Seeking Enlightenment....Hat by Hat: A Skeptic's Path to Religion [NOOK Book]

Overview

A refreshingly honest spiritual exploration from the New York Times bestselling author of the Anna Pigeon novels.



Actor, adventuress, seeker of truth, and author of the New York Times bestselling Anna...
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Seeking Enlightenment....Hat by Hat: A Skeptic's Path to Religion

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Overview

A refreshingly honest spiritual exploration from the New York Times bestselling author of the Anna Pigeon novels.



Actor, adventuress, seeker of truth, and author of the New York Times bestselling Anna Pigeon mystery series, Nevada Barr beckons readers to share her spiritual search for
meaning in life.



Hat by hat, step by step, Barr leads readers down her path to enlightenment by sharing personal episodes, some of them funny and revealing, others painfully honest. Each chapter offers a truth or an answer forged through experience and deep reflection, and a nugget of insight certain to encourage thought and discussion among readers, who may, in turn, find their own spiritual language.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
As Barr puts it, "I more or less ran into God at the bottom of a barrel." In this quirky memoir, we follow her into church, along the way learning her thoughts on younger men, Halloween and kittens, not to mention salvation and forgiveness and gratitude. — Lauren F. Winner
Plain Dealer
There is much to be considered in her observations, in an engaging style that is a joy to read.
Publishers Weekly
"A life ago," Barr writes, "I was depressed, broke, homeless, unemployed and divorced." One evening she wandered into an Episcopal church, primarily because it was unlocked. Desperation, not interest in religion, had brought her there, but warmly accepting parishioners kept her, and soon she wanted to be confirmed. "I went to the priest and asked him if it would be okay considering I didn't accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior, didn't believe the Bible was divinely inspired and wasn't entirely sure about the whole God thing. Fortunately Father Andrew had been tending his flock long enough to recognize a lost lamb when one came bleating into his office and put no obstacles in my way." It was a turning point for Barr, who here describes the resulting changes in her life and thinking over the last six years. Readers of Barr's bestselling mystery series featuring park ranger Anna Pigeon might have hoped for a whole book full of enlightenment about Anna's creator. However, apart from the introduction and occasional anecdotes throughout, her first nonfiction work is more a collection of personal essays than spiritual memoir. In more than 40 short chapters, she looks at topics as varied as forgiveness, girlfriends, being ordinary, Halloween and of course hats, usually saying more about how she thinks life should be lived than about how she actually lives hers. Nevertheless, Barr's sassy style, self-deprecating sense of humor and trenchant observations make for a good-and, yes, enlightening-read. (June) Forecast: Barr's 11th Anna Pigeon mystery was published earlier this year and has been a PW and New York Times bestseller. This memoirish spirituality title should ensure that the multi-talented writer Barr will never be, well, pigeonholed solely in the mystery category. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Reading the book jacket, one might well think, "Oh, great, another celebrity's version of a spiritual awakening where she discovered that we shouldn't cut down a tree because it might be the embodiment of dear, departed Aunt Martha." Read on. Barr, best known as the author of 11 mysteries (e.g., Deep South), has apparently experienced a true journey from atheism to faith. Barr grew up in a family with a disdain for organized religion that she carried into adulthood; subsequently, she survived a terrible marriage, an unpleasant divorce, and mental illness. Happily remarried, Barr now lives in Mississippi and attends an Episcopal Church simply because when she was at rock bottom she walked into one conveniently close by. "Had the Elks been meeting on the block that night and accidentally left their door unlocked, I expect my life would have taken a very different direction." This volume is a collection of more than 40 essays on a variety of topics that delineate Barr's still-ongoing faith journey. (One explains the "hat by hat" reference.) She now chooses to believe in God because it seems to make sense, and the ritual and traditions of the Episcopal Church provide a feeling of community. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/03.]-Mary Prokop, Savannah Country Day Sch., GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440624872
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 377,062
  • File size: 269 KB

Meet the Author

Nevada  Barr
"Nevada Barr has carved out her own fictional fiefdom, creating a body of work like no other, the San Diego Union Tribune remarked in 1996 upon the publication of the fifth book in Barr’s acclaimed series featuring National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon. Since the 1993 publication of the first Anna Pigeon novel, Track of the Cat, which was awarded both the Anthony Award for Best First Novel by The Crime Writers Association and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel by Malice Domestic, Barr has earned a reputation as a talented and much admired writer. As the Chicago Tribune said, “Nevada Barr is a park ranger who can write up a storm.”


The daughter of two pilots, Barr bears the name of the state in which she was born. She grew up at a little mountain airport in Johnsonville, California. After attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and completing her graduate studies at the University of California at Irvine, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater. She stayed there for five years, as a member of the Classic Stage Company, performing in Off-Broadway shows.



From New York, Barr went to Minneapolis, where she tried her hand at more theater work, landed some spots on television commercials, and worked on industrial films, among other things. Her former husband was involved in the Park Service, which inspired her interest in wildlife and conservation, and eventually led to the profession that until recently she shared with her main character: National Park Service Ranger.


When she felt she could afford to, Barr began to work summers at various parks, and spent her winters pursuing a career in writing. She published her first novel, Bittersweet, in 1984, but it was during her tour of duty in Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, that Barr conceived of the Anna Pigeon character and began the series with her critically acclaimed, award-winning debut, Track of the Cat, in 1993. She then followed up with eight more novels set in various National Parks: A Superior Death (1994) set in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado; Ill Wind (1995) set in Isle Royal National Park in Michigan; Firestorm (1996), which was awarded France’s Prix du Roman d’Adventure and nominated for Anthony Award for Best Novel, set in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California; Endangered Species (1997) set in Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore; Blind Descent (1998) set in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico; Liberty Falling (1999) set at Liberty and Ellis Islands in New York City, Deep South (2000), set in the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, Blood Lure (2001) set in the Waterton National Peace Park in Montana and Canada, Hunting Season (2002) set in the Natchez Trace Parkway.



Biography

Nevada Barr was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.

Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For 18 years she worked on stage, in commercials and industrial training films, and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers -- Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling, and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet, was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received, and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada's experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995, Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado, where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons. The rest is, shall we say, history.
Biography from author website.

Good To Know

In our interview with Barr, she disclosed three interesting facts about herself:

"I will forget your face and name, but never your stories."

"I love to sing but can clear a concert hall at the drop of a note."

"I lie, but never about the important stuff -- and I get to decide what is the important stuff."

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    1. Hometown:
      Clinton, Mississippi
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 1, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yerington, Nevada
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
On getting into heaven 26
Forgiveness 31
Gratitude 34
Sin 39
Addiction 44
Justification 49
Judgment 53
Turning the other cheek 59
Prayer 63
Fear 67
Stillness 73
Humility 79
Spiders and old men 84
Marriage 89
Lies 94
Religion 99
Vanity 104
Betrayal 112
An argument for life after death 120
Things 126
Sex 132
Guilt 144
The word 150
Things that go bump in the night 154
Children of god 160
Do animals have souls? 165
Darlin' 168
Faith 174
Flip-flops, girlfriends, and levi jackets 179
Salvation 187
An ordinary life 192
Pain 196
Taking shit 201
Service 206
Seeing 210
Church 215
Repentance 220
Bits of string 223
Evil 228
Commitment 232
Alternate lives 235
What if 238
Seeking enlightenment hat by hat 245
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    An offbeat incisive spirituality

    We know Barr from a series of pretty nifty mystery stories which take place in various national parks, in which a female park ranger is the main character. Barr herself has been a law enforcement officer for the NPS, among other ¿hats.¿ The book is divided into many short snippets. There is no narrative, and although our library has it classified as biography it¿s really not quite that. The subtitle is ¿A Skeptic¿s Path to Religion.¿ The book is a personal testimony to an offbeat faith that has found a home among Mississippi Episcopalians, and offers reflections that are remarkably incisive for one with no theological or philosophical training ¿ and certainly, certainly, well expressed, punctuated with arresting insights. It¿s not quite the same genre as Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but if you like Annie Dillard you¿ll probably like this.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Enlightening

    This interesting biography showcases Nevada Barr's quest for knowledge of much that seems untenable and dependent on belief. The author, renowned for her Anna Pigeon mysteries, explains that as she worked through numerous jobs like acting and writing, she grew up as an contemptuous atheist who deep down inside wanted to believe, but needed proof. She read everything she could and entered discussions in her search for empirical evidence for something to believe in greater than her short life.<P> SEEKING ENLIGHTENMENT HAT BY HAT is targeted for a limited audience. This obvious labor of love is aimed at the most devout fans of the author or exterior cynics seeking enlightenment of the existence of a greater presence. Those casual fans of the author's mysteries will want to pass to avoid feeling like a pigeon. The writer states her external searches proved futile in terms of concrete confirmation, but when she began to look at the inner essence of Nevada Barr she began to feel a sense of being part of a greater universe than just herself. One hat at a time, Ms. Barr provides a deep, humorous look at how she found her spiritual path that she ironically (in light of her honest admittance that her research into other writings failed to answer her questions) hopes encourages others to do likewise.<P> Harriet Klausner

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