Read Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende Online


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,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...

Title : Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616201678
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer Reviews

  • Dana Stabenow
    2019-05-11 02:28

    Heather asked me for a blurb for this book last May. I warned her that I almost never do blurbs because, well, I suck at them. She sent me the book and that evening I emailed her thusly:Take your pick. Or chose none at all:"A beguiling evocation of small-town life, and death.""The perfect book club book.""This goes right on the Christmas list for every member of my family."Picked it up at the post office this afternoon, came home, sat down, read it in one sitting. I want to move to Haines, and I want you to write my obituary, too.Dana

  • Yodamom
    2019-05-05 07:19

    Small town Alaskan obituary writer recounts her adventures writing about people she knew, didn’t know, like didn’t like and the flaws in every person. My favorite message was that the world is full of happiness, if only you are willing to take it as it is. She encounters all kinds of interesting characters in her little town. She struggles with some to find the good, but focusing of the good has made her a better person, happier, more centered in the world. her encounter Betty a small odd little kitten that grew permanently into her families heart was wonderful and beautiful.She says at one point that her whole life seems “non intuitive”. Finding the good certainly isn’t. Love the ones who matter, the ones who love you and love them back. Don’t grow old and become a fearful person, hiding from life and the adventures all around you. That was what I got out of it that touched me. It is so easy to close the door and turn on the TV, safe easy and lifeless. There is a chapter on losing a mother that was lured with my tears.It is not anything like I expected. This is a small book, written by a small town woman with a huge job. It is sometimes slow the stories can seem small town at times but they are so sweet. I slowed down my pace, I relaxed and just listened to her simple words wrap mourned the heart of all her people. This book is like sweet ice tea on a humid summer day.

  • Peter Monn
    2019-05-20 08:39

    I really enjoyed this! Check out my full review on my booktube channel at

  • Deyanne
    2019-05-07 06:21

    A charming, simple little book filled with experiences and insights from an obituary writer in Alaska. While not perfect and rather disjointed, still, it was gratifying to hear someone consistently return to gratitude and finding what is good in people and situations. For me it was a nice reminder of what truly matters and I found her reflections and honesty refreshing. I ranked higher on this because I guess it filled a nice spot in my day. It was fun hearing the audio.

  • Nat Harward
    2019-05-08 02:34

    Loved it. There are great humans in the most unsuspecting places living lives that will never get publicized, yet they are beautiful. There's also something about saying the best that can be said about someone and honoring the simply honorable life ... finding the good. Makes life great.

  • Elaine
    2019-05-05 07:40

    I really enjoyed that the author is an obituary writer (who lives in tiny Haines, Alaska!) talking about this subject. An interesting and unusual perspective. Here are a few of my favorite lines: "If I were to die tomorrow, would my grandchildren recall anything I've shown them about love and happiness?...I wonder if somewhere inside...there's an imprint of what I wish for them that will endure?...Looking for the good may be part nature, but it can be nurtured...Find the good, praise the good, and do good, because you are still able to and because what moves your heart will remain long after you are gone and tun up in the most unexpected places..."

  • Mary Ann
    2019-04-29 03:43

    I have lived in Alaska for 47 years. I practice Buddhism, in my own fashion. I am a grandmother. It is through those primary filters I respond to Linde's book. She loves her home and the abundant nature surrounding her; she shares her experiences on the path to awareness and equanimity; and she delights in the pleasures of sharing her life with young humans (and other creatures, including dogs). Linde's writing is evocative and brings the "thingness" of objects and sensations close to the reader. Recommended.

  • Natalie Walchuk
    2019-05-16 10:25

    Interesting idea but not very well executed. Lessons learned are predictable and not well supported by interesting stories.

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ✎
    2019-05-10 09:28

    3.5 stars“The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go round, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way.”I sing spirituals when I’m weary and, just as they promise, I’m refreshed. Country songs are my choice when I’m hiking. Yodeling keeps the bears away.

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-26 07:30

    What a lovely read this was. I thoroughly enjoyed her conversational way of writing, reflecting on the sad events in her town with her positive outlook. I definitely needed to read this right now-- it helped me reflect on the things in my own life where I should be finding the good instead of falling deeper into a hole of depression. The care and details she puts into each of her obituaries is inspiring, and I think this is because she does know each person she writes about. Each person has touched her life in some way. This is a good book to read when you need a lift, a laugh, a moment to reflect on your life and how you react to/interact with others and how you process things in your life.

  • Relyn
    2019-05-22 05:20

    Relyn Rating: 4. 5starsThis book wasn't what I expected. I thought I would get more about obituary writing (intersting and unusual choice, right?) and less about living well. This thought was probably because I didn't read any reviews first. Ha. I'm glad I was wrong. I loved the glimpses at life in Alaska. In so many ways their lives are very different from those of us "down south", but in all important ways, we're all the same. Anyway... the setting and the town itself was wonderful. Lende writes about people with such affection that her town of Haines felt a bit like a visit to Stars Hollow. Though I am still a bit curious about being an obituary writer for a living, I'm so glad to have spent a few hours learning more about living well from someone who spends quite a bit of time among those whose loved ones can no longer live at all. I was reminded once again about what matters most to those we will some day leave behind.Another part of the book I really appreciated were the, perhaps unintentional, lessons about how to serve and love the bereaved. Mostly, just let them talk about the one they lost; let them talk and cry and don't think of your own comfort. Pass notes under a door if you must, but put the other person first. That's really the way to serve anyone, bereaved or not. Isn't it?

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    2019-05-06 03:23

    I thought this short audio book, read by the author, would be a good palate cleanser between heavier, longer stories. It was short. As far as palate cleaning, yes it worked for that because it left almost no taste.This nonfiction book about a small-town obituary writer could have been fascinating. I expected interesting stories about the people she met, the obituaries she wrote. And there was some of that. But the beginning of the book seemed too preachy to me, too self-satisfied.I was disappointed that the author chose to buy a puppy rather than rescuing a dog, because she didn't want a dog that had learned bad habits from other people. And she had the dog shipped to her, apparently never seeing where it came from, what sort of conditions it was raised in, what condition the parents were. But the whole puppy thing didn't have much to do with the story.Which was part of the problem. This short book felt disjointed, smug, and a little too stream-of-consciousness. The author's reading was a little too excitable. I could hear too many exclamation marks.Perhaps others will find merit I didn't, but for me, this was a book I didn't enjoy and was pleased it was short.

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-11 07:19

    Very enjoyable.

  • Marilyn
    2019-05-16 07:46

    Delightful book. Reading about obituaries has never crossed my mind as anything interesting, but this was a feel good, well-written book.

  • Lesa
    2019-05-24 03:24

    I cried over Heather Lende's earlier book, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. Her stories about the people of Haines, Alaska, and the obituaries she writes for the Chilkat Valley News are so full of heart, full of love and caring. She's honest about her own failings, and those of the people she writes about. But, her obituaries show the humanity of her fellow townspeople. And, now, she has another beautiful tearjerker, one that again touches on ordinary lives that are all extraordinary as well. Asked to write an essay with wisdom to live by, Lende looked at her own life, and the lives of the people she writes about, and answered with the words that title the new book. Find the Good.Lende raised five kids in Alaska, is involved in her small community, and writes the obituaries for the local weekly newspaper. She said writing obituaries has taught her the value of intentionally trying to find the good in people and situations. She interviews family members and friends to discover what made the deceased special. She works to find the good.The book isn't just a tearjerker, though. There's humor here as well. Lende shares some of the lessons she learned from the people she writes about. She learned to relax a little about the state of her house. She's learning to enjoy moments, moments with her grandchildren, with her dogs. When she babysits for the grandchildren, there are blocks around the house, dog hair, and happy children. "My house is getting messier in direct proportion to my growing optimism."In her stories of children, grandchildren, dogs, obituaries, and old friends, Heather Lende points out how she tries to Find the Good. It's a beautiful, thoughtful book. Author Sharon Salzberg called it "A gem of a book", and she's right. When Lende sums up one lesson with "Life. Love. Loss. Us.", she summarizes all the reasons to Find the Good. It's an exquisite lesson for life.

  • Becky
    2019-05-19 06:31

    This is a great little book, full of good sense and kind words about how to find the good all around you - perfect reading for this particular time in our nation. Having been to Haines a number of times, and living in small towns in Alaska, it was easy to picture...I've sat in that very parking lot waiting for a delayed ferry (but not with the cargo in my backseat described in the book, thankfully!) I also have good memories of a great road trip with friends, hurrying down the 2-lane highway from Haines Junction and through the border crossing to sneak into the bookstore in Haines just before it closed because one of our group desperately wanted to pick up an autographed copy of the book. Good book - fast read - I hope you enjoy it!

  • Amara
    2019-05-01 10:35

    I was hoping for a little better from this book, it was a little rambly, and I wanted a tighter narrative --- "lessons learned" type thing. However, there were some good stories about some interesting characters. Edited to add: I did want to include a great quote from this book: "Living in a tight-knit community is a spiritual boot camp." She illustrated this by showing relationships between people that needed to function despite differing political standpoints, religious views, and other differences. We see this in our church communities here too. You need to work with and serve next to people that are very different than you are. It takes some spiritual maturity to make that happen day after day, week after week.

  • Katie
    2019-05-02 10:46

    Interesting premise for a low-key read, but it missed the mark. I was disappointed I didn't connect with any of the stories, other than mildly enjoying them in the moment. No 'aha' moments, no ideas to consider, nothing deeply moving.

  • Katie
    2019-05-11 04:40

    Loved this book...with a simple message we should all apply...find the good. I especially enjoyed the 'Practice Staggered Breathing' chapter and how it spoke to me.

  • Erin
    2019-05-21 04:27

    This book! This book. It's like a meditation on love that will also make you cry all your eye makeup off.

  • Joan Concilio
    2019-05-09 10:38

    I wrote obituaries for a long time. I knew I had to read this when I first heard about it (which was in a book about obituaries, naturally). Glad I did.

  • Cathy
    2019-05-05 05:44

    Simply put I sat riveted at my kitchen table for nearly three hours on New Year's Day and read this gem of a book straight through. Prepare to laugh out loud, to tear up, to feel waves of empathy, and to recognize yourself or someone you know (or knew) as you turn one marvelous page after another. Haines, Alaska, is darn lucky to have Heather Lende, with her caring heart and writer's gifted touch, in their midst. Make room on your book shelf next to Mary Oliver and Anne Morrow Lindbergh because that's where she belongs. Or maybe next to Garrison Keillor, Michael Perry and Jon Hassler for her pitch perfect view of small town life.

  • Missy
    2019-05-26 03:34

    Find the Good. Need I say more? This was a super easy, light read about looking for the positive things in life. The fact that this perspective is coming from an obituary writer makes it even better. I would have thought that constantly writing about death, or even the once great lives of those who are no longer with us, would make someone callous and cold. Instead, Ms Lende takes us on a journey through some sweet lessons of some big people in a small town. I really liked the idea of 3 words on the death bed - what would they be? Hers? Find the Good."Looking for the good may be part nature, but it can be nurtured....Find the good. Praise the good. Do good because you are still able."

  • Corinne
    2019-05-21 10:19

    A refreshing look at life by an obit writer. Steeped in the lives of those who have died, the author does a nice job of reminding others of how they will one day be remembered. And to find the good in others.

  • Chad
    2019-05-08 03:37

    I had trouble finding the good in this book. Perhaps because I expected it to be more of how-to guide for life situations. Instead, this was like a chicken soup for the soul of lame feel-good stories from a obit writer in a small town with a very liberal slant.

  • Samantha Kurtz
    2019-04-25 05:25

    Find the Good is about a small town Alaskan obituary writer, Heather Lende, whom is always around death because of her job, has learned how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life. I really enjoyed Lende’s obituary writer perspective. It’s not one I’ve ever thought about. This little gem is filled with many practical ways to think more positively and to “find the good” in all situations. I wouldn’t categorize it as a “self-help” book, though I’m sure others have, but more of an everyday persons experience on how they approach suffering times in life. Good read. Would definitely recommend.

  • Crystal Rivera
    2019-05-21 09:28

    'Find the Good' is great advice for all of us!!

  • Tamhack
    2019-05-25 02:28

    “A gem of a book. It’s honest and funny, reminding us to live in the moment and to pay attention to those around us. A joy to read.” —Sharon Salzberg, New York Times bestselling author of Real HappinessThis is a small book but it packs a lot about living life, finding the good in life in difficult situations.I like her advice on "expiration dates";" But that's okay, better actually, and healthier than viewing the decades (hopefully) remaining as a highly perishable product with an expiration date. I have a friend who says we spend the first half of our life building it and the second half preventing it from falling apart. I'd rather be under construction when I die. At this point, acceptance is more of a goal for me than, say, cleanliness. For some people it isn't. I have another friend who prefers to be a little grumpy but very neat, rather than cheerful and untidy. She's pretty sure these traits are inversely related. I suspect she may be right because my house is getting messier in direct proportion to my growing optimism. So the sticky fingerprints on my windows can stay just right where they are, thank you very much. The old question should not be, is the cup half full or half empty, but, what will happen when that grandchild spills it? Will I moan or refill it?"'Do you ever notice, " she had asked me when we were working on her husband's obituary, "how we often say the most awful things to the people we are closer to? To prevent regrets in a marriage, with your children or in-laws, always say please and thank you and keep the thoughts you wouldn't voice to company to yourself.""The secret to aging more cheerfully is to play like a child.""The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go around, if you are willing to take the kind that comes your way.""The life you imagine doesn't just happen while you are daydreaming about it on the drive across country. It requires effort once you reach your destination.""You can't have love without loss.""People don't gather after a death to mourn, but rather reaffirm why life matters and to remember to exult in the only one we'll ever have. We hold funerals, memorials, celebrations--whatever you want to call them--to seek and to find the heart of the matter of this trip we call Life.'"There is just no way losing your mother isn't traumatic. Every daughter I know who has gone though it struggles--the ones who have had a challenging relationship with their mothers just as much as the ones who have had a rewarding one. When our mothers die, we are on our own; there is no one to call for help, no one to blame, and no one left who has a copy of your grandmother's recipe for the traditional Christmas coffee cake, which you can't find anywhere.""Looking for the good may be part nature, but it can be nurtured. I believe that with my whole heart.""Find the good, praise the good, and do good, because you are still able to and because what moves your heart will remain long after you are gone and turn up in the most unexpected places,..."

  • Jackie Machardy
    2019-05-11 05:43

    A lovely little book filled with truth and wisdom, which looks over its shoulder at death with compassion and honesty. Despite the topic ( and the author's profession) it is affirming and joyful.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-16 09:34

    This was a light read yet full of deep and meaningful content. I found it when I was feeling a little bit down and needed a little self-help. I liked this book because it felt authentic. The lessons about life were observed from the perspective of a neighbor/friend/mother/grandmother in a small town full of interesting people. Anyone could find something good in this book to better themselves.