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Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life Hardcover – October 9, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 241 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Niequist, a 30-year-old mother and first-time author, wants readers to look around their ordinary lives and celebrate all their manifold, quotidian blessings. To that end, she offers 40 short essays, each an exploration of something mundane and wonderful: getting pregnant, throwing parties, collecting champagne flutes. She recalls a breakup that deepened her relationship with God, and explains why moving into a fixer-upper helped her learn that God loves us as we are. A lovely, honest and wistful tone characterizes the title piece, an ode to living a life of gratitude and joy. Essays on a friend's health scare, the power of art and experiencing Christmas with a newborn are especially powerful. Yet Niequist's relentlessly first-person reflections would have been leavened by more fully developing some of the other characters, the relatives and friends who pop up. Sometimes her prose is annoyingly abstract (if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within and between us), and there are clichéd observations. Still, with a bit of seasoning (and more vigorous editing), Niequist could be a writer to watch. (Oct.)
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Review

Niequist, a 30-year-old mother and first-time author, wants readers to look around their ordinary lives and celebrate all their manifold, quotidian blessings. To that end, she offers 40 short essays, each an exploration of something mundane and wonderful: getting pregnant, throwing parties, collecting champagne flutes. She recalls a breakup that deepened her relationship with God, and explains why moving into a fixer-upper helped her learn that God loves us as we are. A lovely, honest and wistful tone characterizes the title piece, an ode to living a life of gratitude and joy. Essays on a friend's health scare, the power of art and experiencing Christmas with a newborn are especially powerful. Yet Niequist's relentlessly first-person reflections would have been leavened by more fully developing some of the other characters, the relatives and friends who pop up. Sometimes her prose is annoyingly abstract (“if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within and between us”), and there are clichéd observations. Still, with a bit of seasoning (and more vigorous editing), Niequist could be a writer to watch. (Oct.) -- Publisher’s Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Edition edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310273609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310273608
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Her newest project, a 365-day devotional called Savor, will be available in March.

She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild & darling boys, Henry & Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy.

Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, and she is a guest teacher at her church, Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL.

Shauna's three great loves are her family, dinner parties, and books, and she believes that vulnerable storytelling, hard laughter, and cold pizza for breakfast can cure almost anything.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For me, several criteria must be met before I'll consider the highest review rating for a book, movie, or piece of music. For instance, if reading a collection of words causes me to put a book down, get up from where I'm seated and wander around the room because I don't know what to do with the emotions that have slipped past all the safe guards and invaded my soul, then there is something significant about the one who penned those words.

I did not want to read this book. It seemed to have all the promise of a superficial, feel-good, new-agey amassing of words that guarantee a happiness equal in value to the suggested retail price. And the brief author-bio on the back cover should have clenched the deal: a Christian from Willow Creek -- certainly her words could be nothing more than a focus-group confirmed, market-driven strategy for a thinly veiled excuse to proselytize. However, the subtitle expressed a subject of deep interest to me: finding the sacred in the mundane, so I opened the book and read a random paragraph.

What I read startled me. The paragraph was an admonition to the reader about the great risk of being someone who cares and the author's words had very little to do with a superficial happiness. She writes:

"...I whisper to them, 'be careful.' You will be haunted by what you find there, and you won't be able to wash away what you've seen and heard. You will see things and hear things, and then you will be responsible for them, for telling the truth about who you are and who you discover you are not..." (pg. 141)

Filleted by these words, I checked the book out from my library and began to page through the short chapters in no intentional order. Contrary to all my unfortunate biases, I was quite humbled to discover a human being.
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Format: Hardcover
I got Cold Tangerines in the mail from a friend two days ago and sat down to read for twenty minutes. Six hours later--and after migrations from my favorite comfy chair to the kitchen table to the car (not the safest way to read, admittedly) to my bed--I closed the book and felt just as embraced and understood and satisfied with the ride as I was terrifically annoyed that it was over.

Shauna's entries made me grin that knowing grin I grin when I read my own past journals. The sordid and the splendid kind of collide, and although some of the memories and realities are hard to face, they remain my memories, my realities. Her style has that quality--the "resonance" thing that will frustrate you by what you see in the mirrors she holds up as much as it delights you. I hope it's the first of many more books from Shauna.
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Format: Hardcover
Cold Tangerines celebrates the rawness and reality of life amidst the amazing wonders God provides daily, if we just look (taste, feel, see, touch). Thanks for helping me contemplate my soul more and feel encouraged that even when life is hard (as it will be), there is so much authenticity, intimacy and joy offered. I loved "basement," and laughed as I'm your "other" kind of friend but NOT my basement (i'm like YOU and felt so known) but i'd like to say it's because I'm married to a creative person like you so I don't get my neat cleaned-up shelves. it's probably better i don't. GET THIS BOOK--YOU WILL BE FILLED.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a collection of very thoughtful, honest essays written by Shauna about the wonder in life we often overlook. The author is no naive pollyanna - she looks at life honestly - but also with a desire to find and celebrate the joy in the midst of the ordinary and mundane and sometimes really hard stuff of life. Very encouraging read!!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It isn't very often that I find a book that I would recommend to all my friends. In her book Cold Tangerines Shauna Niequist revisits chapters of her life, some humorous, some silly, some reflective, while others somber. Each moment is delicately interwoven with a touch of God. Seeing God in the every day and being able to learn from and/or laugh at what is set before us is truly a gift.

Shauna is able to open up and allow the readers to peek at so many aspects of her life. The chapters read almost like letters from a dear friend, as her struggles become teachable moments, and her humor has you laughing out loud. By the end you feel like you've known her from childhood.

One section of the book that brought goosebumps was on pg. 50 "True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and when it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourself. We have to give something up in order to get friendships like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they'll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it's something else, but it's really love, really friendship, it's a little scary around the edges."

To have someone in your life to love you and care for you even though they know who you are is such a blessing. Reading that portion of the book caused me to pause and to think about people that have been blessings to me, who have loved me through difficult times.
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