Are you a writer who carries around a marked-up, tattered copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird in your knapsack? Perhaps you’re into spiritual journeys and are a fan of her Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. How about a reader who just loves good writing?

This giveaway is for you: Two ARCs of Lamott’s latest work, a novel called Imperfect Birds being released April 6 by Riverhead Books, are up for grabs. Here’s the description from the Penguin website:

A powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the bestselling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions.

Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She’s intelligent-she aced AP physics; athletic-a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family’s move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn’t been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared.

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth’s hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them-and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.

This is Anne Lamott’s most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us.

I haven’t read the book but think the idea is that we’re all imperfect birds. To enter, leave a comment telling me something about yourself you’d like to improve. I’ll go first: I wish I enjoyed cooking and grocery shopping more. I love a well-cooked meal but have no patience for selecting just the right melon or all that dicing and simmering. Sometimes I stand in front of the oven and yell, “Hurry up!” at the turkey inside.

Most of the time, we try to hide our flaws, but here’s a chance for you to get them out in the open and possibly be rewarded for your candor!

To be eligible, you also have to:

  • be a subscriber or Twitter follower (tell me which). Current subscribers/followers automatically get an extra entry; people who tweet about the giveaway get 3 entries
  • live in U.S. or Canada, no P.O. Boxes

Giveaway ends Wednesday, March 24, at 5 p.m. PST. Two names will be randomly drawn; winners will only be announced here and on Twitter and have 48 hours to reply with confirmation and address before alternate name(s) are chosen.

Let’s start the oversharing!



  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I love the idea of someone yelling at an oven to hurry with its cooking process!

    Something about myself I’d like to improve upon….

    I tend to spend money I don’t have while having faith that the money to pay the bills is just a week or two away. It is a really bad habit I am trying to control, especially in this economy.

    At least this didn’t cost anything, right? Free books are the best!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 6:37 am

    IMPERFECT BIRDS is the first Lamott book I’ve ever read and I loved it – unflinchingly honest and seriously heart wrenching. It was hard to read at times because the characters were so real and flawed and relatable… I highly recommend the book, but be prepared!

    Though I hate admitting weakness, my big one is my impatience. I have no tolerance for slow people, ineffective time usage and slow things, and I need to work on this! Even if I can’t change my impatient-ness, I need to increase my tolerance for others that don’t feel the same urgency… Or I need to take a Xanax.

    Thanks, PCN!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I’d like to improve upon the way my temper gets the best of me. I tend to get mad and do a large amount of swearing when I see people being mean for no reason whether it is to me or someone else. I should learn how to manipulate the situation a little better rather than lose my temper.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      I know what exactly what you mean, Eirego!

      I went before a judge yesterday to contest a traffic ticket. The officer showed up, but I didn’t care because I hadn’t done anything wrong, right?

      Before my “case” came up, the officer had drawn a diagram on the board illustrating how I had failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Besides my knowing that I had indeed stopped (in that neighborhood, you take your life into your own hands by not doing so), the officer showed that his vision was blocked by another vehicle and the officer’s sight line. Beyond that, he put the wrong date next to the diagram AND spelled my name wrong even though he was working from his own notes!! I pointed out to the judge that the vehicle blocking the officer’s sight line was an SUV, which would have completely obscured any view whatsoever of my little car, the wrong date, my misspelled name, that a silver car (mine) on a gray and rainy day is not so easy to see and that the officer was wearing really thick glasses (which he did not have on that day).

      The judge never even looked up from whatever freaking crossword puzzle he was doing. He said, “Guilty” and that was that. It was one of the most frustrating days of my life. AND the officer waited for me outside and followed me in his car to where I had parked. I got in, made a few phone calls and waited for him to leave. He did, but not without a few glares first. I found him sitting at the same intersection where he pulled me over originally. I made a 10 second stop at the same stop sign and kept it at 15mph the rest of the way into my garage.

      Not so sure this is the America our founding fathers envisioned.

      BUT I kept my temper and didn’t lose it.

      What I would like to improve upon is my legal maneuvering skills.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I love Anne Lamot–Bird by Bird is one of my favorites. One thing I would like to change is my tendency to get caught up in the little things. I tend to get run down by little things like email, trips to the overcrowded/understocked grocery store, laundry, etc. I sometimes get so caught up in the mundane things that I forget to stop and realize that I live in a beautiful place with a great job and lots of supportive friends and family. The little things are just that–little things.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I would like to improve my job getting abilities.

  • Reply
    Charlotte Cecilia
    March 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    My biggest two flaws are: I am too lazy to clean up the house. I hate cleaning up! Second one is I buy way too many books. I just can’t stop myself. I love books so much and love being surrounded with them.

  • Reply
    Laura Carter
    March 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    My biggest fault is my big mouth. I yak, yak when I shouldn’t. At work and at home, big mouth. I wish I could hold my tongue better.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    March 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    What lovely prizes ~ all the best to those entering!

    I can relate on the grocery-shopping!! Something about myself that I’d like to improve on is my lack of decisiveness. I think I used to be more decisive than I am now, but I’m not really sure. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 17, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I have a problem with time management. I always think I have enough time to do something and then realize at the last minute that I don’t and then I panic. This started way back in school with those standardized tests. I’d take my time on the first few questions and then all of a sudden the teacher would say I had 5 minutes left and I still had 20 questions to go. ACK!!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Hi, I loved Lamott’s “Bird by Bird.” Also enjoyed “Blue Shoes” (I think that was the title). Anyway, my current main faults are not keeping the house clean (hi, Charlotte Cecelia *waves*) & being too lazy to exercise.

    I tweeted this giveaway (my Twitter name is @Storeetllr) and think I follow you and am subscribed to your blog, but am not sure. If not, I’ll change that right now.

    Thanks for having such a great giveaway.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Great contest, Amazing Author 🙂

    I subscribe to your blog, and have tweeted about the contest.

    My big fault is that I don’t faithfully set aside the time to do the things I want to do that could help change my future course. Rather I work on everyone else’s projects… or 🙁 surf the net. I need to sit down and spend my time pursuing my own projects interests and passions on a consistent basis. I’m @amibelle & am an avoid-my-excellence-aholic 🙂

  • Reply
    Francine Phillips
    March 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’m sitting at my desk, eyes closed, chin shoved up against my fist above the spot where my elbow is propped too high. It twists my head. It hurts my neck.

    Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace.

    I repeat the word like some kind of mantra. Some kind of prayer. I sit frozen in that place, caught up in the repetition with the fierceness of a obsessive/compulsive disorder patient walking on a mosaic floor.

    My neck hurts and I finally put my arm down and hang my head. Like some kind of prayer.

    I hate my husband.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I’d like to stop myself from keeping my feelings in for so long until I blow up.

    I’m a twitter follower@dawnpnr

  • Reply
    Laura DeLuca
    March 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

    subscribe and follow on twitter (gabbylowe)

  • Reply
    March 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I wish I were better about housekeeping. A very little bit goes a long way with me, and there is NEVER a very little bit.

  • Reply
    Jen - Devourer of Books
    March 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I just subscribed to your feed.

    I’d improve my ability to just sit down and do a task. I’m just about the world’s biggest procrastinator, and sometimes it just ends up stressing me out, so I’d love to change that and be all efficient and such.

  • Reply
    Erin Popelka
    March 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I just started following you on Twitter. Looking forward to your tweets!

    I wish I was more deliberate with my time. I always end up with way too much on my plate.

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