I have spent the last several posts sharing my thoughts on some of my favorite books and authors, but I have one more author and book to share this week. What makes this post even more inviting to read is that the first person to post a response on my blog will receive a free, signed copy of Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bittersweet (be sure to email me your address). So read on!
Before I get into the particulars of the book, I need to share some background information about Shauna and how I came to list her as a “favorite author.” I have met Shauna only once, (our family did attend Willow Creek for ten years where her dad is the pastor, but our paths never crossed), and that was when I made my family drive to Houston to visit a church where she was giving a reading from her previous book, Cold Tangerines. I “found” Shauna while reading a review of her first book (for the life of me, I can’t remember where I read the review). My attention was immediately caught as I read the review and read words like, “celebrating the everyday”—words that resonate deeply with me. I bought a copy and in the process happily discovered she kept a blog. For the past two years, I have been a regular reader of her blog. Her blog has been a source a great delight for me because she writes about all of my favorite topics—books she’s reading, food she has cooked and eaten, and travels she’s taken. I would be less than honest, however, if I also didn’t say that there have been times when I have read her blog and literally longed for her life. The irony, of course, is that Shauna writes regularly about longing, and even though I don’t know her personally, I feel confident in saying that as much as I would like her life at times, there are moments when she wishes she had someone else’s life too.
All to say, I have eagerly anticipated her latest book, Bittersweet. Shauna writes with refreshing honesty and keen insight about life, and how often the bitter and the sweet are swirling in the same pot. She doesn’t shy away from sharing about some of the painful aspects of her life, but she also has a great sense of humor and a way with words that the English teacher in me loves.
One chapter that I especially resonated with is entitled, “things I don’t do.” Every woman should read this chapter. I may even photocopy this chapter (along with my list of “Things I Do and Things I Don’t Do), and stick it in my calendar to remind me that I do not need to be able to do it all. Sometimes someone else giving me permission to say no or to recognize that I don’t have be good at everything, is more helpful to me than trying to practice self-talk.
Shauna has another book in the works entitled, Bread and Wine (great title!), and I am grateful as a reader that she has found her calling as a writer. Her insightful observations about life and her refreshing winsome voice are gifts to her readers. Keep writing, Shauna, and thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us—your readers.