Monday, March 31, 2008

Book Review - Cold Tangerines

Excerpt from back book cover: "Cold Tangerines is a collection of stories about God, and about life, and about the thousands of daily ways in which an awareness of God changes and infuses everything. It offers bright and varied glimpses of hope and redemption, giving us room to breathe, to break down and break through, calling us to our best possible lives."

I joined a book challenge hosted by Sarah, over at her blog, Short Stop. The book for this particular challenge is titled 'Cold Tangerines', by Shauna Niequist. Basically, the book is set up as a series of short essays or stories, each only a few pages in length. The stories relate to experiences and happenings of the author, and how or what she learned from them. I read the book over the weekend - it was a very quick and easy read. Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed the book. I laughed at times, I cried even was so "relatable" (I'm not even sure if that's a real word, but, that's what it was for me). Sometimes, I felt like the author had peeked into my brain and voiced feelings that I have had myself. For example, one chapter of the book is all about waiting. Shauna writes, "I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be the person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away." She continues, "And all through the waiting, here I am. My life is passing by, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin." That was a very profound thing to read, because, I truly have felt that way, too. It certainly makes you think that by waiting around, you are letting things pass you by, missing out. When, really, your life already is, you don't have to wait for anything, because it's already begun. The author's stories are about everyday things, but, she makes you see that everyday things are what it's really all about. I loved her stories about being pregnant and becoming a mother - that was something else to which I could definitely relate. She shares tales of her worldly travels. Wow! When she finished the eighth grade, her parents allowed her to travel, alone, from Chicago to Paris, where she stayed with a family friend, but went out daily to sight-see, alone! How awesome. How brave! When she was twenty, she spent a semester abroad, travelling through England, Scotland, and Ireland, with a group of students. Through her stories, she talks about her family, getting married, weddings, births, death, parties, her weight -- things that we all experience. Everyday things. As I said, the book is easy to read. You feel like you are having a conversation with a close friend (albeit a very wise and spiritual friend). She shares many things, her fears, her flaws, her discoveries, her blessings. She is insightful and it's definitely an inspirational read, that makes you want to live your life better, to be better, but also feel like it's okay when you don't always accomplish that goal. This is not my usual type of book that I read (I'm more of a chick-lit, historical fiction kind of reader, I like to read to escape to another place for awhile). But, I did get a lot out of this book and would recommend it to my friends.

Head over to Short Stop. She will be posting links to other participants who have also reviewed this book. If you decide to read the book, please come back and tell me your thoughts.

~Thanks to Sarah, for setting up and hosting the book challenge. Also, a huge thanks to Zondervan for providing us with our books. And, thank you to Shauna Niequist for a great read~



Pina said...

I have to say for myself that I also expect that my life will start 'tomorrow'. I think that when we give up our boredom then also our life becomes full and we live it 'today'.

Kristen said...

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my review!

I was going to post the same quote about waiting in my review but I couldn't fit it in as nicely as you did. I felt the exact same way about that chapter! It was so profound to read her words and her desire to cherish each day - there are big moments in each day.

I am reading the book again. It is perfect night time reading because I can read a little or a lot and not be stuck in the middle of something.

Short Stop said...


Thank you for your review and thoughts! I enjoyed reading them! I, too, loved the chapter on waiting!

Dave and Jenni said...

Hi Kari, I'm one of the other women who got the book from Sarah. I just wanted to say that you, along with some others have mentioned that reading the book was like having a chat with an old friend and I thought that was a great way to put it. I really enjoyed the book too and posted a review as well.

Great to "meet" you. :)

Anonymous said...

I took part in the read as well. I didn't get into the book quite like you did. Maybe being older left me in a different time frame for life.

I'm glad you enjoyed the book as much as Sarah.