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Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer
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Published:
Algonquin Books 2015
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Description
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
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/28/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781616204952
ASIN:
B00NLR6GV6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Heather Lende. (2015). Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer. Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Heather Lende. 2015. Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer. Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Heather Lende, Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer. Algonquin Books, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Heather Lende. Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer. Algonquin Books, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman's Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Her previous bestselling books are
        Find the Good, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. Lende was voted Citizen of the Year, Haines Chamber of Commerce, in 2004. Her website is www.heatherlende.com.

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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...

isOwnedByCollections
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title
Find the Good
fullDescription
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
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      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 23, 2015
        Lende (If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name) shares personal stories and inspirational insights gleaned through her career as an obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News, her local paper in Haines, Alaska. The title is a suggestion for finding happiness, and it also describes Lende’s aim when eulogizing local citizens such as Russ, who didn’t contact his family for 38 years yet kept every holiday card they sent him. The death of Clyde Bell, a seafood proprietor known for his chemtrail conspiracy theories, leaves the author contemplating people whose value goes unrecognized until they are gone. As for Lende’s own life, she recalls letting go of perfectionism and total control, particularly after her youngest daughter’s unexpected pregnancy, and creating connections whereever she can, whether on a daily dog walk or with a ragtag a cappella group. In the most poignant chapter, Lende attends the funeral of a friend who died of cancer, ultimately overcoming feelings of despair and finding the ability to “open clenched heart a little wider.” Lende vividly paints her motley cast of characters and their rugged Alaskan setting, and her homespun style provides easy access to some deep and nuanced examinations on life and death. Agent: Elizabeth Wales, Wales Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2015
        An unlikely source delivers tidbits on living well.An obituary writer might be the last person readers would expect to provide wise advice, but Alaska Dispatch News columnist Lende (Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: Family, Friendships, and Faith in Small-Town Alaska, 2010, etc.) turns out to have just the right perspective, as her job centers on finding and writing about the best part of each deceased person's life. In these short observations, the author examines what makes the people in the small town of Haines, Alaska, tick. She follows the intricate weave of relationships between family and friends that creates a close-knit community, and she expands on these ideas to create nuggets of insight universal to everyone. "Find the good" is the essence of living a noble, meaningful life, and Lende explores this mantra in a variety of ways. She writes of the fisherman who refused a good-paying state job so he could spend more time with his family; of the man who drowned because he had no life vest, which prompted the town to raise money for personal floatation suspenders for every fisherman; and of the woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who continued to teach because it brought her the greatest joy and forced her to live in the moment. Each brief life story is a distillation of the highs and lows of that person's life, and Lende considers the many unexpected ways in which ordinary people touched one another, even if they were not always aware of it. Honest and simple yet full of lasting strength, the author's prose demonstrates what makes a life better rather than worse-including something as simple as picking up heart-shaped stones on the beach with a grandchild. Optimistic, slightly humorous reflections on living a fully engaged, meaningful life.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2015
        You can learn a lot about life from death. As a newspaper obituary writer in a small town in Alaska, Lende has summed up her guidance for approaching life in the words find the good. Much like the phrase itself, the book is simple yet profound. Lende's insight stems from any number of moments, both with her family and with members of her close-knit community. With gentle humor and empathy, she introduces a number of people who provide examples of how to live well, from the fisherman who is always willing to put work aside for a visit, to the Swedish woman who exults in the tidy hotel she runs. Lende, author of the best-selling If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name (2005), knows how to keep things grounded enough in everyday struggles to avoid becoming overly saccharine. Her homespun stories will speak meaningfully to readers. The overarching message is that the life we get is precious, as obituary writer Lende knows so well, and should be lived in such a way as to create much good to be remembered by.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

subtitle
Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer
popularity
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publisher
Algonquin Books
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