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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Five Stars?
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...
Published on March 7, 2008 by K. B. Noonan

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for this unsentimental reader.
I struggled with what to rate this book, for 1 star seems harsh for a book that is ultimately well written. But, in the end, I had to rate this book one star simply because I could not finish it. (I tried, really, I did.)

Like a few others, I'm in the minority in my certain dislike of this book. While the writing was well done and, at times, poignant, there...
Published 12 months ago by A Lady


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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Five Stars?, March 7, 2008
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (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. I wasn't reading, in some circumfrential manner, about a person, about their life history, about their successes and failures, about their concepts or their opinions about life. I was, instead, invited past the writer's fleshy parts to the cellular level of existence. (This, by the way, is another high-rating criterion).

Niequest does something with words. And her words are, at first glance, what I assumed the whole book would be -- superficial. But then she surprised me. In the midst of mundane story-telling she manages an alchemical shift (one almost imperceptible), weaving experience into digestible pieces of very raw wisdom. Inexplicably, after almost every chapter, I found myself faced...with myself (more criterion). Absolutely magical.

In my view, the author achieves her stated goal: encouraging a life of celebration. But she accomplishes this by taking the reader on a journey through the unsafe and dark terrain of her own soul (leading the way in her pajamas, no less). The landscape is, at times, scandalous with its honesty, and almost always emotionally and spiritually raw. In other words, she brings the reader to the place of being human...and about that, there's nothing superficial.

There are other things that I feel should be present in a work worthy of five stars. Some of the criteria are subject or genre specific. Niequist's work certainly deserves this rating. This is an excellent book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Afternoon Well Spent, October 2, 2007
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am Eating it Up!, November 26, 2007
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to mind you that God is there, even in the little things..., April 2, 2008
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This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
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.

I bought copies of this book for the girls in my Bible study. After they have read it I asked what part they enjoyed the most, and the best part about getting their answers is I never get the same response. The book has so many different aspects that each reader has had the ability to learn and be challenged by a different part.

The Lord knows that I am not perfect, but I do know that it's what I do with what He has given me that matters. Life is not one moment, life is a collection of moments. Those moments put together form your path, your journey. If you are looking for a book that will remind you that God is in the everyday journey, this book is for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking essays, March 2, 2008
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This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!, November 26, 2007
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This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
After reading Shauna's honest stories, I feel inspired to see the beauty in my day that I would normally zip past in my busyness. I want everyone around me to read this book. I think it's an important cry to look at our everyday lives and see God at work. She writes beautifully. I just hope that Shauna keeps writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed and cried!, October 31, 2007
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This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
I bought this book before catching a flight from Chicago to California. . . . .I thought it would be light reading to pass the time. . . . . after all, I too love dinner parties, good books and celebrating life. I wasn't prepared for the way it touched my heart . . . . . I laughed out loud, cried and found myself sharing passages with the other passengers around me. What a refreshing, beautiful glimpse of a life lived authentically. . . . feeling the pain, celebrating the joys, and embracing the moments in between. This is a book that I will read over and refer to often. . . . . . it was like a really good glass of wine. . . . . I wanted to breathe it in, hold it in my mouth for several minutes while the flavors danced in my mouth and then savor the aftertaste for as long as possible. This book is amazing. . . . . . I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible read!, January 16, 2008
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R. Henderson "14110" (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
Touching book about everyday life. Very inspirational and humorous at times while explaining her lessons she has picked up from her life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious., September 30, 2007
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
I am in awe of people who are brave enough to be gut-level honest with complete strangers by writing down the truth about themselves for all to read. Sometimes the details are too stark and too raw; after a while you just can't read any more. But then there are people like Shauna, who can weave truth, be it beautiful or ugly, with heart-breaking prose that is lovely, simple, clean, and, well, lovely. Yes, it deserves to be said twice. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me wonder and dream and think, which is more than I can say for a lot of the books I've read lately. Every minute spent with it was a gift and a joy, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Tangerines, October 2, 2007
This review is from: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Hardcover)
It has been a long time since I've been moved by a book in such an all-encompassing way. Author Shauna Niequist's book delivers a powerful and poignant description of life as she knows it...which looks a lot like life as we all know it. She bravely and honestly shares with us her prophetic voice, reminding us and revealing to us the beauty and depth in our everyday lives. This book elevated my mind and spirit and showed me a profound way to observe the world around me. I absolutely recommend it and plan to give copies to friends and family this holiday season!
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Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life
Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist (Hardcover - October 9, 2007)
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