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Find the Good
Cover of Find the Good
Find the Good
Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer
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As she was digging deep into the lives of community members, Heather Lende, the obituary writer for her tiny hometown newspaper in Haines, Alaska, began to notice something. Even the crustiest old Alaskan sourpuss who died in a one-room cabin always had Halloween candy for the neighborhood kids; the eccentric owner of the seafood store who regularly warned her about government conspiracies knew how to be a true friend—his memorial service was packed.When Lende started intentionally seeking what was positive and true in people and situations in her own life—whether it was finding common ground with her opponents on the school board or accepting that her unmarried daughter's pregnancy might be a blessing—she felt happier and life seemed more meaningful, too. Awful events—from a recent school shooting across the country to a fisherman drowning in Haines—are always followed by dozens and dozens of good deeds. When tragedy strikes we can choose to focus on the first responders rushing toward the scene or the guys grilling hot dogs for hurricane refugees, and, like yawning, caring is contagious. There's so much to gain by taking responsibility for your own happiness and nothing to lose. In stormy times like these, we have to make our own good weather, and Find the Good shows us how.

As she was digging deep into the lives of community members, Heather Lende, the obituary writer for her tiny hometown newspaper in Haines, Alaska, began to notice something. Even the crustiest old Alaskan sourpuss who died in a one-room cabin always had Halloween candy for the neighborhood kids; the eccentric owner of the seafood store who regularly warned her about government conspiracies knew how to be a true friend—his memorial service was packed.When Lende started intentionally seeking what was positive and true in people and situations in her own life—whether it was finding common ground with her opponents on the school board or accepting that her unmarried daughter's pregnancy might be a blessing—she felt happier and life seemed more meaningful, too. Awful events—from a recent school shooting across the country to a fisherman drowning in Haines—are always followed by dozens and dozens of good deeds. When tragedy strikes we can choose to focus on the first responders rushing toward the scene or the guys grilling hot dogs for hurricane refugees, and, like yawning, caring is contagious. There's so much to gain by taking responsibility for your own happiness and nothing to lose. In stormy times like these, we have to make our own good weather, and Find the Good shows us how.

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About the Author-
  • Heather Lende has contributed to NPR's Morning Edition, the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, and many other magazines and has been a columnist for the Christian Science Monitor, Woman's Day magazine, the Anchorage Daily News, and the Alaskan Dispatch. Her website is heatherlende.com.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine As a newspaper obituary writer in the small and rugged town of Haines, Alaska, Heather Lende is called upon to "find the good" as she writes the final words describing the lives of those who have died. In both the tone of her voice and her positive message, she radiates warmth and caring for others, whatever their background or how they found themselves at the end of their days in this small town. While the circumstances of those deaths are sometimes tragic, she always manages to glean bits of happiness and wisdom from the lives of those who have passed. Her narration is down-to-earth--she sounds like a woman you might know in your own everyday life--and her message of positivity is both heartfelt and inspirational. S.E.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    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.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    Read by the author, this story of life in small-town Alaska imparts a sense of community to listeners. Lende (Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs) writes obituaries for her local paper, the Chilkat Valley News. Weaving stories of her own family life with those of her friends and neighbors, Lende reminds listeners that it is necessary to search for the good in situations and people and that there is always something about which to be positive, regardless of how dire circumstances may appear. As examples, she shares her methods for gathering necessary information from the families of the recently deceased and how she seeks out stories to affirm their lives. Her words serve as a reminder to break the habits of negativity. VERDICT A quick listen, this book is an inspiration.--Cheryl Youse, Moultrie, GA

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer
Heather Lende
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