Where to Start Reading: Anne Lamott


There are few authors who can write about faith, cuss, make me laugh, and cut straight to the heart of the matter as brilliantly and seamlessly as Anne Lamott. The woman is WISE, and she is gloriously unfiltered, and she is unique, and she is fearlessly honest. I adore her.

(Also, one time she did a Facebook live with TED and I asked a question and SHE ANSWERED IT and I basically feel like we are real life bffs now. Proof pictured here.)

Basically, I think you should read every word she writes, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and become her next fangirl, okay?

Here's where to start reading Anne Lamott:

For faith:

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith // This was the first faith-based book by Lamott I read, and it made me declare her a new favorite back in 2014. I wrote this as my initial review: She's frank, honest, refreshing, sentimental, wise and witty. An author with dreadlocks that shares thoughts on faith but isn't afraid of cussing is my kind of author. This book is a great collection of Anne's "thoughts on faith" -- a definite must-read. (All still true.)

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers // This book was one I read in a short afternoon at one of my favorite cafes, and although I found myself recognizing a lot of passages from previous books I've read by Anne, I still loved it. I've always been a major fan of the totally honest, transparent style of prayer and writing too (why get all flowery and formal when you can just be totally real with God?) so I loved her way of highlighting her three essential and simple prayers: help, thanks, and WOW! This is a great little book that I heavily underlined, laughed through while reading, and would pass along to many friends.

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace // I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and appreciated her honesty about the reality of life and faith as she shared her thoughts and experiences on some of the best and worst of it all. She feels like that best friend you can count on to crack you up while also giving you a swift kick in the pants as she points you back in the right direction toward Christ, all in her honest, frank, wise and witty way. A must-read collection of essays and stories, no matter if you have read stuff from her before or if you've never heard from her.

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy // This is Lamott like I've come to know and love -- sassy, heartfelt, wise, hopeful, snarky... so good. This is a short book (like most of hers are, so not a bad thing) but really just classic Lamott, and so worth a read.

For writing:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life // I had to include this one because it is the book she is KNOWN for... but I was not crazy about it. Everything I've read from her just makes me laugh and fall in love and appreciate honesty so much... but I didn't think this one lived up to all the hype. (But I also notoriously HATE hype and rebel hard against it?) It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't great. Maybe it's because I don't write fiction, so a lot of it didn't necessarily apply to me? I really don't know, I just couldn't connect to it like I could with everything else I've read from her.

For fiction:

Rosie // This was my first fictional read from Anne, and it absolutely captivated me from start to finish. I read it in an afternoon, unable to pull myself away from the characters and this incredibly well-written story. This family is not at all traditional and they don't have things together by any means, but they make you love them and get invested in them as they grow.

Overall... my top recommendation is:

Traveling Mercies

What I'm reading next from Anne Lamott: