Read Three by Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life by Annie Dillard Online


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Title : Three by Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life
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ISBN : 9780060920647
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Number of Pages : 617 Pages
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Three by Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life Reviews

  • Joan Winnek
    2018-12-20 21:22

    I'm still in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and think I will stop for the time being when I reach the end. Too many other books flooding in, both from the library and my mad amazon spending spree.I appreciate Annie Dillard's compendium of observation, the diverse and fascinating data that salts this book, and the beauty of her writing.I've finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and enjoyed it, although it isn't the kind of book I usually read. I will come back to the other two books later.I have read it alternating with The Left Coast, which I'm almost finished with, and it has been an interesting juxtaposition. Both books about place, but approached very differently. I found myself wishing Dillard's book had photographs. Son Fradkin's photos add immensely to father Fradkin's well-researched and fascinating narrative pieces.As a Californian for more than sixty years, I am familiar with much of the coast: I lived in San Diego from age nine to eighteen, and in the San Francisco Bay Area since then. I have visited Virginia only once, in 1976, when I camped with my husband and two children in the Blue Ridge during a cross-country driving adventure. I was there on my birthday (#37, eons ago), and we saw an owl.

  • Cheryl
    2019-01-08 22:14

    Totally cheating, I just wanted to fit more quotes from Pilgrim here.This is it, I think, this is it, right now, the present, this empty gas station, here, this western wind, this tang of coffee on the tongue, and I am patting the puppy, I am watching the mountain. And the second I verbalize this awareness in my brain, I cease to see the mountain or feel the puppy. I am opaque, so much black asphalt. I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your love in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia.That I ended this experience prematurely for myself-that I drew scales over my eyes and gloved my hand between me and the puppy-is not the only point. After all, it would have ended anyway. I’ve never seen a sunset or felt a wind that didn’t. The levitating saints came down at last, and their two feet bore real weight. No the point is that not only does time fly and do we die, but that in these reckless conditions, we live at all, and are vouchsafed, for the duration of certain inexplicable moments, to know it.Stephen Graham, in the Gentle Art of Tramping, wrote, “And as you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged on the shingly beach of a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.” That great door opens on the present, illuminates it as with a multitude of flashing torches. I had thought, because I had seen the tree with the lights in it, that the great door, by definition, opens on eternity. Now that I have ‘patted the puppy’-now that I have experienced the present purely through my senses- I discover that, although the door to the tree with the lights in it was opened from eternity, as it were, and shone on that tree eternal lights, it nevertheless opened on the real and present cedar. It opened on time…Seeing the tree with the lights in it was an experience vastly different in quality as well as import from patting the puppy. On that cedar tree shone, however, briefly, the steady, inward flames of eternity; across the mountain by the gas station raced the familiar flames of the falling sun. But on both occasions, I thought, with rising exultation, this is it, this is it; praise the lord; praise the land. Experiencing the present purely is being emptied and hollow; you catch grace as a man fills his cup under a waterfall. Self-consciousness is the curse of the city and all that sophistication implies. It is the glimpse of oneself in a storefront window, the unbidden awareness of reactions on the faces of other people- the novelist’s world, not the poet’s. I’ve lived there. I remember what the city has to offer; human companionship, major league baseball, and a clatter of quickening stimulus like a rush from strong drugs that leaves you drained. I remember how you bide your time in the city, and think, if you stop to think, “next year, I’ll start living…next year I’ll start my life.” Innocence is a better world. Innocence sees that this is it, and finds it world enough, and time. Innocence is not the prerogative of infants and puppies, and far less of mountains and fixed stars, which have no prerogatives at all. It is not lost to us; the world is a better place than that. Like any other of the spirit’s good gifts, it is there if you want it, free for the asking, as has been stressed by stronger words than mine. It is possible to pursue innocence as hounds pursue hares; singlemindledly, driven by a kind of love, crashing over creeks, keening and lost in fields and forests, circling, vaulting over hedges and hills wide-eyed, giving loud tongue all unawares to the deepest, most incomprehensible longing, a root-flame in the heart, and that warbling chorus resounding back from the mountains, hurling itself from ridge to ridge over the valley, now faint, now clear ringing the air through which the hounds tear, open-mouthed, the echoes of their own wails dimly knocking in their lungs. What I call innocence is the spirit’s unselfconscious state at any moment of pure devotion to any object. It is at once a receptiveness and total concentration. One needn’t be, shouldn’t be reduced to a puppy. If you wish to tell me that the city offers galleries, I’ll pour you a drink and enjoy your company while it lasts; but I’ll bear with me to my grave those pure moments at the Tate (was it the Tate?) where I stood planted, open-mouthed, born, before that one particular canvas, that river, up to my neck, gasping, lost, receding into watercolor depth and depth to the vanishing point, buoyant, awed, and had to be literally hauled away. These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present. The color-patches of vision part, shift, and reform as I move through space in time. The present is the object of vision, and what I see before me at any given second is a full field of color patches scattered just so. The configuration will never be repeated. Living is moving’ time is a live creek bearing changing lights. As I move, or as the world moves around me, the fullness of what I see shatters. “Last forever!” Who hasn’t prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying; it is a canvas, nevertheless. I like the slants of light; I’m a collector. There is a good one, that bit of bank there, that patch of light from the creek on the bark.But there is more to the present than a series of snapshots. We are not merely sensitized film; we have feelings, a memory for information and an eidetic memory for the imagery of our pasts. Our layered consciousness is a tiered track for an unmatched assortment of concentrically wound reels. Each one plays out for all of life its dazzle and blur of translucent shadow-pictures; each one hums at every moment its own secret melody in its own unique key. We tune in and out. But moments are not lost. Time out of mind is time nevertheless, cumulative, informing the present. From even the deepest slumber you wake with a jolt- older, closer to death, and wiser, grateful for breath. But time is the one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time. Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.I want to think about trees. Trees have a curious relationship to the subject of the present moment. There are many created things in the universe that outlive us, that outlive the sun, even, but I can’t think about them. I live with trees. There are creatures under our feet, creatures that live over our heads, but trees live quite convincingly in the same filament of air we inhabit, and in addition, they extend impressively in both directions, up and down, shearing rock and fanning air, doing their real business just out of reach. Xerxes, I read, ‘halted his unwieldy army for days that he might contemplate to his satisfaction’ the beauty of a single sycamore. You are Xerxes in Persia. Your army spreads on a vast and arid peneplain…you call to you all your sad captions, and give the order to halt. You have seen the tree with the lights in it, haven’t you? You must have. Xerxes buffeted on a plain, ambition drained in a puff. Your men are bewildered…there is nothing to catch the eye in this flatness, nothing but a hollow, hammering sky, a waste of sedge in the lee of windblown rocks, a meager ribbon of scrub willow tracing a slumbering watercourse…and that sycamore. You saw it; you will stand rapt and mute, exalted, remembering or not remembering over a period of days to shade your head with your robe. “He had its form wrought upon a medal of gold to help him remember it the rest of his life.” We all ought to have a goldsmith following us around. But it goes without saying, doesn’t it, Xerxes, that no gold medal worn around your neck will bring back the glad hour, keep those lights kindled so long as you live, forever present? Pascal saw it; he grabbed pen and paper and scrawled the one word, and wore it sewn in his shirt the rest of his life. I don’t know what Pascal saw. I saw a cedar. Xerxes saw a sycamore. And under the cicadas, deeper down that the longest taproot, between and beneath the rounded black rocks and slanting slabs of sandstone in the earth, ground water is creeping. Ground water seeps and slides, across and down, across and down, leaking from here to there, minutely at a rate of a mile a year. What a tug of waters goes on! There are flings and pulls in every direction at every moment. The world is a wild wrestle under the grass; earth shall be moved. What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet, the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger; feel the now. Spring is seeping north, towards me and away from me, at sixteen miles a day. Along estuary banks of tidal rivers all over the world, snails in black cluster like currants are gliding up and down the stems of reed and sedge, migrating every moment with the dip and swing of tides. Behind me, Tinker Mountain is eroding one thousandth of an inch a year. The sharks I saw are roving up and down the coast. If the sharks cease roving, if they still their twist and rest for a moment, they die. They need new water pushed into their gills; they need dance. Somewhere east of me, on another continent, it is sunset, and starlings in breathtaking bands are winding high in the sky to their evening roost. The mantis egg cases are tied to the mock-orange hedge; within each case, within each egg, cells elongate, narrow, and split; cells bubble and curve inward, align, harden or hollow or stretch. And where are you now?Live water heals memories. I look up the creek and here it comes, the future, being borne aloft as on a winding succession of laden trays. You may wake and look from the window and breathe the real air, and say, with satisfaction or longing, “This is it.” But if you look up the creek, if you look up in the creek in any weather, your spirit fills, and you are saying, with an exulting rise of the lungs, “Here it comes!” Here it comes. In the far distance I can see the concrete bridge where the road crosses the creek. Under the bridge and beyond it the water is flat and silent, blued by distance and stilled by depth. It is so much sky, a fallen shred caught in the cleft of banks. But it pours. The channel here is straight as an arrow; grace is itself an archer. Between the dangling wands of bankside willows, and Osage orange, I see the creek pour down. It spills toward me streaming over a series of sandstone tiers, down and down, and down. I feel as though I stand at the foot of an infinitely high staircase, down which some exuberant spirit is flinging tennis ball after tennis ball, eternally, and the one thing I want in the world is a tennis ball.It is sheer coincidence that my hunk of the creek is strewn with boulders. I never merited this grace, that when I face upstream I scent the virgin breath of mountains, I feel a spray of mist on my cheeks and lips, I hear a ceaseless splash and susurrus, a sound of water not merely poured smoothly down air to fill a stead pool, but tumbling live about, over, under, around, between, though an intricate speckling of rock. It is sheer coincidence that upstream from me the creek’s bed is ridged in horizontal croppings of sandstone. I never merited this grace, that when I face upstream I see the light on the water careening towards me, inevitably, freely, down a graded series of terraces like the balanced winged platforms on infinite, inexhaustible font. “Ho, if you are thirsty, come down to the water; ho if you are hungry, come sit and eat.” This is the present, at last. This is the now , this flickering, broken light, this air that the wind of the future presses down my throat, pumping me buoyant giddy with praise. My god, I look at the creek. It is the answer to Merton’s prayer, “Give us time!” It never stops. If I seek the senses and skills of children, the information of a thousand books, the innocence of puppies, even the insights of my own city past, I do so only, solely, entirely that I might look well at the creek. You don’t run down the present, pursue it with baited hooks and nets. You wait for it, empty-handed, and you are filled. You’ll have fish left over. The creek is the one great giver. Here is the word from a subatomic physicist: “everything that has already happened is particles, everything in the future is waves.” Let me twist his meaning. Here it comes. The particles are broken; the waves are translucent, laving, roiling with beauty like sharks. The present is the wave that explodes over my head, flinging the air with particles at the height of its breathless unroll; it is the live water and light that bears from undisclosed sources, the freshest news, renewed and renewing, world without end. Some reputable scientists, even today, are not wholly satisfied with the notion that the song of birds is strictly and solely a territorial claim. It’s an important point. We’ve been on earth all these years and we still don’t know for certain why birds sing. We need someone to unlock the code to the foreign language and give us the key; we need a new Rosetta stone. Today I watched and heard a wren, a sparrow, and the mockingbird sing. My brain started to trill, why why why, what is the meaning meaning meaning? It’s not that they know something we don’t; we know much more than they do, and surely they don’t even know why they sing. No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singling. If the mockingbird were chirping to give us the long-sought formulae for a unified field theory, the point would be only slightly less irrelevant. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful? The question is there since I take it as given as I have said, that beauty is something objectively performed- the tree that falls in the forest- having being externally, stumbled across, or missed, as real and present as both sides of the moon…If the lyric is simply, mine mine mine, then why the extravagance of the score? It has the liquid, intricate sound of every creek’s tumble over every configuration of rock creek-bottom in the country. Beauty itself is the language to which we have no key; it is the mute cipher, the cryptogram, the uncracked, unbroken code. And it could be that for beauty there is no key, that it will never make sense in our language but only in its own, and that we need to start all over again, on a new continent, learning the strange syllables one by one. I am sitting here, you are sitting there. Say even that you are sitting across the kitchen table from me right now. Our eyes meet; a consciousness snaps back and forth. What we know, at least for starters, is: here we- so incontrovertibly- are. This is our life, these are our lighted seasons, and then we die. In the meantime, in between time, we can see. The scales are fallen from our eyes, the cataracts are cut away, and we can work at making sense of the color-patches we see in an effort to discover where we so incontrovertibly are. I am as passionately interested in where I am as is a lone sailor sans sextant in a ketch on an open ocean. I have at the moment a situation which allows me to devote considerable hunks of time to seeing what I can see, and trying to piece it together. I’ve learned the name of some color-patches, but not the meanings. I’ve read books; I’ve gathered statistics feverishly: the average temperature of our planet is 57 degrees F…The average size of all living animals, including man, is almost that of a housefly. The earth is mostly granite, which is mostly oxygen…In these Appalachians we have found a coal bed with 120 seams, meaning 120 forests that just happened to fall into water…I would like to see it all, to understand it, but I must start somewhere, so I try to deal with the giant water bug in Tinker Creek and the flight of three hundred redwings from an Osage orange and let those who dare worry about the birthrate and population explosion among solar systems. So I think about the valley. And it occurs to me more and more that everything I have seen is wholly gratuitous. The giant water bug’s predations, the frog’s croak, the tree with the lights in it are not in any real sense necessary per se to the world or its creator. Nor am I. The creation in the first place, being itself, is the only necessity for which I would die, and I shall. The point about that being, as I know it here and see it, is that as I think about it, it accumulates in my mind as an extravagance of minutiae. The sheer fringe and network of detail assumes primary importance. That there are so many details seems to be the most important and visible face about creation. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, then look at the trees; when you’ve looked at enough trees, you’ve seen a forest, you’ve got it. If the world is gratuitous, then the fringe of a goldfish’s fin is a million times more so. The first question- the one crucial one- of the creation of the universe and the existence of something as a sign and an affront to nothing is a blank one…. The old Kabbalistic phrase is “the Mystery of the Splintering of the Vessels.” The words refer to the shrinking or imprisonment of essences within the various husk-covered forms of emanation or time. The Vessels splintered and solar systems spun; ciliated rotifers whirled in still water, and newts laid tracks in the silt-bottomed creek. Not only did the Vessels splinter; they splintered exceeding fine. Intricacy then is the subject, the intricacy of the created world. You are God. You want to make a forest, something to hold the soil, lock up energy, and give off oxygen. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to rough in a slab of chemicals, a green acre of goo? You are a man, a retired railroad worker who makes replicas as a hobby. You decide to make a replica of one tree, the longleaf pine your great-grandfather planted- just a replica- it doesn’t have to work. How are you going to do it? How long do you think you might live, how good is your glue? For one thing, you are going to have to dig a hole and stick your replica trunk halfway to China if you want the thing to stand up. Because you will have to work fairly big; if your replica is too small, you’ll be unable to handle the slender, three-sided needles, affix them in clusters of three in fascicles, and attach those laden fascicles to flexible twigs. The twigs themselves must be covered by “many silvery-white, fringed, long-spreading scales.” Are your pine cones’ scales “thin, flat, rounded at the apex?” When you loose the lashed copper wire trussing the limbs to the trunk, the whole tree collapses like an umbrella.

  • Erin W
    2019-01-17 16:19

    I deeply admire what Annie Dillard does. She has a way of crafting an essay in which readers learn little to nothing about her actual life, but feel as though they've been given a glimpse of something very personal. She has a way of achieving poignancy within these hugely intellectual/philosophical musings of hers and I think it comes from her ability to craft an indelible image and build upon it.The Writing Life was, weirdly, the least interesting of the three for me. I had just read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which is so amazing, that Dillard's felt a little flat. I had hoped to learn more about the nuts and bolts of what she does, the practical side, but this text veers too far into the philosophical.An American Childhood is gentle and nostalgic; it has a very serialized feel, with each chapter delving into a particular memory, so that it can be read in spurts and bursts. It's about kids riding their bikes down streets bathed by lamplight. It's about grass stains on the knees of your pants. It's about girls in party dresses going to church-sponsored dances and whispering behind their gloved hands about the boys. It's beautiful through and through.Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is Dillard's most famous work. It's all about Dillard living in a cabin in rural Virginia, walking through fields and swamps, observing bugs and frogs, and thinking about life. Her obvious jumping-off point is Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, which I read years ago. Both of these books—Thoreau’s and Dillard’s—are amazing pieces of American literature / philosophy, and it makes me feel like a total philistine, or someone entirely lacking in spiritual being, not to care for them. But I kinda don’t. I don’t like nature. I like couches. I like store-bought food. I like disinfectant. Still, Dillard made me feel, at least momentarily, like my rebellion is totally futile. That, I think is her main objective.

  • Becky Norman
    2019-01-12 14:23

    I first read this 3-work set by Dillard almost 30 years ago and some of the imagery is so vivid that I have remembered it to this day. I'm embarrassed to say it took me 5 months to read it this time around; it's not that I was disinterested, but I felt the subject matter was so weighty it deserved a slow, savoring read. The first time I read this, I was in my late teens/early 20s and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek was my favorite of the three essays. This time, An American Childhood really resounded with me and I have been inspired by The Writing Life. I now live on a hobby farm and found that Pilgrim at Tinker Creek left me feeling slightly fatalistic since I've been witness to the harsher side of Nature on more than one occasion myself. I'm not sure I wanted the reminder, regardless of how eloquently it was portrayed.An American Childhood and The Writing Life, on the other hand, spoke closer to my heart at present. They were more upbeat, more nostalgic and allowed a brief glimpse of the introspective, brilliant mind of Dillard.

  • LauraYan
    2019-01-07 22:29

    I just finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and I think it time to take a break from Annie Dillard and come back to the rest later. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a beautiful book, slow reading, a book on seeing, and curiosity, and learning from the minutia of nature. It's made me pay more attention to the world of tiny things around me, and marvel at all of nature's graphic contradictions and possibilities, and the extraordinary weirdness of insects. I also think Eudora Welty put it perfectly in her 1974 NYT review of this book, there are times when "I honestly do not know what she is talking about." Oh well!

  • Arielcatheryne
    2018-12-23 17:18

    I am not much for nature in literature or even poetry. So it speaks very highly in my eyes that Annie Dillard can talk so much about nature that is quite interesting to me. :-D

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-06 15:23

    In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I was a part of the picture of nature. The scientific and mythologic context of nature and people are breaded throughout the pages. An Eskimo tale that is unforgettable to me:“Is beauty itself an intricately fashioned lure, the cruelest hoax of all? There is a certain fragment of an ancient and involved Eskimo tale I read in Farley Mowat that for years has risen, unbidden, in my mind. The fragment is a short scenario, observing all the classical unities, simple and cruel, and performed by the light of a soapstone seal-oil lamp:A young man in a strange land falls in love with a young woman and takes her to wife in her mother’s tent. By day the women chew skins and boil meat while the young man hunts. But the old crone is jealous; she wants the boy. Calling her daughter to her one day, she offers to braid her hair; the girl sits pleased, proud, and soon is strangled by her own hair. One thing Eskimos know is skinning. The mother takes her curved hand knife shaped like a dancing skirt, skins her daughter’s beautiful face, and presses that empty flap smooth on her own skull. When the boy returns that night he lies with her, in the tent on top of the world. But he is wet from hunting; the skin mask shrinks and slides, uncovering the shriveled face of the old mother, and the boy flees in horror, forever..."

  • Sean
    2018-12-20 20:12

    There are three books in this book, the first is A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and that is which I've read.I bought this because J.D. Jespersen recommended it, and both professors Carl and Colpitts read from it and other Annie Dillard while we worked in our art classes. I started it not really sure what the point was, and I finished the same. Whatever compelled her to write all this down, however, I am incredibly grateful for because I was fascinated from start to finish. Basically, she gives a description of her surroundings, but not in a general way (I'm not sure she even mentions what state, let alone what town she is in) or in specific (she never distinctly lays out a map of her exact surroundings), but in tangent. She mentions something from the nature around her, and then goes on terrific tangents imparting all sorts of knowledge she's gathered about or related to whatever it was she came across that day. I found it somewhat familiar to Nature and other science magazine articles, but as if it was the Nature issue related only to Tinker Creek, but also involving reflection and narrative and wisdom and other connected secondary and tertiary thoughts conveyed in a more engaging manner.

  • Deseret Baker
    2019-01-06 15:33

    This happens to be my favorite book, and has been since the tender year that I was a fumbling sophomore in college, meeting "An American Childhood" for the first time. This book and I - we would meet again and again over the years, sometimes in a seemingly never-ending succession, sometimes at intervals that re-created the magic, the lump in my throat that made me fall in love with this work in the first place.I cannot adequately frame with words that find themselves paltry, and simultaneously bare, the astonishment I have felt at finding my own life's sentiment so elegantly expressed in this work. It has moved me, deeply. Growing up - sometimes you forget the dream world of childhood, where magic existed. Surely it did - just beyond the bend. The goal then, was to run fast enough, silently enough, to catch it before it sensed your approach. “Thank you” is such a foolish, inadequate thing to say to someone when the gift they've given was so personal, so wide.

  • Leah
    2018-12-24 20:39

    Annie Dillard is worthy of her many accolades she has received and Tinker Creek and An American Childhood are two of her best works. The Writing Life, is less strong, but is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at her process. Dillard has a eye for finding immediacy and meaning in small moments in a way that doesn't feel hackneyed or forced and descriptions are lovely. My only fault with these books is that Dillard uses a handful of the same stories in both Childhood and Tinkercreek, but they are stoires i would willingly read again and again.

  • Sheherazahde
    2019-01-13 17:27

    "The world's spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind's muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects act and rest purely, without utterance." p19

  • Sean
    2019-01-15 22:25

    I read all of these books separately but they're three of her best. The one that truly shows what Dillard can do is the Pulitzer-winning 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek'. If you like that, you'll probably like 'An American Childhood', though it's not nearly so deep (nor is it intended to be). 'The Writing Life' is a good solid read for any writer. Lots of inspiration and good advice here.

  • Felix Hayman
    2019-01-04 17:19

    Most buy this for a A Writing life but the true masterpiece is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Dillard's paen of praise to nature in the style of Thoreau.I believe this to be one of the most sensitive works of American literature that few read today but were oh so popular some 40 years ago.Like a fine piece of archaeology it can be read on many levels.....

  • Ann Baxter
    2019-01-03 16:23

    Sometimes I am a lazy reader. I like obvious plots, obvious characters etc. That doesn't always mean good writing. Good writers aren't lazy. Annie Dillard isn't lazy and her writing isn't easy.It's beautiful! So far, I've only read An American Childhood, but based on the language, I look forward to reading the others novels as well.

  • John Steinbeck
    2018-12-25 22:28

    I love Annie Dillard and you get three of her books in one cover with this one. You definately have to be in the mood for Dillard, but I so often am that I can easily say she is one of my favorite authors. Top five for sure. The Writing Life hit the spot for me, but read them all.

  • Andrea
    2019-01-04 22:17

    I haven't finished the book yet: but the five stars are for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Her way of seeing and describing nature is like a meditation. I will eventually read the other two books in this volume.

  • Virginia Pulver
    2018-12-27 16:13

    I am awed by what I am reading - Ligrim at Tinker Creek mirrors the lessons I have been honing the past few years...what I tasted on the Camino when I walked it in spring 2009. It speaks to me heart and my mind. I am hungry for more.

  • Mary Dansak
    2019-01-05 22:32

    This contains one of the best books ever written, and two others that deserve long afternoons on the couch with the dog and a glass of hot tea. I think Annie Dillard changed my life with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Read this one with a pencil and a highlighter. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

  • Aaron Cummings
    2018-12-20 17:23

    Borrowed by Ch.Br.

  • Jason Hubbard
    2019-01-09 20:40

    I'm still learning. . . and in constant awe of Dillard's sublime portrayal of just about everything. It's like peering through a web of nostalgia, but in a good way.

  • Theresa
    2019-01-13 14:22

    I really liked these three when I read them years ago. NOt certain how I might assess them if I read them today.

  • Vera
    2019-01-06 16:13

    Annie Dillard's writing is beautiful. I enjoyed all of this, your walks in nature, your stories from growing up, and her thoughts on writing. One of my favorite writiers.

  • James
    2018-12-22 21:31

    The Writing Life is an extraordinary meditation on what it means to be a writer. I've still not read the other titles, but look forward to reading them.

  • Joshua Lee
    2018-12-22 14:13

    One of my favorite all time authors.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-09 22:40

    Had a hard time getting into the first chapter, but now that I "get" her voice, I'm finding it to be so lovely.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-08 18:12

    Awesome - nonfiction about finding one's spirit via "seeing" the universe.

  • Joyce Sigler
    2019-01-10 15:28

    Dillard is one of the finest contemporary AMerican writers. If you like good writing, Annie Dillard is your gal!

  • Cindy
    2019-01-17 17:31

    This is so beautifully written. One of my favorite books.

  • Lacy
    2019-01-11 21:34

    No, really, all three get five stars.

  • Jenn
    2019-01-11 22:23

    based on a recommendation, i'm starting Pilgrim at Tinker Creek..meandering is probably the best word to describe the story and i'm really not confident that it's going to go anywhere.