Help, Thanks, Wow

help thanks wow

Help, Thanks, Wow
The Three Essential Prayers

Anne Lamott
Riverhead Books, 2012

From the dust jacket, “Three simple prayers to get you through tough times, everyday struggles, and the hard work of ordinary life.

“Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about faith and prayer. And in Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she’s learned about prayer into these simple, transformative truths.

“It is these three prayers – asking for assistance, appreciating the good we witness, and feeling awe at the world—that get us through the day and show us the way forward. In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they have meant over the years and how they’ve helped, and explores how others have embraced these ideas.

“Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, Help, Thanks, Wow is a book that new readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure.”

This short and profound book is another treasure to add to our permanent Library collection. Its always good to be reminded that sometimes the shortest prayers are the most effective. Sometimes, simply by saying ‘Help’ when we are at our most desperate is more effective than an hour-long treatise. And, remembering to say ‘Thank You’ when that answer to prayer comes (even if it wasn’t what we expected or even wanted) prepares us to say ‘Wow’ when we get a glimpse God at His most everything.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws – spectacular!

Reviewer: Jack




Small Victories

small victories

Small Victories
Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

Anne Lamott
Riverhead Books, 2014

From the dust jacket, “Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are irreverent and wise. Now, in Small Victories, she offers a message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she notes, but they change us – our perceptions and our perspectives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find meaning in getting lost and amazement each time we are finally found.

“Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.”

Another thoughtful and insightful book by Ms Lamott, this time with a focus on the Grace of God. Grace is what gets us through our daily lives, especially when we want to chuck it all and give up. We are reminded that God is with us through the small minutia of life all the way to the big stuff. We are reminded we are never left alone.

The essays are short and easily read but will stay with the reader a long time after putting the book down, although, it is on my list of “To-reread” books. Ms Lamott is at turns funny, sometimes shocking in her attitude, and continues her rants against the Bush presidency. But don’t let her left-wing politics keep you from reading the wisdom she shares. God’s children are a diverse bunch and Ms Lamott – in her post-hippie life is no exception.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws for helping me to see those improbable moments of Grace.

Reviewer: jack-loc Jack


Hallelujah, Anyway


Hallelujah, Anyway
Rediscovering Mercy

Anne Lamott
Riverhead Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “As we struggle to navigate an increasingly complex world and understand our place in it, mercy points the way forward, Anne Lamott writes in Hallelujah, Anyway. In this insightful, encouraging book, Lamott explains that it is mercy – the promise to offer and receive relief and forgiveness – that lies at the heart of all great faith traditions and our own spiritual identity. As it has for millennia, mercy gives us the chance to, in Lamott’s words, “soften ever so slightly” to understand one another more deeply. By embracing mercy, we give our families, our communities, and even ourselves the opportunity to see the world in gentler and more engaging ways. Mercy is the medicine, the light that shines in dark places.

“With the sensitivity, wisdom, and humor that have won her millions of readers, Anne Lamott explains the importance of mercy in our lives, the extraordinary power it can have if we welcome it, and the unexpected value of sharing it with others and with ourselves. As forthright as it is honest, as surprising as it is joyful, Hallelujah, Anyway reveals both universal truths and a path home.”

Another one of Anne Lamott’s books we here are LOC truly loved. Like her other books, it is highly readable – meaning, accessible to anyone (whereas some inspirational books are clearly written by and for theologians and other spiritual thinkers). She weaves personal stories with profound wisdom that you don’t even realize you’re learning something. The chapters are short, as is the book so even if you’re super busy with work, kittens and other stuff, you’ll still find the time to read this book. And, reading in short snippets would probably be best – you don’t want to miss any of the pearls by reading too quickly!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – yes, it is that good!

Reviewer: jack-locJack




A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Anne Lamott
Riverhead Group, 2013

From the dust jacket, “What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one another and to what’s sustaining, when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable?

“These questions lie at the heart of Stitches, Anne Lamott’s profound follow-up to her New York Times-bestselling Help, Thanks, Wow. In this book Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.

“Its in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor and humanity.”

There’s not much to add to the publisher’s blurb – my review can be summed up in two words: Read it.

Rating: 5 of 5 paws – I found nothing in the book to complain about or disagree with – Lamott’s prose is beautiful and her anecdotes are both haunting and inspiring. Love, love, love. On the list of required rereading.



The Message of the Birds

the message of the birds a

The Message of the Birds

Kate Westerlund
Pictures by Feridun Oral
Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd., 2011, 2014

From the dust jacket, “Long ago a special child was born, and animals everywhere heard in his coos a song of blessing and good will for all the creatures of the earth. But now the birds wonder why no one sings the song anymore. The old owl tells them, “People don’t listen. Some think the message is for others and not for them.”

The other birds are determined to bring the message to those they know will listen and understand – the children. And so they fly far and wide each singing the song of joy and peace, passing it on from bird to bird, and from child to child everywhere.”

In this lovely Christmas book, the soft illustrations and quiet text help to remind the reader to pray for the peace of the world. And while the Nativity is lovingly pictured, the Christ Child is mentioned as “Long ago in a simple stable, a child was born.” He is not portrayed as the long-awaited Messiah or the Son of God but as a child who came to bring a blessing to the world. This small detail means the book, and therefore its message is available to anyone of almost any faith because most faiths believe in a single God Who sent a messenger to earth to remind His children of His love for them.

For the kittens (and cats) who love birds, this book is for them – perfect for nap- or bedtime reading to ease the sleeper into peaceful dreams.

Rating 4 out of 5 books for a decidedly non-religious faith-based book.