Find the Good

Find the Good

Unexpected Life Lessons From A Small-town Obituary Writer

Book - 2015
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As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she's distilled what she's learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It's that simple--and that hard.

Quirky and profound, individual and universal, Find the Good offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit--and it is a habit--of seeing only the negatives. Lende reminds us that we can choose to see any event--starting a new job or being laid off from an old one, getting married or getting divorced--as an opportunity to find the good. As she says, "We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there's still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press."

Ever since Algonquin published her first book, the New York Times bestseller If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, Heather Lende has been praised for her storytelling talent and her plainspoken wisdom. The Los Angeles Times called her "part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott," and that comparison has never been more apt as she gives us a fresh, positive perspective from which to view our relationships, our obligations, our priorities, our community, and our world.

An antidote to the cynicism and self-centeredness that we are bombarded with every day in the news, in our politics, and even at times in ourselves, Find the Good helps us rediscover what's right with the world.

"Heather Lende's small town is populated with big hearts--she finds them on the beach, walking her granddaughters, in the stories of ordinary peoples' lives, and knits them into unforgettable tales. Find the Good is a treasure." --Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Owen's Daughter

" Find the Good is excellent company in unsteady times . . . Heather Lende is the kind of person you want to sit across the kitchen table from on a rainy afternoon with a bottomless cup of tea. When things go wrong, when things go right, her quiet, commonsense wisdom, self-examining frankness, and good-natured humor offer a chance to reset, renew, rebalance." --Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

"With gentle humor and empathy [Lende] introduces a number of people who provide examples of how to live well . . . [ Find the Good ] is simple yet profound." -- Booklist

"In this cynical world, Find the Good is a tonic, a literary wellspring, which will continue to run, and nurture, even in times of drought. What a brave and beautiful thing Heather Lende has made with this book." --John Straley, Shamus Award winner and former writer laureate of Alaska

"Heather Lende is a terrific writer and terrific company: intimate, authentic, and as quirky as any of her subjects." --Marilyn Johnson, author of The Dead Beat
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015
ISBN: 9781616201678
Characteristics: 162 pages ; 19 cm


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Nov 13, 2017

This book started out promising, until I realized the author, who is doling out advice on how to be a better person, is not in fact a good person. When their dog died and they were ready for a new one, they couldn't be bothered to go to a shelter so they bought one and had it shipped from 1,000 miles away. When her adult daughter became pregnant (and was very happy about it), she thought about asking her to have an abortion so she would have better job prospects when she finished college. I stopped reading at page 50.

Sep 29, 2016

I picked up this book, because I have been to Haines and also because I like reading obituaries! I didn't know what to expect, but really liked it. Lende is honest and funny. She writes about her little town with respect and humour. Forget about reading all those boring books about networking, community engagement and "place making"- Ms. Lende can show you how it's done.

Heather Lende is an obituary writer in the small Alaskan town of Haines – not your usual profession. Each of her three books renders some aspect of this “job” and you quickly realize that community is a real practice in her small town and just how central the obituary writer is in conveying the beauty and laughter and tenderness of each life in this close-knit community. In her latest book, Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer, Heather shares the moments in researching and writing an obituary where she finds the good in each life no matter how that life was lived. In a way, Heather Lende is a subject in each of her books but she has opened herself up more in Find the Good. Read all her books, they really are wonderful. ~Krista


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