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Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  9,445 ratings  ·  731 reviews
Cold Tangerines is a collection of stories that celebrate the extraordinary moments hidden in our everyday lives. It is about God, and about life, and about the thousands of daily ways in which an awareness of God changes and infuses everything. It is about spiritual life, and about all the things that we have called nonspiritual life that might be spiritual after all. It ...more
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dawn There is nothing inappropriate in the content of this book, but I'm not sure how much of it would be something a teen would identify with? It's writte…moreThere is nothing inappropriate in the content of this book, but I'm not sure how much of it would be something a teen would identify with? It's written with the perspective of a woman in her mid-30s and when I was a teen, 30-somethings seemed positively ancient to me. (less)

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 ·  9,445 ratings  ·  731 reviews

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Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Well, I'm definitely in the minority here with my rating. I thought the idea of this book was a wonderful one--I love to celebrate everyday life, but there were a lot of times throughout the book I was like, 'what was the point of this, again?' For some of the essays this is not true and it is very apparent that they follow her theme, but really, for me, not enough of them. She has a sometimes beautiful and sometimes overdone poetic prose style of writing that sometimes captivated me and sometim ...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Excellent book!! I laughed and/or cried during every single chapter. Such an emotional and uplifting read. Shauna writes so honestly about such relatable topics in motherhood, friendships, marriage, etc. I highly recommend this book!
My sister called me and said I had to read this book. This is an amazing and unusual event. She is a busy person - six kids among other things and I am the librarian. I usually want to tell her what to read. The other odd part is we are not always in sync about religion. And this book is definitely about religion. So I figured out I could get this book on my Kindle and downloaded it immediately.

And my sister is right - I needed to read this book. Shauna is a wise soul for one so young. She remin
Jonathan Brooker
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
A realization came to me about midway through reading this book. I was enjoying the short anecdotal chapters with memoirs and creative thoughts from the author. It was certainly different than my usual reading that I gravitate towards, but that was part of my reason for picking it off the shelf to read. Anyhow, I'm about halfway through when, much like realizing you've somehow walked into the women's section of clothing at the department store and been staring at the clothes for a while even tho ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Yet another case of blogger-turned-author, with both things not being equal. Sometimes people with popular blogs get asked to write books. This seems especially true within the Christian blogging community. At any rate, their books become just a series of short essays, which actually read like blog posts. Whimsical, observant blog posts and thoughtful essays are not the same thing.

This book was divided into four sections as a means of trying to categorize each "essay," but there was really no ce
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Admittedly, when I realized that this was a "faith-based" book, I was hesitant; where the author carries her faith in God, I'm more of a "universe" and karma-based kind of girl.
That said? Even our differing beliefs had no effect on how much I adored this book.

Although there were the strong undercurrents of a religion I don't subscribe to, it was easy enough for me to skip over certain passages or mentally adapt certain passages to suit my own beliefs.
Faith differences aside, I settled in happily
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. Why? I agree to the core of my being with the idea behind it... celebration of the beauty of every day. The places and even many of the people in its pages are familiar to me. Some of the writing is truly beautiful. The author doesn't - as so many others do - leave readers at an arm's length. The basic point of each mini-essay is valid, sometimes even profound. However, I really, really didn't like it. The constant references to the author's unhappiness with he ...more
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't believe this book is meant to be gobbled up in one sitting but rather one bite at a time. No matter your faith, you cannot deny the vulnerable truths the author shares from her personal experiences. You may even find yourself in the pages. ...more
3.5 stars
Update: 3 stars

This book is uplifting, easy to understand, encouraging and brings joy.
The reason I gave it 3.5 stars is because there are stories that I didn't feel the connection to.
But there are many stories that really are great :)
Cold Tangerine talk about God, but it does not have scriptures in it (which is fine of course). It's more like a reading someone's journal about her experience with God. It has 40 stories in it, and it divided into 4 sections.

This book will encourage us
Rachel A.  Dawson
This book is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy. ...more
One of my favorite reads of the year. It took me exactly a month to read it, and I postponed reading new chapters as much as I could, because I wanted to savor it. Shauna has a beautiful gift. I will read it over and over again, I'm sure. ...more
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was shopping for a Christmas present for my mom in Body Shop when I saw that they have new stocks of my favorite body butter scent, tangerine. That scent became my favorite by accident years ago, when I went there to claim my Love Your Body membership birthday gift, and they gave me a small bottle of their tangerine-scented lotion and body wash. I used it for the gym and loved it, and eventually bought more until I got broke and realized that my daily bath stuff are too expensive. So while I w ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
"Cold Tangerines" is a collection of little "gems" from Shauna Niequist's life; actually, it read more like a blog than a novel. I appreciate that she was able to focus each story around a very specific event from her past and provide the reader with take-away lessons. Likely because I had a very ordinary adolescence (feelings of awkwardness, doubting myself and whether or not anyone liked me, found fault with my body, etc.), it was easy to resonate with many of these stories.

Niequist's writing
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book I would have missed if I hadn't been paying attention to my goodreads friends. I saw it on a couple of lists and thought I would enjoy it. Thanks Tammra and Cindi.
Cold Tangerines is a delightful romp through the mundane of our days and extraordinary of our everyday. Choosing to see the gifts that surround us. Choosing to see the goodness of God. Shauna Niequist has that gift for writing that all good writers of this type have, a willingness to be razor honest about themselves. T
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: unforgettable, 2012
I think she reads my mind. She must. She writes; I relate like no other. What a gift. Bright inspiration since Page 1. I'll read her upcoming book madly the week it comes out. And I might just start collecting pennies too. ...more
Kacey Gilpin
This was a delightful read. Niequist gives voice to so many of my thoughts and feelings. I've told my husband that he needs to read Cold Tangerines to understand me better:) ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those jump up and down books for me -- Yes! I have thought that way... Yes! I have been there... Yes! She gets it... I could not get enough of these short, poignant vignettes. I adore her frank, fresh writing style. I appreciate her authenticity, and I respond to her heartbreak. She isn't afraid of tough questions, or of honest self-reflection. She embraces religion with a unique moxy that is equal parts reverance, familiarity and relevance - all in perfect balance. I found myself ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i have a whopping 3 friends with new books out, of which shauna is one. the essays here are all short, 1st-person narratives with fantastic bits of juiciness w/r/t love and loss and life. she has a great hand for evoking the meta- from the details of ordinary events. i have a policy of trying to read 3-6 books at once, so i can always have a book to fit my mood; cold tangerines is the perfect negotiator for this model--whether at the bus stop or at lunch or out for a pre-bedtime smoke, in the sp ...more
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
I heard Shauna Niequist speak and read from her book at the Festival of Faith and Writing this spring. Cold Tangerines is a collection of essays about celebrating and living life to the fullest. The writing style is colloquial and sounds just like the way Shauna speaks. But, she is a friendly and joyful sort of person, so I enjoyed her stories very much. I appreciated her honesty about the tough seasons in her life, and I think I will go back and reread the essays about writing and creativity.
Leigh Kramer
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Ever since I read Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet, I've meant to read Cold Tangerines. I finally tracked down a copy and realized I read both books at the perfect seasons of my life. Her books feel like a good conversation with a friend. Honest, authentic, real. She asks good questions and provides soul-stirring responses. Because of how intimately I react to her books, if you want to know more, you'll have to ply me with my drink of choice first. ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought this was a good book and good ideas that I should definitely take. But she was pretty dramatic and to the point that I don't think a lot of people are like that. She also has some weird views that I don't agree with, but I loved reading about when she was pregnant with her son and her relationship with her husband seems really good. But overall I thought it was a good book, but just tiring by the end. ...more
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: favorites
This book was like sitting down with my best friend. There is something here for everyone, no matter what stage of life you are in. It made me laugh, cry, think. It made me warmer in my soul and I'm a different person having read it. Or perhaps not a different person - but more aware and thankful for who God created me to be. ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
The few things that bother me about this book are ultimately not important when it comes to the message Niequist is trying to send. She is personable, honest, and funny, and her stories and reflections push you to see the little moments in a more positive light.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
reads like a conversation with a best friend. powerful and poignant stories to encourage and draw you into a life worth living.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
Nice, but not nearly as good as Bread & Wine.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So good! An honest, authentic reminder to live life to the fullest and to celebrate this life we’ve been given, the big moments, and the small, everyday moments. Need to buy, not just check out from library!

My favorite quote: “...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.”
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I just love Niequist's books. Her words speak to my heart and she has a way of testifying of God that is simple and understandable. This book is a collection of essays, and if I had been reading my hard copy rather than listening to it, it would be full of highlights. My favorite is probably the one on forgiveness. ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I loved a lot of things about this book but it annoyed me a little bit reads almost like the author's journal....personal and it was written for her and not for anyone else. And it was a little dramatic at times....jealousy, anger, inability to forgive, big issues with a job change....I'm not someone who lets that stuff bother me so it all seemed very dramatic and over-the-top. I just couldn't relate.
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, memoir
I had a hard time getting over the fact that this book was not at all what I expected. Based on the title/subtitle and the back blurb, I was anticipating something vaguely One Thousand Gifts-ish. The introduction and the last essay (also titled “Cold Tangerines”) were pretty much exactly in line with what I expected, but everything in between went a totally different direction. It wasn’t bad; it was just a little jarring, since it didn’t feel like what the introduction set me up for. The book is ...more
Adriane Devries
So much of what is fun in life is finding out you are not weird alone. I experienced this recently when I wore fake zombie teeth to chat with my dear librarian, thinking to scandalize her and maybe ruin my own reputation in the process, only to find out that she shares my enjoyment of the Undead genre and could exuberantly recommend many of her own favorites for me to try. Who knew? So often, when we take the time to dig into each other’s lives, we can say with great relief,“You, too? I thought ...more
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Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron Niequist, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live ...more

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114 likes · 42 comments
“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.
I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.
John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.
The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”
“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 out 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.” 818 likes
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