Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life has this awesome bright orange cover. I remember the day at Mardel’s when I thumbed through the pages and impulsively bought it. Loved the content, the voice of the writer and storytelling style. I shared the book with my best friend and Shauna Niequist instantly became a common friend we’d yet to meet. Her next book we eagerly devoured. Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way did not disappoint, but rather solidified our appreciation of this writer.
It’s a weird world we live in these days. It is quite possible to feel like you are close friends with someone you have never met. This author is our friend, she just don’t know it and yes, I am very aware of how creepy this sounds. We now keep up with her blog and Instagram posts. We casually mention her in conversation as if we’d seen her just that day. This is truly an odd one-sided friendship world that we find ourselves living. Shauna, we know we’d be pals.
That, my friends, is the hallmark of a good writer. One that can draw you into experiences and communicates with a voice that resonates clearly. Bottom line, Shauna is a masterful storyteller and that gift can easily turn strangers into friends.
Her newest book is Bread and Wine: Finding Community and Life Around the Table. I am not by nature a “food person” and find myself eating to live, not living to eat. But I admire those food people who know the truth found in the preparing and serving of food to those you love. I have at times glimpsed it, but haven’t yet embraced it as a way of life. This book has awakened my desire to be more intentional with “the table” as a form of connecting with the people in my life. Shauna weaves a story around recipes in a way that drove me to the kitchen, which for me, is something fairly miraculous. I made her risotto, vinaigrette, breakfast cookies and enchildas in the four days I read, no, wolfed down this book. My family was suspicious, but grateful. Shauna taught me through her stories in this book, to wrap the preparation of food for loved ones around the paradigm of story, rather than chore/duty. THAT is something I can hang on to.
Here are a couple of quotes to tempt you into ordering your copy and becoming Shauna’s friend as well.
“The table is where time stops. It’s where we look people in the eye, where we tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bite.”
“Gather the people you love around your table and feed them with love and honesty and creativity. Feed them with your hands and the flavors and smells that remind you of home and beauty and the best stories you’ve ever heard, the best stories you’ve ever lived.”
“With almost everything, the important moments are not the ones you’d think are the important ones. The really important moments are before the “big” moments. When you’re writing, the moment you sit down at the keyboard isn’t the magic moment; the magic moments are when you decide to see and hear and remember and taste everything in the whole world, choosing to believe that art and creativity are all around you, unfolding and beckoning you.”
Thank you, Shauna, for writing with such vulnerability and honesty. Your new blog rocks by the way!