. . . And Two Books I Did Read, Sorta — By Lauren Winner and Anne LaMott

Author Lauren Winnerchecks her cell phone at The Glen in Santa Fe in 2009. Photo by BF Newhall

Lauren Winner, author of Still, taught a spiritual writing class at The Glen in Santa Fe in 2009. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Yesterday I wrote about five intriguing books that have come across my desk in recent months — good books that I never got around to reading. Here are two more books — by memoirists Anne LaMott and Lauren Winner — that I’ve actually managed to blast through in a couple sittings each.

I wish I’d had time to do with these books what I used to think of as reading: Take in a couple of chapters. Ponder. Take in a another chapter or two. Ponder some more. Loan the book to a friend. Discuss.

Anne LaMott signed copies of her book "Some Assembly Required" for hundreds of fans at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oaklkand, CA, in April, 2012. Photo by BF Newhall

Anne LaMott signed copies of her book Some Assembly Required for hundreds of fans at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, CA, in April, 2012. Photo by BF Newhall

Here are the books:

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, by Anne LaMott with Sam LaMott, Riverhead Books, 2012, $26.95 hardcover.

In her book talks, Anne LaMott makes noises like this memoir is all about being a grandmother. But a read between the lines reveals it’s actually about being a mother-in-law.

LaMott offers lots of hard-earned wisdom on the mother-in-law subject, which is why I, as a mother-in-law-to-be, was inspired to rush through this book cover to cover in a couple of days.

Lamott advises herself (and me), for example, “The job of a good parent is to be dispensable.” And, “If I go to their house and see dirty dishes in the sink, I must leave them.”

I think I need to read this book again. A couple of times.

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, by Lauren F. Winner, HarperOne, 2012, $24.99 hardcover.

Like Anne LaMott, Lauren Winner has a strong sense of herself. I saw it in her earlier books, Girl Meets God and Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity. I also witnessed it in a spiritual writing class I took from Lauren in 2009.

So I was deeply touched by Lauren’s latest, wrenching, book, Still, in which this headstrong woman experiences doubt and loss of faith following the break-up of the marriage she’d written about with such hope in Real Sex. It’s a book I want to spend more time with.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Lauren’s next book. In Still, she circles around her doubt. She doesn’t grab it by the throat. Nor does she choose to embrace it. But knowing Lauren, I pretty sure she’ll meet the topic head on one of these days.

BTW, I wonder if LaMott and Winner have ever met. They’re both hard-nosed, disciplined thinkers with big slurpy hearts for Jesus.

My guess is that upon meeting they’ll either fall into each other’s arms, best friends forever. Or repel each other like two super charged positive magnets. However it goes down, I’d like to be there when it happens.


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