Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Plan B

I am so bad about reading multiple books at once. I have by "by the couch" book, my "by the bed" book, my "on the kitchen table" book, etc. I wrote about my "by the bed" book earlier this week (Girls of Riyadh). My current "on the kitchen table" book is The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini--this is a book I can only take in small doses, as it is pretty gritty and dense. I have actually owned the book for several years and am now trying to read it again! I do that often... Start a book, get distracted, put the book down, pick the book up much later... I am determined to finish it this time, though. I have told myself that I cannot get Hosseini's new book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, until I finish The Kite Runner. TKR follows the lives of Afghan men; ATSS follows their female counterparts. Both describe life in Afghanistan following the fall of the Afghan monarchy, Soviet rule, and the rise and rule of the Taliban. Heavy stuff, for sure.
My "by the couch" book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott. Lamott is among my favorite authors. Her take on God and spirituality is so close to my own; it is refreshing and reassuring to see that someone with such great faith can still have some doubts. She is incredibly honest (painfully so, at times) and says (writes) the things that many of us would be too afraid to say (write) ourselves. She isn't your run-of-the-mill Christian. She's a middle-aged, liberal white woman with dreds who lives in Marin County, California (the 2000 census reported that Marin Co. had the highest per capita income in the US) and calls herself a "born again Christian." Lamott truly thinks outside of the box and is truly a breath of fresh air.
I must warn you, however, that if you (still) like the president, you will probably not like Anne Lamott. She, to my great pleasure, rails on the Bushies, likening the "daily depression of life" under the current administration to a "dental x-ray apron." However, if you don't happen to agree with her politics, perhaps you can look past that and see Lamott's writing as a beautiful testament to faith and to the goodness that comes from loving your neighbors and (trying to) make the world a little bit better.
I was first introduced by Anne Lamott through a PBS documentary about her back in 2003. I had recently "graduated" from "Anorexic Camp" (Renaissance, which, btw, has been absorbed into Pine Grove and has a different name now). Anyway, I was in sort of a precarious state. I saw this special on PBS about Lamott and was immediately mesmerized by her. I went out and got Traveling Mercies: Thoughts on Faith (1999), and I can honestly say that that book is one of the things that kept me going in the right direction in the early days of my recovery (Kitty Kramer played a huge part as well!). It's one of those books that truly "changed my life" and is near and dear to me. One of my favorite quotes of all-time comes from that book: "[S]pend less time thinking about what [you] see and more time thinking about why [you] see it that way." I think that is a good policy to have; it's important to put things into perspective, something I have a hard time doing sometimes.
One more thing about Anne Lamott... She has a new book out: Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. I haven't read this one yet, but I know people who have and really enjoyed it. It's pretty high up on my "to read" list.

2 comments:

Black Betty said...

wow...dreds....hmm....

Mama Can-Can said...

i read one of her books while in china. i am reading PLAN B now as well...
and i still have the one that you have me!