry to hear it doesn't deliver.

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    1. Lisa, you may enjoy it better than I did. I know other readers have!

      What do you think of our crazy weather?! I couldn't believe it when it started snowing yesterday. Glad it didn't stick!

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  4. Sorry to hear this one wasn't as great but hopefully you'll enjoy her next book more. I do have this one on the shelf and am curious about it but who knows when I'll get a chance to get to it.

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    1. Ah, well. It wasn't that long, so I don't feel like I wasted a lot of time. You can probably read your copy in an afternoon!

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