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Sonderbooks Book Review of

Cold Tangerines

Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

by Shauna Niequist


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Cold Tangerines

Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

by Shauna Alexander

Reviewed August 13, 2013.
Zondervan, 2007. 250 pages.
Starred Review
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #6 Nonfiction

I was surprised to see that Cold Tangerines was written in 2007. I checked it out because it was new to our library. Better late than never!

Cold Tangerines is another book of meditations on the importance of living a grateful life, on all the blessings God embeds in our everyday world.

A lot of her writing doesn't seem momentous. But that's fitting, since she's talking about walking with God in the everyday.

Here's a representative section at the end:

It’s rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It’s much easier and much more common to be miserable. But I choose to do what I can do to create hope, to celebrate life, and the act of celebrating connects me back to that life I love. We could just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it. I think it’s our job, each of us, to live each day like it’s a special occasion, because we’ve been given a gift. We get to live in this beautiful world. When I live purposefully and well, when I dance instead of sitting it out, when I let myself laugh hard, when I wear my favorite shoes on a regular Tuesday, that regular Tuesday is better.

Right now, around our house, all the leaves are falling, and there’s no reason that they have to turn electric bright red before they fall, but they do, and I want to live like that. I want to say, “What can I do today that brings more beauty, more energy, more hope?” Because it seems like that’s what God is saying to us, over and over. “What can I do today to remind you again how good this life is? You think the color of the sky is good now, wait till sunset. You think oranges are good? Try a tangerine.” He’s a crazy delightful mad scientist and keeps coming back from the lab with great, unbelievable new things, and it’s a gift. It’s a gift to be a part of it.

I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater.

If you like that one, here are more quotes I collected on Sonderquotes.

I believe this stuff with all my heart. But it's always good to have a reminder. I recommend reading this book slowly, a chapter or so a day, and getting a daily reminder that God is good and life is full of His gifts, even during hard times.