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Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

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"I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and "I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated"--the seeds of rejuvenation are at hand. "All truth is paradox," Lamott writes, "and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change." That is the time when we must pledge not to give up but "to do what Wendell Berry wrote: 'Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.'" In this profound and funny book, Lamott calls for each of us to rediscover the nuggets of hope and wisdom that are buried within us that can make life sweeter than we ever imagined. Divided into short chapters that explore life's essential truths, Almost Everything pinpoints these moments of insight as it shines an encouraging light forward.


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"I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and "I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated"--the seeds of rejuvenation are at hand. "All truth is paradox," Lamott writes, "and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change." That is the time when we must pledge not to give up but "to do what Wendell Berry wrote: 'Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.'" In this profound and funny book, Lamott calls for each of us to rediscover the nuggets of hope and wisdom that are buried within us that can make life sweeter than we ever imagined. Divided into short chapters that explore life's essential truths, Almost Everything pinpoints these moments of insight as it shines an encouraging light forward.

30 review for Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Reading Lamott is a balm to my spirit and my soul. She writes about so many of the things I think about. In this book she writes the things she wants her grandson to know, including the paradoxes of life. "Here is so much going on that flattens us, that is huge, scary, or simply appalling. We're doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over caffeinated. And yet, outside my window, yellow roses bloom, and little kids horse around, making a joyous racket." She writes with humor, with Grace and with a huge am Reading Lamott is a balm to my spirit and my soul. She writes about so many of the things I think about. In this book she writes the things she wants her grandson to know, including the paradoxes of life. "Here is so much going on that flattens us, that is huge, scary, or simply appalling. We're doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over caffeinated. And yet, outside my window, yellow roses bloom, and little kids horse around, making a joyous racket." She writes with humor, with Grace and with a huge amount of understandinganding and common sense. I read her and find myself highlighting so many passages. I always end up buying her books because they always include so many thoughts, so much encouragement about life, fear, hurts, but always also reminders of looking for the positive. Her books are books that one can read over and over and marvel at something newly discovered with each reading. "But all truth really is paradox, and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change ,and something else about it will also be true. So paradox is an invitation to go deeper into life, to see a bigger screen, instead of the nice, safe lower left qundrant where you see work, home and country. Try a wider reality, through curiousity, awareness and beath. Try actually being here. What a concept" She reminds me to look around, cherish what I have, find hope in the darkness, and to realize that I can't control everything, can't change people. They need to do it for themselves, and even in the blackest of times, there is light to be found. ARC from Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    ”(at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back….may you open your eyes to water water waving forever and may you in your innocence sail through this to that” - - - Lucille Clifton, “blessing the boats” Reading Anne Lamott, for me anyway, feels like how I imagine how sitting and listening to her talk, perhaps less to a large audience, but a more intimate, person ”(at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back….may you open your eyes to water water waving forever and may you in your innocence sail through this to that” - - - Lucille Clifton, “blessing the boats” Reading Anne Lamott, for me anyway, feels like how I imagine how sitting and listening to her talk, perhaps less to a large audience, but a more intimate, personal group of people, friends. Her topics of discussion tend to be her view of the world, her life, her family and friends, the things she rejoices in and the things that drive her nuts, but it is a very internal focus on life, shared in a semi-rambling way that shares her philosophies, thoughts, feelings on everything in her somewhat eclectic views on life, love, family. ”I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.” This is the first sentence in the prelude, other than the poem that precedes it, and it really sums up Anne Lamott in a way. There is the political activist side of her, and there is the woman who eagerly awaits the first glimpse of spring, or fall or any beauty in nature. There is the woman who feels everyone should embrace themselves as they are, flaws and all, and there is the woman who still diets to counterbalance eating too much junk food. Fans of Trump should probably look elsewhere for reading material; she’s not a fan. For the last ten years or so I have begun each year by reading one of Lamott’s books, I’m not much for New Year resolutions, but this is one I like to keep – to begin each year with some quirky, but also thought-provoking, something that reminds me to focus on what remains that is still good and worthwhile. Like the last several books she’s published, this is relatively short, but filled with her thoughts on faith and love, spiritual without being “religious” in any specific sense – along the lines that we are “spiritual beings having human experiences, not vice versa” and then turns around and says things along the lines of “I prefer bumper stickers. I really do. ‘If you lived in your heart, you’d be home now’ is all I need as a life philosophy.’” My favourite quote in this, though, is one I think we all can relate to: ”Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favorite chair, is literally how I have survived being here at all.” Love may not conquer all, but love is preferable to hate, and everyone appreciates and benefits from acts of kindness that spread feelings of hope, and love, and the cycle begins anew.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Camp

    **5++ Goodreads Stars++ "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." "Haters want us to hate them, because hate is incapacitating. When we hate, we can't operate from our real selves, which is our strength." Oh Anne Lamott, how do you manage to rip my heart into pieces and then mend it ever so carefully back together? This is what Lamott calls a paradox or conundrum, that life brings both immense joy and heart-wrenching pain, pain that, at times, is unbea **5++ Goodreads Stars++ "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." "Haters want us to hate them, because hate is incapacitating. When we hate, we can't operate from our real selves, which is our strength." Oh Anne Lamott, how do you manage to rip my heart into pieces and then mend it ever so carefully back together? This is what Lamott calls a paradox or conundrum, that life brings both immense joy and heart-wrenching pain, pain that, at times, is unbearable. Take her discussion of having children: "We are consumed by the most intense love for one another and the joy of living, along with the grief and terror that we and our babies will know unbelievable hurt: broken bones, bad boyfriends, old age...Every day we're in the grip of the impossible conundrum: the truth that it's over in a blink, and we may be near the end, and that we have to live as if it's going to be okay, no matter what." Lamott's Almost Everything: Notes on Hope is meandering and rambling in the most poignant way, a method of writing only Lamott can get away with. It is structured around themes that she wants to share with her grandchild, stories she wants to pass on that she deems critical for one's survival in a brutal world. As with Lamott's other books, I highlighted nearly everything. So many beautiful passages, so much wisdom that has come from the pain that Lamott has known well. This is not a pain she monopolizes. Rather, this book is about how pain is part of the human condition. And because it can happen to any one of us, Lamott believes that we must find peace and happiness every single day. That joy cannot come from a number on a scale or your paystub, though: "Could you say this about yourself right now, that you have immense and intrinsic value, at your current weight and income level, while waiting to hear if you got the job or didn't, or sold your book or didn't? This idea that I had all the value I'd ever needed was concealed from me my whole life. I want a refund." "The opposite of love is the bathroom scale." Lamott argues that happiness is not found in materiality but something that is omnipresent, waiting to be found in the most mundane places. There is also beauty in grief and beauty in tragedy, though she certainly does not argue that there is a rhyme or reason as to who gets saddled with grief in this universe. Grief is not a lesson to learn, forced upon those who have sinned. "We do get a taste of the spheres in birdsong, eclipses, the surf, tangerines. In the dark, we see the stars. In the aftermath of a devastating fire, the sun rose red. To pay close attention to and mostly accept your life, inside and out and around your body, is to be halfway home." How do we cultivate this love of the quotidian? Through play, observing the world around you, through helping others, and, of course, through reading: "Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favorite chair, is literally how I have survived being here at all. Someone else is doing the living for me, and all I have to do is let their stories, humor, knowledge, and images - some of which I'll never forget - flow through me, even as I forget to turn off the car when I arrive at my destination." As always, Lamott also has some brilliant things to say about writing: "Write because you have to, because the process brings great satisfaction. Write because you have a story to tell, not because you think publishing will make you the person you always wanted to be. There is approximately zero chance of that happening." "We have to cultivate the habits of curiosity and paying attention, which are essential to living rich lives and writing. You raise your eyes out of the pit, which is so miserable and stifling to be in and which tried to grab you and keep you there, until something sneaky hauled you out and changed you." Lamott won't give you easy answers about life in this book, but she will give you a lot to chew on. She challenges you to be reflexive, to examine what's holding you back in life and what you need to move forward - that these things are not a one size fits all sort of solution. We need to dig deep and find that with which we struggle: confront it and learn to live with it the best we can. Above all else, she asks her reader to sit with the world: watch it, learn from it, listen to it, breathe it in. For "God is often in solitude and quiet, through the still, small voice - in the breeze, not the thunder." If you haven't figured it out by now, I loved this book. I love nearly everything Lamott writes ( Bird by Bird is one of my all-time favorite books!). Thank you to Edelweiss, Anne Lamott, and Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House for an advanced reader copy of Almost Everything. For more of my book reviews visit me here: Book Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    "A friend once said that at the end of his drinking, he was deteriorating faster than he could lower his standards, and this began happening to me recently with hate". " I don't know if my last day here will be next Thursday or in twenty years. Whenever that day comes, I want to be living, insofar as possible, in the Wendell Berry words "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts", and I want to have had dessert". " The world is Lucy teeing up the football". I read Anne Lamott because of "A friend once said that at the end of his drinking, he was deteriorating faster than he could lower his standards, and this began happening to me recently with hate". " I don't know if my last day here will be next Thursday or in twenty years. Whenever that day comes, I want to be living, insofar as possible, in the Wendell Berry words "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts", and I want to have had dessert". " The world is Lucy teeing up the football". I read Anne Lamott because of quotes like these, and at least twelve other passages that I highlighted. It's like having lunch with a cynical, crazy friend, who happens to think just like you. She talks about politics (quote #1) books and authors (quote #2) and just surviving the world day by day (quote #3). She writes about dealing with families, food and eating, insecurities, everything that every one of us deal with every single day, and doing it with some measure of hope and joy. Our lunch was a short one, but left me feeling happy to have reconnected with my old friend. Until next time, it'll have to do.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City

    Love and goodness and the world’s beauty and humanity are the reasons we have hope. — Anne Lamott, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope . . Anne Lamott’s “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope” is a wonderful book to end the year with. My heart is full & hopeful after reading this book. It’s candid, caring, clever, and at times, hilarious; this is a book only Anne Lamott can write. This book is filled with hope, literally. Lamott gets it, life is hard at times, we have difficult conversations, setbacks Love and goodness and the world’s beauty and humanity are the reasons we have hope. — Anne Lamott, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope . . Anne Lamott’s “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope” is a wonderful book to end the year with. My heart is full & hopeful after reading this book. It’s candid, caring, clever, and at times, hilarious; this is a book only Anne Lamott can write. This book is filled with hope, literally. Lamott gets it, life is hard at times, we have difficult conversations, setbacks & disappointments, dark days, we worry too much, world seems gloomy, future seems bleak at times, it’s not always rainbows & butterflies. We just never what someone is going through behind those smiles. Not to mention, it has been an especially difficult last couple of year for many people. Even if you haven’t been directly impacted by the all the ugliness, you inevitably know someone who has, and it affects the entire community as a whole. . “All truth is paradox,” Lamott writes, “and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change.” That is the time when we must pledge not to give up but “to do what Wendell Berry wrote: ‘Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.’” . Lamott made a list for her grandson and niece about almost everything she knew for sure that was true, and this book is based on that list. Lamott grounds her lessons in stories from her life, from her childhood, friendships, relationships, religion, writing, little bit of everything. Divided into short chapters, this books is compulsively readable, inspirational, and hilarious. At times, Lamott’s writing seems all over the place, incoherent, and just bunch of rambling, but she gets to her point at the end and knows exactly what she’s doing because she understands, knows, and feels. Ultimately, she’s calling her readers to find that hope, light, and wisdom buried in us, even in the darkest of times. It’s just like you’re having an one-on-one conversation with her, it’s so wonderful. Highly recommend it! 🤓✌️📖

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    This little book was just what I needed to start the year off. Incredibly timely, soothing and inspirational. I listened to it on audio from Scribd but I ended up ordering a paper copy for future re-reads and marking.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    An Evening with Anne Lamott October 19, 2018 St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston People are fanning themselves in the church. The air isn't on, it's a packed house, and it is a warm October night in Houston. I dare to ask to sit in an open pew less than fifty feet from the pulpit. I am surrounded by people with strong political and spiritual views, and we talk about important things while we wait. And then she arrives. It's Anne Lamott, and she seems different than the last time I heard her s An Evening with Anne Lamott October 19, 2018 St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston People are fanning themselves in the church. The air isn't on, it's a packed house, and it is a warm October night in Houston. I dare to ask to sit in an open pew less than fifty feet from the pulpit. I am surrounded by people with strong political and spiritual views, and we talk about important things while we wait. And then she arrives. It's Anne Lamott, and she seems different than the last time I heard her speak, ten or so years back, stronger, more confident, even...dare I say it?...happy. She has a new book. "I accidentally wrote this book on hope. It was originally called Doomed," she tells us. We laugh. That's one thing we adore about Anne Lamott: she dares to be honest, and she finds a way to be honest while also making us laugh. "I'm as scared and angry as everyone else, but one of the blessings of being a little bit older is that being scared and angry doesn't last as long. And you don't always remember why you are scared and angry." Anne Lamott is here to share what she has learned in this life with us. She has put everything she knows in this little book, Almost Everything, written for her young niece and grandson: "We are not alone." "Love gives me hope." "I spent a lot of years unlearning everything I'd been taught as a child." "All truth is paradox." We listen to Anne. We laugh with Anne. She reads a few bits from her book, but mostly she talks, seemingly extemporaneously. A few brave souls pose questions to Anne. One woman tells her that when she was at her lowest, in an abusive relationship, she saw Anne on tv, and she asked herself, "Who is this woman?" and she got Anne's books and she changed her life. "Could you give me a hug?" the woman asks Anne. Anne says yes. This book is a hug from Anne to the world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    This isn't going to be a normal review and I think that's OK. You already know if you should read this or not; hopefully you've already read it anyway. I read this book in one day, most of it after learning a man took a gun and murdered at least 10 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It wasn't a good day, but I trusted that Anne Lamott was what I needed to be reading. For years now, a new Anne Lamott book will emerge at the time I most need to read it and that is definitely true this time, as wel This isn't going to be a normal review and I think that's OK. You already know if you should read this or not; hopefully you've already read it anyway. I read this book in one day, most of it after learning a man took a gun and murdered at least 10 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It wasn't a good day, but I trusted that Anne Lamott was what I needed to be reading. For years now, a new Anne Lamott book will emerge at the time I most need to read it and that is definitely true this time, as well. It's very easy to sink into fear and distrust and frankly dislike---why don't people care about the things I care about? Why are people posting recipes and stupid videos on Facebook while supporters of someone they voted for are murdering people?---but she reminds me to breathe, stay the course and listen to hope. One of the things that she constantly repeats is that grace bats last. This is an awful and a scary time, but it isn't forever. There are more of us, and we will ultimately win. We will especially win if we don't become the people that we're currently afraid of. This book feels like an incredibly needed conversation with a good friend, and it made me laugh and ugly cry in equal measure. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    While still not as good as Lamott’s spiritual classics from a decade or two ago, this is a cut above her last couple of books, with quite a few memorable lines. Despite the state of the world – environmental collapse, a volatile leader taking the country ever closer to chaos, everyday family crises and the indignity of aging – she maintains hope in what divine grace and human kindness can achieve. (Borrowed from my sister.) Some favorite lines: “Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiri While still not as good as Lamott’s spiritual classics from a decade or two ago, this is a cut above her last couple of books, with quite a few memorable lines. Despite the state of the world – environmental collapse, a volatile leader taking the country ever closer to chaos, everyday family crises and the indignity of aging – she maintains hope in what divine grace and human kindness can achieve. (Borrowed from my sister.) Some favorite lines: “Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster.” “Could you say this about yourself right now, that you have immense and intrinsic value, at your current weight and income level, while waiting to hear if you got the job or didn’t, or sold your book or didn’t?” “Reading and writing help us take the blinders off so we can look around and say ‘Wow,’ so we can look at life and our lives with care, and curiosity, and attention to detail, which are what will make us happy and less afraid.”

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    "Stories teach us what is important about life, why we are here and how it is best to behave, and that inside us we have access to treasure, in memories and observations, in imagination." Before Anne Lamott's 61st birthday, she decided to make a list for her grandson and niece of everything she knows that could apply to almost everyone hoping that it will one day help them in their lives. What we get is a touching and random but poignant look at Lamott's views on everything from life, death, faith "Stories teach us what is important about life, why we are here and how it is best to behave, and that inside us we have access to treasure, in memories and observations, in imagination." Before Anne Lamott's 61st birthday, she decided to make a list for her grandson and niece of everything she knows that could apply to almost everyone hoping that it will one day help them in their lives. What we get is a touching and random but poignant look at Lamott's views on everything from life, death, faith, family, writing and politics (but thankfully not too much because I can only deal with politics in very small doses these days) through personal experience and observation. "I have just always found it extremely hard to be here, on this side of eternity, because of, well, other people; and death." I enjoy when a writer can take the everyday and weave its truth and simplicity into words.  I like reading the random thoughts and observations of others when it is written so beautifully and in a way that seems to include the entire population. "We believe that we are all in this together.  This was the message of childhood, that being together meant connection, like an electrical circuit -- think school recess on the blacktop, summer camp, and all those family holiday gatherings. Ram Dass said that if you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family." Insightful, honest, and true to her previous work, Almost Everything is a touching look at life in general with the wisdom Lamott feels is necessary to pass on to the next generation. Thanks to Riverhead Books and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for my honest review.  Almost Everything: Notes on Hope is scheduled for release on October 16, 2018. For more full reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Review of the Audible Audio edition. I've been a fan of Anne Lamott's world-weary but hopeful wisdom since her writing memoir "Bird by Bird." Her annual musings have become a standard for me and there are always experiences and observations that come through as starkly true and immediately identifiable that cut right to the bone. I'm giving it a 3 star rating only because on audio it sometimes comes across as a bit too weary and tired whereas I think on the page it would read as more inspirational Review of the Audible Audio edition. I've been a fan of Anne Lamott's world-weary but hopeful wisdom since her writing memoir "Bird by Bird." Her annual musings have become a standard for me and there are always experiences and observations that come through as starkly true and immediately identifiable that cut right to the bone. I'm giving it a 3 star rating only because on audio it sometimes comes across as a bit too weary and tired whereas I think on the page it would read as more inspirational and hopeful. Probably a print edition would get a 4 star rating as seems to be the average from the other Lamott readers here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neanderthal

    Anne Lamott loosely builds ALMOST EVERYTHING around a list she decides to make for her grandson and niece about everything she knows about almost everything, ideas that she thinks apply to almost everyone and that might help them someday, a list that she wishes her father had written for her. She writes humorously and lovingly about topic like serenity, food, hate, God, "famblies," and hope. (I received pre-publication access thanks to Edelweiss.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Anne Lamott at her best. By her account, she's compiling what she knows that's worth knowing for her grandson, a collection of observations and advice. It's also a guide to staying sane in a crazy world, which she acknowledges in a sideways manner here and there, but doesn't focus on. It's intensely personal and deeply loving. There are weaknesses here and there; for instance, I don't know that I can recommend her health advice, but it does come from a place of reassurance, and she's trying to g Anne Lamott at her best. By her account, she's compiling what she knows that's worth knowing for her grandson, a collection of observations and advice. It's also a guide to staying sane in a crazy world, which she acknowledges in a sideways manner here and there, but doesn't focus on. It's intensely personal and deeply loving. There are weaknesses here and there; for instance, I don't know that I can recommend her health advice, but it does come from a place of reassurance, and she's trying to get people to relax and not worry so much, so I think she's not doing any harm. She has a lot of experience feeling inadequate and talking herself into living on, so she's able to do the same for her readers. And her writing is beautiful and flowing. I read this as an balm after finishing a rough read (American Prison ), and it worked wonders. I got a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss to review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I guess I'm just not a big fan of Anne Lamott's warmed over AA self-help. I gave Traveling Mercies three stars a number of years ago, and I gave four stars to Bird by Bird, though I didn't write a review and don't remember what it was I liked - probably some advice on writing. This one is a letter to her grandson, picking up on the strategies of James Baldwin, or Ta Nehesi-Coates, with none of the gravitas or urgency. At her best she's witty (some would say snarky,) insightful, and acerbic (some I guess I'm just not a big fan of Anne Lamott's warmed over AA self-help. I gave Traveling Mercies three stars a number of years ago, and I gave four stars to Bird by Bird, though I didn't write a review and don't remember what it was I liked - probably some advice on writing. This one is a letter to her grandson, picking up on the strategies of James Baldwin, or Ta Nehesi-Coates, with none of the gravitas or urgency. At her best she's witty (some would say snarky,) insightful, and acerbic (some would say snarky,) the problem is it's a hard act to sustain over the length of a book, and awfully repetitive over the length of a career. If you're a fan, here's more for you to love, but if you're not I don't think you'll find anything to change your mind.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue Dix

    Every Anne Lamott book that I read has me feeling “oh come on” at the beginning and “oh wow OK yes” at the end. Her books model life’s trajectory: skepticism, belief, repeat. She is at once our best friend and our pragmatic counselor, tough love and lots of hugs and laughter. If you’re not more hopeful by the end of this book, you need to reread it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bonny

    I read Almost Everything: Notes on Hope looking for exactly that, some notes on hope. Anne Lamott has such a unique style of writing that I wonder if the hope may have gotten tangled up somewhere in the extended stream-of-consciousness voice that is this book. I listened to her read it as an audio book, and that made it seem even more like a long conversation with Anne, telling me her story. It's an interesting and difficult story of her struggles, but I found little hope in “almost every facet I read Almost Everything: Notes on Hope looking for exactly that, some notes on hope. Anne Lamott has such a unique style of writing that I wonder if the hope may have gotten tangled up somewhere in the extended stream-of-consciousness voice that is this book. I listened to her read it as an audio book, and that made it seem even more like a long conversation with Anne, telling me her story. It's an interesting and difficult story of her struggles, but I found little hope in “almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster”, and "life just damages people. There is no way around this. Not all the glitter and concealer in the world can cover it up.” These are Anne's truths, and I can't completely disagree with some of it, but I was lost throughout much of the book. I even listened to it twice, but was unable to find much hope at all in her ramblings. Two and a half stars that I just can't round up.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I've read Anne Lamott before so I knew her books are sometimes all over the place. This one disappointed me at times. I'm not quite sure what she wanted the reader to take from it. The chapter about teaching a writing class to young people was really random and then her chapter on weight loss? Hmmm.... The most important thing I took from it was help is the sunny side of control. I get enough of politics on TV, in my newspaper and on social media. I realize a book subtitled Notes on Hope would c I've read Anne Lamott before so I knew her books are sometimes all over the place. This one disappointed me at times. I'm not quite sure what she wanted the reader to take from it. The chapter about teaching a writing class to young people was really random and then her chapter on weight loss? Hmmm.... The most important thing I took from it was help is the sunny side of control. I get enough of politics on TV, in my newspaper and on social media. I realize a book subtitled Notes on Hope would cover it in our stressful times regardless of which side you fall on but I kind of resented her throwing it in as often as she did. It was a quick read but for me not nearly as thoughtful a read as some of her other works.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I really liked her books on raising children. I read them at a point in my life where it clicked. I also loved her book on writing, bird by bird. But the last 3 or 4 have been an irritating stream of consciousness of feel good sayings and some funny quips. They aren’t doing much for me. I think it speaks to a different kind of person. Perhaps these are voices to those in a struggle (and I was when I had babies and when I was writing), but my life thank goodness is free from addiction and daily s I really liked her books on raising children. I read them at a point in my life where it clicked. I also loved her book on writing, bird by bird. But the last 3 or 4 have been an irritating stream of consciousness of feel good sayings and some funny quips. They aren’t doing much for me. I think it speaks to a different kind of person. Perhaps these are voices to those in a struggle (and I was when I had babies and when I was writing), but my life thank goodness is free from addiction and daily strife.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Anne Lamott: still not for me. I have my own form of zen and 'it is what it is,' but somehow hers ('the world is exactly as it should be') rubs me the wrong way. And, hey, it rubs her the wrong way, too, which I appreciate. It just doesn't connect with me and bring hope the way it does for her.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    Writings seemed to lack a cohesive flow. Her "subtle" references to politics wore me out.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Oh, how I needed this book at this time...Anne Lamott tells us 'almost' everything she knows about life...and death. And she ends with hope. So, I read, I highlighted. I sticky-noted. Then, I reread and took notes...the titles of the chapters, and lines that resonated. What has the look of a quiet meander through stories is actually tightly organized...starting with puzzles and paradoxes of life, ending with hope. Lamott helps us create that hope by studying and loving our lives. Hope is within Oh, how I needed this book at this time...Anne Lamott tells us 'almost' everything she knows about life...and death. And she ends with hope. So, I read, I highlighted. I sticky-noted. Then, I reread and took notes...the titles of the chapters, and lines that resonated. What has the look of a quiet meander through stories is actually tightly organized...starting with puzzles and paradoxes of life, ending with hope. Lamott helps us create that hope by studying and loving our lives. Hope is within us. So is paradox. Higher powers are within us. Forgiveness, grace. Hope. Death is not to be feared. Lamott is well read, as all the writers I admire are. And it shows. She generously quotes favorite authors and thinkers, while peppering her book with her quirky storytelling. Walks through gardens, and strong opinions about dark chocolate. The chapter I returned to is the one on hate...hate. She reminds me that hate comes from fear...and haters would rather have our anger than our forgiveness for their fear and their own hate...she tells the story of Stone Soup, and the community contributions to life. What we bring to give is important. So, when we choose, bring 'more rosemary, more carrots.' Not bad as a mantra for life. And I'm going to use it to short-circuit my own hate. I think what the 'almost everything' comes down to...the grace and forgiveness and hope we crave is right there in front of us, if we have the courage to take a deep breath and accept them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    If you need a few "Notes on Hope," this is your book. Utterly winsome in that Anne Lamott way and I love how she can put together some profound, beautiful statement/sentiment and then say "well that sucks" or somehow wind in the word "asshat." I listened to this on audiobook so bonus points for getting to hear it in her voice. A few things were N/A to my life, but it's a slim read/listen and well worth your time. Perfect end-of-year (or New Year!) read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Corie

    As with every Anne Lamott book I read, I just wanted it not to end so quickly. Poignant, insightful, encouraging, hilarious.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tena Edlin

    Anne Lamott's books are always good for my soul. She shares her journey, and it's similar to mine in many ways. Her books are a wake-up call to me, too, to get out of the dumps and take charge of how I'm feeling. It's not easy, but I can help others or go for a walk or snuggle with my husband or dog. I can remember what is good in the world. Some of my favorite quotes from this latest book: "I have known hell, and I have also known love. Love was bigger." "Haters want us to hate them, because hate Anne Lamott's books are always good for my soul. She shares her journey, and it's similar to mine in many ways. Her books are a wake-up call to me, too, to get out of the dumps and take charge of how I'm feeling. It's not easy, but I can help others or go for a walk or snuggle with my husband or dog. I can remember what is good in the world. Some of my favorite quotes from this latest book: "I have known hell, and I have also known love. Love was bigger." "Haters want us to hate them, because hate is incapacitating. When we hate, we can't operate from our real selves, which is our strength... " "Reading and writing help us take the blinders off so we can look around and say 'Wow,' so we can look at life and our lives with care, and curiosity, and attention to detail, which are what will make us happy and less afraid." "The human mind, for all its bad press and worse ideas, is as awe-inspiring as Yosemite, as stars." These days, when "Christian" in our society means so many things that I am not and that scare me, Anne Lamott reminds me that I'm a Christian too... imperfect, doubting, and searching... and that there are a lot of other people like me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    skketch

    **NOVEL THOUGHTS** ##thanks to Goodreads Giveaway and Riverhead books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review## I am glad there are fans of Anne Lamott but sadly, I can't say I am one. Her book Almost Everything: Notes on Hope is a long tedious endless spooling of "everything not hopeful." She talks more about failures and inadequacies than ways we can be more hopeful. I thought it started off well enough as she begins her "letter of thoughts about everything she knows" t **NOVEL THOUGHTS** ##thanks to Goodreads Giveaway and Riverhead books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review## I am glad there are fans of Anne Lamott but sadly, I can't say I am one. Her book Almost Everything: Notes on Hope is a long tedious endless spooling of "everything not hopeful." She talks more about failures and inadequacies than ways we can be more hopeful. I thought it started off well enough as she begins her "letter of thoughts about everything she knows" to her young loved ones, but it becomes political, bitter and complaining more than helpful ways to fill your life with hope. It has the ring of AA philosophical 12-step strategies for Life to it and I am not being critical of the AA 12-step philosophy but I just think this book needed to be tighter and more to the point as it seems to ramble with parables, unrelateable personal stories and self doubt. If you are going to be a book about getting through Life when Life hands you lemons, there should be a recipe for making lemonade. This book just didn't do it for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Renner

    Read my interview with Lamott here: https://electricliterature.com/anne-l... Here's the intro I wrote for the interview: If the bleak daily news cycle has you grasping for some comfort, you’re not alone. Google searches for “anxiety symptoms” hit an all-time high in October, according to Google Trends. With the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and news that climate disaster is closer than we thought, hope may be the farthest idea from our minds. It’s easy to assume that the only Read my interview with Lamott here: https://electricliterature.com/anne-l... Here's the intro I wrote for the interview: If the bleak daily news cycle has you grasping for some comfort, you’re not alone. Google searches for “anxiety symptoms” hit an all-time high in October, according to Google Trends. With the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and news that climate disaster is closer than we thought, hope may be the farthest idea from our minds. It’s easy to assume that the only people who possess cheery thoughts like hope are those willfully not paying attention. But as Anne Lamott shows us in her essay collection, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope, faith can exist side-by-side with uncertainty, as humor can with doom. Almost Everything, as you might expect from the title, includes a little bit of everything, connected by the central threads of humor and resilience against adversity. The essays in the collection are small morsels, offering tastes of Lamott’s wisdom about enduring themes like faith and family. The rest of Lamott’s oeuvre spans decades and genres. Her first novel, Hard Laughter, was published in 1980. Since then, Lamott has published 18 books, including novels and essay collections. While her welcoming style often uses wit, she has covered topics, like alcoholism and cancer, that many other writers find difficult to render on the page, much less joke about. It’s more important than ever to find humor in the darkness. As many of us stand up to resist ingrained systems of oppression, whether in the voting booth or in our daily lives, with each setback, it becomes easier to see the problems of our time as insurmountable. But if we lose hope, we’ll stop fighting, and our struggle will have been for nothing. Almost Everything offers a dose of levity, but it doesn’t stray from the truth. At a time when many of us, myself included, require that kind of irrepressible wit just to get by, I had the privilege of talking to Lamott about her new book, writing, and staying hopeful in these uncertain times.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It's short, but there's a lot of good stuff in here. Lamott talks a little bit about writing, about not giving into hate, even in our current political environment. There's a lot of wisdom in this little book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    For more than 3/4 of the book, I was thinking this was a three star endeavor. Then came the penultimate chapter. Come on, it’s called “famblies.” And she says this about children who were raised to be anxious perfectionists: “Praise and cuddling made us soft, distracted us from the scent of the mechanical rabbit.” Wow, my parents went to the same school. The Coda is lovely, and says it all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I started reading this in the middle of Bob Woodward's book, Fear, and I really needed it as a palate cleanser. But then as I continued through her thoughtful notes, I really did start to feel hopeful. I'm returning my library copy ASAP so others can read it, then I'm purchasing my own copy to have at home so I can return to these little hope notes as needed. Definitely worth reading! 5 stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy McC

    4.5 stars-- there were some early sections that were a bit too stream of consciousness for my taste. But, that said, I loved this book and it was a great one with which to end my reading year. I would really love it if her "notes on hope" give me the hope I need to deal with the disheartening daily events that too often steal my joy. We share so many similar beliefs and concerns that I would love to chat with her over a cup of tea. Plus I would like to thank her, in person, for the way her books 4.5 stars-- there were some early sections that were a bit too stream of consciousness for my taste. But, that said, I loved this book and it was a great one with which to end my reading year. I would really love it if her "notes on hope" give me the hope I need to deal with the disheartening daily events that too often steal my joy. We share so many similar beliefs and concerns that I would love to chat with her over a cup of tea. Plus I would like to thank her, in person, for the way her books make me pause and ponder. Every time I read a book by Ms. Lamott I am always blown away by her word choice and her unbelievable ability to put a beautiful phrase together. Her writer's voice is also so powerful! Because of her skill as a wordsmith, I highlighted so much of this book it is hard to choose which phrases to carry with me as move forward into the next year. "Reading and writing help us take the blinders off so we can look around and say, 'Wow', so we can look at life and our lives with care, and curiosity, and attention to detail which are what will make us happy and less afraid." "I was becoming insane, letting politicians get me whipped up into visions of revenge, perp walks, jail.There is no beauty or safety in hatred. As a long-term strategy, based on craziness, it's doomed." "Haters want us to hate them, because hate is incapacitating. When we hate, we can't operate from our real selves, which is our strength." "Nor did I know about grace, that it meets you exactly where you are, at your most pathetic and hopeless, and it loads you into its wheelbarrow and then tips you out somewhere else in ever so slightly better shape."

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