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Seeking Enlightenment...Hat by Hat

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  352 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The author of the New York Times-bestselling Anna Pigeon mystery series beckons her readers to share her spiritual search for meaning in life.

During her life as an actor, a writer, an adventuress, a non-believer, and a seeker of truth and amusement, Nevada Barr has been cursed and blessed with the question of "why?" Though the things she wanted to know were mostly in the
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 2nd 2003 by Putnam Adult (first published 2003)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I usually avoid books like this because I'm not religious. I made an exception here because I'd enjoyed Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series, and I'm glad I did. Nothing preachy here, and it's not necessarily just about religion. She shares a lot about her doubts and weaknesses and the unlikely places in which she has found answers, or at least some comfort.

I liked this quote about doing good as a purposeful part of living, rather than doing it hoping for a reward after death:

"Caring in its myriad
Jun 17, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mystery writer Nevada Barr is a true skeptic--she came from a family where "God" was only used for swearing, church was never mentioned or thought of, and organized religion was regarded with derision. This is partly explained by the fact that her grandmother had had a "Bible belt" that she used frequently and enthusiastically on Barr's father. But after going through divorce, poverty, depression, and failure, finally sensing a hole in her being that modern life could not fill, she went to a ...more
Diane Mirvis
Apr 12, 2009 Diane Mirvis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all skeptics (religious ones, anyway)
Recommended to Diane by: Barnes & Noble
Sub-titled "A Skeptic's Path to Religion", this was a perfect book for a true skeptic like me. One of those books where I marked entire pages as being important to me. At one point Nevada Barr talks about "... the magic of naming..." I was amazed when I read this. I've written several essays (and a couple of family eulogies) about how my family taught me the importance of being able to give names to things -- birds, wildflowers, rocks, etc.
Oct 22, 2009 Ghine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a take it or leave it book for me. A lot of the information I already knew or believed and it wasn't presented in any special way for me. Then a lot of the information just didn't sit right with me. In the end, I didn't even finish the whole book.

I think one thing that disturbed me the most was her chapter on Halloween. Although I agree that times today are likely just as dangerous as it was in the 60's, I do not agree that you should let your kids trick-or-treat ALONE! In fact, Mrs. Ba
Sep 25, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a friend said when he browsed my Kindle titles recently, "so now you're seeking spiritual guidance from NEVADA BARR??"

Well, yeah. I really liked her early Anna Pigeon mysteries and even though her recent fiction books have dropped a star or two in my rating system, I still look for new stuff from her. And while browsing Amazon recently I noticed this and thought - what the heck. I've read the intro and a couple of essays so far and am really glad I took a chance on it! It's funny, touching, t
Celeste Foley
Nov 14, 2013 Celeste Foley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Nevada Barr began as a skeptic and traveled a path to religion, I began religious and traveled to skepticism; even so, I feel like a found a kindred spirit in Seeking Enlightenment ~ a spirit centered in love and pursuing truth with raw honesty and humor. I find many books on this topic to be either light-weight New-Age fare or burdensomely pedantic so Ms. Barr's work was a real treat as she addressed forthrightly the major issues in "right belief": God's omnipotence and omniscience in sup ...more
Jim Morrison
Yackety yac. It was too much rambling for me. Too much biographical. Here is what I got from it. She is an atheist but has a need for the ceremony, support, rules and belief in something larger; and finds it in religion, even if it is a mirage. One may argue that she humanizes speculative thought about religion. I was attracted to the title and expected a philosophical or even metaphysical approach to religion. If you expect that you will find this an inadequate treatment.
Colleen Flannery
Jul 11, 2013 Colleen Flannery rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
too early to tell, really. Nevada Barr writing on spiritual enlightenment? Just enough up my tree (and the price was right - 75 cents). Having a checkered career myself, much related to National Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas and now private wildlife sanctuaries, I took to Barr's work immediately (surprisingly her book about the Lincoln assassination and the Florida Keys stays with me longest). So if she could be doing all these wild half baked activities that inspired her books, perhaps she l ...more
Jun 26, 2007 Betti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in spirituality
I have enjoyed the Nevada Barr mystery series for the fun summer read and when I saw that she had writtent his book I figured I would give it a try. The book is mainly short essays on topics ranging from addiction to children of god to forgiveness, etc.

I like her approach to spirituality and organized religion and have found readeing the essays gives me something to think about and a new way to approach some of the topics. I've slowed down, after initially reading right through and now read one
Therese Fisher
I think this book is a lot better than I'm giving it credit for. It is one of those books that you need to read at the right time in your life and for me it came at... other than the right time.

So, for me, not a high rating, but for you... might be just the perfect 5 star book you've been waiting for to reconnect with God.

I fell in love with the introduction, but beyond that the book was mostly Nevada Barr's interpretation of God and church. Her style of writing is relaxed, approachable and ve
Mary Blye
Jul 26, 2015 Mary Blye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After most chapters, I simply wrote, "Wow", then I put this book, in my library of around 5,000 books, in a special place that contains about 50 of my favorite books, ones I want to read over and over because they are so remarkable in their perfection.
Jun 28, 2014 Batgirl13 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Amazing and honest thoughts about all sorts of things. I really enjoyed reading through this and was able to get a lot of good ideas. Its a good book about faith and religion but its not overly focused on that and has a lot to offer even to skeptics. I highly recommend! :)
Nancy Noble
I really enjoyed Nevada Barr's perspective on how she found her faith and church community, as well as anecdotes from her life. Written in small chapters on various topics, this book allows you to get to know Nevada Barr, a mystery novelist, who writes so honestly about her failings (which is quite endearing).
Part of me can't quite believe I read this book for the second time. Barr snuck up on me. I picked the book up to reread her chapter on prayer and realized that she says a great deal that makes me revisit my views on religion. This book challenges me to think through some of the reasons I am a Christian.

Each chapter is short and examines some of Barr's views on a particular subject. For example she has chapters on faith, pain, church, fear and even sex. I don't always agree with her, but I reall
Dec 20, 2013 Teesa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nevada Barr found religion late in life, I got mine early. Where ever you are in your journey, we all question the role of forgiveness, gratitude, sin, addiction, judgement, prayer, stillness, faith, pain and service play in our existence. She is open and forthcoming about her journey and this quote says it best for me "I think this holds true for life in general. Those who have faith that life is good , that things will turn out for the best, that suffering is a necessary learning process, fait ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Nevada Barr gives a personal, fairly open account of her journey from being a atheist to one who has come to believe that there is a spiritual side of life. She does not yet profess to be a Christian although she is a member of an Episcopal church. The book consists of short essays on various spiritual topics. I believe it would make a good discussion book. One disappointment was the lack of references. Nevada Barr sites sayings of others without giving any attribution. It strikes me as though s ...more
Pam Kellim
Feb 02, 2016 Pam Kellim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. That is why I'm reading some of her fiction.
Mar 10, 2012 April rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
I was hoping this book would have wonderful insight but couldn't get through even half of it. Maybe I was too critical, but it was disappointingly baby-boomer stereotype views that seemed innocent, trite, self centered and not very strong epiphanies. I found a few of her chapter essays insightful but by and large this book isn't worth the time. It's rare that I give up on a book (even plowed through the Notebook) but this one kept making me think why waste any precious reading time??
Mar 20, 2011 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of essays about various topics that relate to spirituality. It IS NOT for the devoutly religious, as it seems Barr is still on a path herself. It is a perfect read for me because her approach is more yogic in nature than Biblical. I find myself nodding through the read and wanting to buy it (this is a library copy) so I can highlight the heck out of it.
Sep 02, 2012 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a real fan of Barr's mysteries and her heroine Anna Pigeon. Like her character Anna, Barr struggles with her views on spirituality and how best to make it through the complexities of life. I thought this book was thoughtful and enjoyed the fact she was asking questions, rather than promoting specific answers. A good read for anyone interested in the journey.
Sep 03, 2014 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting book from one of my fav authors. It gives you a window into her belief system and how she arrived there. It makes her novels even more interesting to me.
Aug 19, 2014 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I gave this a low rating, I don't think it was a bad book - just not my cup of tea. I selected it because I enjoy the author's Anna Pigeon novels, and I thought a glimpse into her personal religious philosophy would be interesting. And it was, kind of, in a series of related essays. I just didn't love it.
Sep 24, 2013 Cathie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading about her spiritual journey. Very funny at times but filled with deep thought and honesty too. I liked how it was written with a different subject/area of life for each chapter. It was a pleasure to read about the author and her journey this far. I really like her Anna pigeon novels,
Lisa Thomas
Nov 08, 2007 Lisa Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone struggling to grow spiritually
I first read Nevada Barr as a mystery writer. This book reveals her in a whole new light. A very good book that can be read in snippets by short chapters. Much along the same lines as Anne Lamott in that she struggles to believe and live in a "Christian" way.
Nov 18, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I didn't think much og this book. Felt it was a rambling monolog without enough ump to hold my interest for the whole book. I kept reading on hoping to find some nuggets. Stopped a little over half way through.
Jan 15, 2012 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am really glad I read this book but rated it 2 stars because I had to force myself to pick it up. It isn't one of those I can't stand to not know what will happen next. But it is a very interesting book.
Oct 07, 2009 Sherrilynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jerry Heath recommended this book. I always trust him. A collection of experiences that lead a skeptic to become a believer in a higher power, prayer, and other spiritual principles. I connected.
Syd Perry
Jun 13, 2009 Syd Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nevada Barr came to our Public Library and she was hysterical. I read some of her mysteries and then started on this book. I enjoy her irreverant yet honest and real encounter with Christianity.
Jan 18, 2016 Mckinley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short essays on a variety of topics regarding. Many are food for thought; others ok. Former atheist contemplates role and place of Christian practice in her life.
Sep 29, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Nevada Barr is a great novelist, a talented writer & a sub-standard theologian. Three chapters in & I was no longer interested in her "all dogs go to heaven" rhetoric.
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Nevada Barr is a mystery fiction author, known for her "Anna Pigeon" series of mysteries, set in National Parks in the United States. Barr has won an Agatha Award for best first novel for Track of the Cat.

Barr was named after the state of her birth. She grew up in Johnstonville, California. She finished college at the University of California, Irvine. Originally, Barr started to pursue a career in
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