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Anne Lamott’s writing is funny, ironic, and self-deprecating. Author of the bestselling Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year (New York: Pantheon, 1993) as well as five other novels, Lamott writes about everyday relationships, grief, and the redemption to be found in self-scrutiny and humor. “Word by Word,” her weekly Web column, appears in Salon. Mother Jones asked Lamott what she’d been reading and watching lately. Here’s her take on the movie adaption of Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s novel, James and the Giant Peach:

“I went to see James and the Giant Peach with my roommate. He’s 6-and-a-half years old; I call him my heir. The movie has insight into all of our souls. A lonely kid finds companionship with these odd, eccentric insects. (Susan Sarandon plays the spider with this Greta Garbo accent. She’s so good it makes you want to drown yourself in a toilet without hurting your head.) It reminded me of movies we used to take acid to watch–it’s that stunning visually. Plus the bad guys lose and good guys come together at the end–you can’t beat that.”

Also recommended by Lamott:

First Comes Love, by Marion Winik (New York: Pantheon, 1996), is the memoir of an NPR commentator, her marriage to a gay man who eventually dies of AIDS, and their family. “The storyÉis really about survival,” Lamott says. “It’s very black, and hopeful.”

In Medieval in L.A. (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1996), author Jim Paul tells the story of one man’s weekend trip to Los Angeles. “It’s brilliant,” Lamott says. “Paul is a cross between Nicholson Baker and John McPhee. He writes about minutiae and moments, and sheds light on the bigger issues of love and community.”

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WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

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