It’s a rainy day here. A perfect day to hunker down, drink some tea, and talk (write) about books. I’m later than I planned to be in posting my thoughts about last month’s book club book. After a few weeks of words flowing so easily, they seem to have slowed to a trickle.
Have you had a chance to read Cold Tangerines? I’m interested to know what you think. I enjoyed the book, but I wasn’t compelled to “not put it down.” Maybe that’s okay--maybe it’s a book that’s better enjoyed in little bits since it’s a collection of snapshots of beautiful and hard moments in a life lived with God.
I felt, at times, that I couldn’t relate to the stories, as if her life and mine are too different. But then, I’d turn the page and find myself there, in the midst of her disarming honesty. Sometimes I thought, "Can you say that out loud?" I'm glad she did say it out loud because sometimes it's easy to hide behind saying the things we're supposed to say.
I wouldn’t say this book made it into my top 10 all time favorites (which is a list that doesn’t actually exist), but I am glad I read it. I hope you are, too.
Here are my thoughts on the book club questions…feel free to reflect on any or all of them in the comments below…
1. What is one of your favourite sentences and why?
“There’s still a big story, disguised as just regular life, and the big story is about love and death and God, and about bread and wine and olives, about forgiveness and hunger and freedom, about all the things we dream about, and all the things we handle and hold” (p. 95).
I think this sentence sums up the stories in this book…and maybe it sums up what I’m trying to pay attention to in my own life. To remember that we are part of a Story that is bigger than us, (yet one which enfolds all of the little bits within it) is to see meaning and beauty in the midst of the brokenness and the boring.
2. What one new thought or insight did you gain?
“And it’s in those teeny tiny steps and moments that I become, actually, who I am. We won’t arrive. But we can become” (p. 208).
I don’t know that this is a completely new thought for me, but it is a good reminder of something of which I easily lose sight. I so often want to feel like I’ve arrived, like I’m where I’m supposed to be and I can stop trying to figure things out. I want to be issued my full-fledged adult card, the one that says that I’ve hit my stride and know what I’m doing.
It would feel comfortable, I think, to arrive. But maybe then we’d also stop seeking, and, in turn, stop growing. And so, instead of focusing on arriving, I want to focus on becoming more the person I am created to be.
3. What do you want to explore in more depth or have further conversation about?
“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” (49).
I want to look at my friendships through this lens and ask how I am being invited to act out God’s love in tangible ways.
4. Would you recommend this book to others? If so, what type of person do you think would enjoy it?
Yes. I think it would be a good one to take on vacation—for those days when you want to read something more substantial than whatever beach fiction you normally read, but not something overly intense.
The Next Book...
I spoke on the theme of "Calling" at a retreat in February, and so I spent the fall reading as much as I could on that topic. When I wrote a few thoughts about big callings and little callings a while back, I heard from many of you that this resonated with you. So, I picked a calling book that I haven't read yet:
We'll probably discuss it in early July. Hope you enjoy it!