You know how people often say they heard of something through “a friend of a friend of a friend”? Well, I discovered a special book through a blog of a blog of a blog.

This book by Shauna Niequist is titled “Cold Tangerines: celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life.” I started to get really excited about this book because just a few pages in, it was obvious to me that this book is very consistent with my blog “theme” and the way I want to live my life by finding joy in small things. Shauna Niequist puts it even better, “celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life.”

This book is a series of chapters (Niequist calls them essays) that journey through the author’s life as she finds celebration in the small things, in the everyday. Emotionally I found this book a bit exhausting to read and is best consumed in small pieces. Each chapter or essay is a short story unto itself with its own emotional/moral/spiritual punchline. Because the stories she tells are so personal and often painful, I felt I could only read so much at once.

Niequist understands people. Her honesty about her own emotions and growth is a huge selling point for this book. I am drawn to her humility. In each essay, Niequist finds something to “celebrate.” I like the idea, but felt that sometimes her punchlines were forced or bordering on cliche. Spiritually, this book is on the light side. Her references to God are sincere but quiet.

Overall, her stories drew me in and reminded me to celebrate even things that seem like obstacles. This is a book I would really enjoy having on my shelf and rereading. Because each of her chapters addresses a different stage in her own life, this book could be enjoyed by people in all stages of life or by one person over several years in their life.

I had to share just one quote from her book, one that particularly struck me.

“But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that’s celebration.”


2 thoughts on “celebration

  1. Michael Fritz says:

    Well, I am not familiar with the book you mention. I wonder: Why it is that she states that the story can be told as a tragedy? Could not the story also be told as a triumph? The latter part of the quote is much better. I find that my life is not what I imagined it would be. I have tried to be positive; I am a realist. I think that is positive. I try to make the best of my existence. I am not so celebratory though.

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