A few years ago, my roommate recommended reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. She was processing through some aspects of her relationship with food and had really liked the book.
(Disclaimer: I haven’t shared much about my Christian faith on this blog, and I don’t really plan on it in the future. That’s not the purpose of this blog, but I also don’t plan on avoiding mentioning it at all – especially when it connects to one of my book reviews.)
A few months later, I was in a weird place in my faith and remembered what my roommate had said about the book. I checked it out from the library, and thus began my absolute adoration of Shauna Niequist’s writing.
Fast forward 3 years, and my husband gave me what he called a “Niequist pack” for Christmas – 3 of her books that I hadn’t read, as well as a copy of Bread and Wine. That’s how I came by the book Cold Tangerines, and I am so very glad I did.
Shauna Niequist has a way of weaving essays about life and faith and food and hardship and joy in a way that speaks directly to my heart, and this early book of hers is no exception. Cold Tangerines is filled with 2-4 page essays on topics ranging from trying to get pregnant to attending funerals to struggling with body image to writing to quitting a job you love to moving to traveling to trying to find yourself in college (and before… and after…) to so much more.
The theme that threads the essays together is finding joy in the everyday things, finding the extraordinary in the mundane. I love that concept, and Cold Tangerines brought me so much joy every day that I read it.
I’d sit on my couch with coffee or tea by my side with the blinds open to reveal either sunshine or clouds and read an essay or two or three a day. Her writing is vulnerable and lyrical; her essays are easy to read and easy to relate to.
And one of the unexpected consequences of picking up Cold Tangerines a couple of months ago? I started writing again. After reading the first two essays one night, I was finally able to sit down and write something that had been stirring inside of me for a long time. My writing had felt stuck for so long, but I wrote the rough draft of my very favorite short story that night, and I’m so thankful.
Check out Cold Tangerines or some of Niequist’s other writings if you need a breath of fresh air, a reminder of the simple joys in life, or a friend in the pages of a book. You’ll find all of those there.