Reading Good Books Again

One of my favorite writers, C.S. Lewis, once wrote

It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.

Well, I imagine for Lewis that “old” books might have taken on a different meaning, but for me it is often a reminder to return to my bookshelves and see if there is something I enjoyed once that might deserve a re-reading. As both a personal and likely professional peril, I have lots of books…and although I regularly hand out books to friends and students (and see some of them again), and donate books to many worthy causes, I can become easily surrounded by … books.

So, one of my summer projects has been one of re-reading …to determine what I would still like to keep and what might be candidates for giving. And it’s been fun! I am re-reading some real gems and I am finding things on the back of my shelves that I really did mean to read when I first bought them …and that somehow never were.

This week I have been re-reading Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday (Zondervan, 2007). I was introduced to Shauna’s writing by my friend Andrea McAleenan, who also introduced me to Shauna personally when Andrea invited her to APU to speak about her writing and sign her book. I loved the book when I first read it and reading it again, find even more reasons to appreciate it. The book is a series of short essays that reflect upon living life fully and deeply and how this might be seen in the dailyness of living the Christian life with intentionality. Shauna writes about her house church and living in community, about family, about becoming a mother, about working in church. I thought that perhaps by including a few quotes from the book that it might be a way for each of you to experience her beautiful writing in a small way …and then encourage you to check out the library’s copy (or ask to borrow mine). Enjoy!

Friendship is acting out God’s love for people in tangible ways. We were made to represent the love of God in each other’s lives, so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God’s love for them. Friendship is an opportunity to act on God’s behalf in the lives of the people that we’re close to, reminding each other who God is. When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life. We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can’t always see from where we are (49).

Each one of our lives is shot through, threaded in and out with God’s provision, his grace, his protection, but on the average day, we notice it about as much as we really notice gravity or the hole in the ozone….once you start seeing the faithfulness and the hope, you see it everywhere…that all of life is woven with bits and stories of God’s goodness (127).

What writing teaches me, over and over, is that God is waiting to be found everywhere, in the darkest corners of our lives, the dead ends and bad neighborhoods we wake up in, and in the simplest, lightest, most singular and luminous moments….The miracle is that he dwells in both (136).

In addition to her books, Shauna blogs at

This entry was posted in Books, Faith integration, Quotes, Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

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