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Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 29, 2002

46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Women were created to experience, interpret, revel in, and unravel the mysteries of Life through their senses," declares Breathnach (Simple Abundance), insisting that women have two extra senses: those of "knowing" and "wonder." Breathnach then works her way through the calendar year, offering tips to women to free their "essensual" selves. Much of the advice (e.g., make your own scented sachets and foot lotions) is rote. At times, Breathnach herself criticizes the commercialization of the sensual. For example, the bath is a "waterfall of delight" that's being "snuffed out by the banality of the self-enhancement poseurs." Homemade is the best way to go, says Breathnach, and even the hours spent preparing various potions are a gift in themselves. On the other hand, she heartily endorses purchasing gourmet fruits, "essensual sets of underwear," silk sheets and other luxuries, since these items also pleasure the senses. Fortunately, the object of all this pampering isn't just to attract a mate. Breathnach urges women to stop focusing on finding a partner and to "learn the sacred soulcraft of self-nurture." While exhortations to "become your own courtesan" may seem narcissistic, the message will strike a welcome chord among women who've learned that sacrificing for others isn't always worth it. At times Breathnach is unintentionally funny she recommends taking Beckett plays to the laundromat to "try on for size being an intellectual." But her occasionally pretentious use of quotations and capitalized references to the Spirit and the Divinity shouldn't stop her fans from pampering their Inner Goddess.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The founder of Simple Abundance Press and author of best sellers like Something More shows us how to get the most out of life with this sensuous guide to the seasons.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743218779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743218771
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

A writer of remarkable wisdom, warmth and compassion, Sarah Ban Breathnach's (pronounced "Bon Brannock") has become a trusted voice to women around the world. Sarah is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy and the creator of The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude. Sarah's work celebrates quiet joys, simple pleasures, and well-spent moments. By reminding us to search for the small and the sweet in our daily round with appreciation and awe, we find the beauty in the everyday. Millions of women, including Oprah Winfrey agreed and discovered unexpected contentment and solace in their own lives. Now Sarah introduces the magic of gratitude to little children and their families in her debut children's book, The Best Part of The Day, a delightful and reassuring journey through the seasons. Sarah lives in Southern California near her daughter, Kate, and their beloved animals.

About Sarah Ban Breathnach

* Featured on for 10 Ways to Rediscover Everything You've Got. "Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, inspired Oprah to start a gratitude journal. Here, she reminds us of all that we have to be grateful for."
* With over 14 visits to the Oprah Winfrey network, most recently in 2012 on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday series.
* Deepak Chopra proclaimed Sarah Ban Breathnach "a one-woman women's movement...just the subversively cosmic voice society needs" to help America "re-evaluate our values..."
* MORE Magazine named Sarah Ban Breathnach as one of the 50"extraordinary" women redefining what it means to be fifty today
* Because the editors of People Magazine believed Sarah Ban Breathnach had her finger on the pulse of the American people she was asked to be a special correspondent at the funeral of Princess Diana in September 1997
* Sarah Ban Breathnach has been a contributing editor of Good Housekeeping and wrote a regular column on "everyday spirituality", the first for a mainstream woman's magazine.
* USA Today described Sarah's body of work "Simply Irresistible."
* TV Guide has turned to Sarah Ban Breathnach twice to write on the role of spirituality and television, for solace after 9/11
* The critically acclaimed George Magazine named Sarah Ban Breathnach as one of America's "most fascinating women of power and influence" (October 1998).
* The American Benefactor magazine noted when discussing the Simple Abundance Charitable Fund, founded by Sarah Ban Breathnach, that while "it's not necessary to reconcile your public personal with your personal life these days, it's refreshing when someone does like Sarah Ban Breathnach..." Since 1995 the SACF has supported the vision of more than 100 non-profit organizations by awarding over $1 million in financial support from Sarah's royalties, product sales and speaking fees.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found it impossible not to be drawn to Romancing the Ordinary, at first simply for its beautiful cover. What I found inside was even lovelier! The style os this book harkens back to Simple Abundance as it calendars the year month by month, offering recipes and cozy home remedies. Sarah's signature narrative is in full effect with her personal anecdotes and insight, where it feels more like an exchange with an intimate friend. Though there is a noted change in her tone--sometimes she's nostalgic, others she is inquisitive and even sassy!
There has been so much tragedy in the past year that I think many of us are finding renewed significance in our everyday ordinary. Sarah takes that sentiment to a refreshing new level. Embedded between fanciful ways of revamping the blah of everyday routine, are nuggets of wisdom and practical proposals.
The book's foundation focuses on her intriguing idea that we can live life fuller simply by beginning to re-appreciate the power of our natural senses. In addition to the five physical ones, she tacks on wonder and intuition. Sarah's theory of Romancing Life translates seamlessly into Romancing Yourself. A practice that begins with self-knowledge. She shares her own realization that, the more you know how to make yourself happy, the easier it will be to recognize who will make you happy. And in the meantime, why wait for that someone? Do it yourself. Now what woman can argue with that?
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Llewellyn on October 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm a long-time fan of Ms. Ban Breathnach's work. However, I'm not an easy sell just because an author comes out with something else. From the moment I picked up this beautiful book, I could tell that she had ventured into new territory. Laid out as a journey through the twelve months of the year, each chapter gently guides you through the delights to be found in every day and the simple graces you can bring into your life. You'll also find all of the SBB trademarks: rare quotes, thought provoking questions, recipes for body and soul, and of course the lyrical prose that only comes from the goddess of gratitude.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By L. Fort on November 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read Sarah's Simple Abundance each year since it came out. Now I find this wonderful book of hers too. I am so glad she chose to refer to God more in this new book. I love Sarah's ability to write as we live. She knows what it is to truly see, hear, listen, touch, and smell our lives. Please don't just glance at your child, look into your child. Don't just see a flower, see the Creator who made it bloom. And as the seasons in life and nature change, we too change and grow. We cannot do it alone. Live your life, every moment, every breath.
thank you Sarah.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kate Picher on January 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After reading the other reviews, I just have to write my own--because I actually bought this book. I have read and re-read Simple Abundance and Something More, so I am a fan of SBB. This book is not as evil as has been reviewed. However, I must say, if you are a Christian who does not allow her children to read Harry Potter because it is "evil," then this book is not for you. SBB does discuss magic and witches in the sense of Glenda the good witch from the Wizard of Oz.
What I do appreciate about the book is the encouragement to view my everyday activities in a different light. Enjoy my pillows, enjoy selecting my books for vacation, enjoy having a comfortable nightgown to sleep in. Think about what would give me pleasure, not just please everyone else. Let go of perfectinism.
I look forward to reading the book over the next year. I look forward to apprectiating my senses more--which is the whole premise of the book.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a longtime SIMPLE ABUNDANCE (SA) fan, I was excited to hear that SB was coming out with a new day book. (I have been re-reading SIMPLE ABUNDANCE for a while now!). ROMANCING the Ordinary is lovely to look at and the essays are pure SB -- comforting and informative, as always.
One of the things that made "SA" so helpful and appealing was its daily entries. While "Romancing the Ordinary" is divided into 12 months, there are no daily entries -- so you simply read the essays for that month as you see fit. I am not sure why the publisher didn't encourage Sarah to make an essay for each day of the year, just as she did for "SA". For that reason alone, I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5.
However, I do love the concept of day books, and I think women need them more than ever now that life is so busy, and often fraught with conflict. Writers like Sarah give us comfort and advice, and permission to enjoy and savor life instead of merely rushing through it. Sarah gives us old wisdom, new thought, and some wonderful quotations along the way. We need more of this!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David A. Stedman on January 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An inspiring and enlightening work that is very appropriate considering all the depression, anxiety, uncertainty and pessimisim we see all around us. This book is clearly written for women and truthfully I bought it for my wife. But, while she was reading it, I started scanning it and was drawn in. The author suffered a head injury that deprived her of sensory input. One by one, she regained her senses, but gained a new appreciation for life as she rediscovered the abundant joy to be found in simple everyday pleasures. It may sound trite, but I assure you, it's not. You can't help but become more aware of life's blessings when you read this book!
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