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Writing Life
Annie Dillard
0060919884
September 1990
Paperback
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Book Review
Annie Dillard has spent a lot of time in remote, bare-bones shelters doing something she claims to hate: writing. Slender though it is, The Writing Life richly conveys the torturous, tortuous, and in rare moments, transcendent existence of the writer. Even for Dillard, whose prose is so mellifluous as to seem effortless, the act of writing can seem a Sisyphean task: "When you write," she says, "you lay out a line of words.... Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow or this time next year." Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously. "One of the few things I know about writing is this:...


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Annie Dillard
0060953020
October 1998
Paperback
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-- Eudora Welty, New York Times Book Review
"The book is a form of meditation, written with headlong urgency, about seeing. A reader's heart must go out to a young writer with a sense of wonder so fearless and unbridled...There is an ambition about her book that I like...It is the ambition to feel."

From AudioFile
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a series of interconnected essays which challenge the listener to contemplate the natural world beyond its commonplace surfaces. Cassidy's lively, youthful voice is perfect for Dillard's beautiful alliterative phrasing, glorious imagery, and inspired themes. Cassidy's interpretation shimmers with the meanings of this energetic, Thoreauvian ramble through Nature's seasons and secrets. Coming across a cedar tree one day, Dillard sees...


American Childhood
Annie Dillard
0060915188
September 1988
Paperback
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Book Review
Annie Dillard remembers. She remembers the exhilaration of whipping a snowball at a car and having it hit straight on. She remembers playing with the skin on her mother's knuckles, which "didn't snap back; it lay dead across her knuckle in a yellowish ridge." She remembers the compulsion to spend a whole afternoon (or many whole afternoons) endlessly pitching a ball at a target. In this intoxicating account of her childhood, Dillard climbs back inside her 5-, 10-, and 15-year-old selves with apparent effortlessness. The voracious young Dillard embraces headlong one fascination after another--from drawing to rocks and bugs to the French symbolists. "Everywhere, things snagged me," she writes. "The visible world turned me curious to books; the books propelled me reeling back to the...


Holy the Firm
Annie Dillard
0060915439
Sept 1988
Paperback
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-- New York Times Book Review
"A book of great richness, beauty and power."

Book Description
In 1975 Annie Dillard took up residence on an island in Puget Sound in a wooded room furnished with "one enormous window, one cat, one spider and one person." For the next two years she asked herself questions about time, reality, sacrifice death, and the will of God. In Holy the Firm she writes about a moth consumed in a candle flame, about a seven-year-old girl burned in an airplane accident, about a baptism on a cold beach. But behind the moving curtain of what she calls "the hard things -- rock mountain and salt sea," she sees, sometimes far off and sometimes as close by as a veil or air, the power play of holy fire. This is a profound book about the natural world -- both its beauty and its cruelty...


For the Time Being
Annie Dillard
0375703470
February 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
Over the last three decades, Annie Dillard has written about an uncommon number of things--predators and prose, astronomy and evolution, the miraculous survival of mangroves. Yet the sheer range of her interests can be deceptive. Whatever the subject, Dillard is always (as she wrote in Living by Fiction) practicing unlicensed metaphysics in a teacup, always asking the fundamental questions about life and death. And this epistemological interrogation continues in For the Time Being. Here Dillard alternates accounts of her own travels to China and Israel with ruminations on sand, clouds, obstetrics, and Hasidic thought. She also records the wanderings of paleontologist and spade-wielding spiritualist Teilhard de Chardin, whose itinerary (geographical and philosophical) has certain similarities to her own. But as she ties...


Living by Fiction
Annie Dillard
0060915447
Sept 1988
Paperback
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Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times
"Everyone who timidly, bombastically, reverently, scholastically--even fraudulently--essays to 'live the life of the mind' should read this book. It's elegant and classy, like caviar and champagne, and like these two items, it's over much too soon."

Vance Bourjaily, New York Times Book Review
"Living by Fiction is a stimulating book, one of those in which quality of thought and felicity of prose seem consequences of one another."

See all Editorial Reviews


Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
Tracy Kidder
0375506160
September 2003
Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Thought-provoking and profoundly satisfying, this book will inspire feelings of humility, admiration, and disquietude; in some readers, it may sow the seeds of humanitarian activism. As a specialist in infectious diseases, Farmer's goal is nothing less than redressing the "steep gradient of inequality" in medical service to the desperately poor. His work establishing a complex of public health facilities on the central plateau of Haiti forms the keystone to efforts that now encompass initiatives on three continents. Farmer and a trio of friends began in the 1980s by creating a charitable foundation called Partners in Health (PIH, or Zanmi Lasante in Creole), armed with passionate conviction and $1 million in seed money from a Boston philanthropist. Kidder provides anecdotal evidence that...


Three by Annie Dillard
Annie Dillard
0060920645
Nov 1990
Paperback
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Book Description
A stunning collection of Annie Dillard's most popular books in one volume.

About the Author
Annie Dillard is the author of ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, as well as An American Childhood, The Living, and Mornings Like This. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Dillard attended Hollins College in Virginia. After living for five years in the Pacific Northwest, she returned to the East Coast, where she lives with her family.


Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
Tracy Kidder
0812973011
August 2004
Paperback
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Review
“In this excellent work, Pulitzer Prize—winner Kidder immerses himself in and beautifully explores the rich drama that exists in the life of Dr. Paul Farmer…Throughout, Kidder captures the almost saintly effect Farmer has on those whom he treats.”
-Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“[A] Skilled and graceful exploration of the soul of an astonishing human being.”
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A fine writer and his extraordinary subject: Tracy Kidder, in giving us Paul Farmer, lifts up an image of hope–and challenge–that the world urgently needs. Simply put, this is an important book.” -James Carroll, author of Constantine's Sword

“The central character of this...


Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
Annie Dillard
0060915412
September 1988
Paperback
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-- Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times
"This little book is haloed and informed throughout by Dillard's distinctive passion and intensity, a sort of intellectual radiance that reminds me both Thoreau and Emily Dickinson."

-- Robert Taylor, Boston Globe
"The natural world is ignited by her prose and we see the world as an incandescent metaphor of the spirit...Few writers evoke better than she the emotion of awe, and few have ever conveyed more graphically the weight of silence, the force of the immaterial."

See all Editorial Reviews


Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
Manufactured by Orbis Books
1570755418
September 2004
Paperback
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An Annie Dillard Reader
Annie Dillard
0060926600
Oct 1995
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize winner Dillard (Piligrim at Tinker Creek), a writer of acute and singular observation, gathers poems, short stories, essays and chapters of novels from her diverse body of work. While most of these selections have been previously published, included is a reworked version of the short story "The Living," first published in 1978 in Harper's and from which the characters in the novel of the same title were drawn. There's also a new version of Holy the Firm, Dillard's meditation on and explanation of her search for God in everyday life. This sort of sampler approach works well for a writer whose prose-fiction and non-fiction-often reads like a journal; it also suits readers who like to browse. Dillard moves easily from the specific and physical to the theoretical and metaphysical, blending...


Mornings Like This
Annie Dillard
0060927259
June 1996
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Found poems are to their poet what no-fault insurance is to beneficiaries: payoffs waiting to happen where everyone wins and no one is blamed. Dillard culls about 40 such happy accidents from sources as diverse as a The American Boys Handy Book (1882) and the letters of Van Gogh. Taking the texts nearly verbatim but toying with theme and line breaks, the poet aims for a lucky, loaded symbolism that catapults the reader into an epiphany never imagined by the original authors. If parts of this collection fall short of that ideal, there are plenty of chuckles and some beautiful turns of phrase. Poems of joy tend to fare better than the more somber efforts. It is hard to play serious with a style that relies on techniques more common in comedy, such as understatement ("Another legal situation/ Is death") and double...


Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
Ted Kooser
080327811X
March 2004
Paperback
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From Booklist
Season by season, Kooser reflects upon life in, around, and beyond his home nestled in the rolling hills of eastern Nebraska, an area he slyly calls the "Bohemian alps," then honors the German and Czech immigrants who originally settled the area by liberally scattering their inspirational homilies throughout his essays. His are sweet little observations, nothing monumental or earth-shattering, just the everyday kind of occurrences we've all been privy to: the satisfaction that comes from cleaning the garage, the possibilities that can occur when answering a wrong number. An artist and poet, Kooser takes delight in the ordinary treasures found in one's own backyard: "If you can awaken inside the familiar and discover it new," he says, "you need never leave home." Kooser is full of other such gentle, homespun wisdom: what...


Modern American Memoirs
Annie Dillard
0060927631
Oct 1996
Paperback
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From Library Journal
Annie Dillard and publisher Cort Conley have collected excerpts from the memoirs of 35 20th-century American authors. The selections represent the best in autobiographical writing published between 1917 and 1992. Included are nine women and 26 men, both black and white, some better known than others, all distinguished writers and wonderful storytellers. Chris Offutt's "The Same River Twice" tells about the author's stint working in the circus; Anne Moody's "Coming of Age in Mississippi" describes her participation in the 1963 Woolworth sit-in. The editors precede each entry with a biographical and contextual note. There's an opening essay on the art of the memoirist and an afterword listing additional classics in the genre. This rich collection serves as an introduction to the nation's best modern writers and a...


The Living
Annie Dillard
006092411X
April 1993
Paperback
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Book Review
Listening to Lawrence Luckinbill read Annie Dillard's historical novel The Living takes a little getting used to. The very first sentence reveals a pronounced and distracting lisp, but don't let that dissuade you from continuing. Luckinbill's voice also exhibits a simple honesty, a gruffness that is perfectly suited to the steely pioneer spirit of Dillard's story. Surprisingly quickly, the vocal idiosyncrasy fades away, leaving only the emotional resonance of Luckenbill's obviously heartfelt connection to this powerful tale.

Dillard's finely crafted prose and Luckinbill's sincere voice carry you back to the early days of American expansion, into the truly Wild West and the stone-hard life these settlers would be forced to endure. "She had cried out to God all day and maybe all night, too, that he would lend her strength...


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