Book Review: Bread & Wine

April 30, 2013

The following is a guest post by my dear friend Rachel Johnson, featuring a thoughtful review of Shauna Niequist’s newest book, Bread & Wine. Enjoy!!

“My prayer is that you’ll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you’ll bring it to the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy. And more than anything, I hope that when you put this book down, you’ll gather the people you love around your table to eat and drink, to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.”

Shauna Niequist
Bread & Wine

Shauna Niequist’s newest book, Bread & Wine, was released on April 9th and I was among the first to snatch up copies—I love her books so much that I just couldn’t help myself. Shauna seems to have perfected the art of writing in vignettes—each of her books (previous works include Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet) is comprised of a variety of chapters that offer anecdotes, reflections, and words of wisdom. Shauna doesn’t take herself too seriously, though—she is just as sassy, goofy, and witty as she is insightful, vulnerable, and contemplative.

Bread & Wine puts a new spin on Shauna’s old style by incorporating some of the author’s favorite recipes at the end of most chapters. The intent of Bread & Wine, as noted in the above quote, is to encourage readers to engage in community at the hearth of every home—the table. As Shauna eloquently writes,

“Some of my most sacred meals have been eaten out of travel mugs on camping trips or on benches on the street in Europe. Many of them have been at our own table or around our coffee table, leaning back against the couch. They’ve been high food and low food, fresh and frozen, extravagant and right out of the pizza box. It’s about the table, and about all the other places we find ourselves eating. It’s about a spirit or quality of living that rises up when we offer one another life itself, in the form of dinner or soup or breakfast, or bread and wine.”

One of the things I love most about Shauna is that she meets readers where they’re at—she’s relatable to talented chefs, take out-ordering fiends, and everyone in between. And the same sentiment applies to other areas of life—Shauna is open and honest enough to relate to readers in their struggles, and optimistic and peaceful enough to relate to readers in their triumphs. Whatever stage you’re in, at the table or otherwise, Shauna’s words will meet you, and they’ll comfort, encourage, and inspire you.

Have you read Bread & Wine yet? Do you plan to?

P.S. Bread & Wine is my book club pick for May—which starts tomorrow!! You can snag a copy through Amazon (Kindle edition available!) or Barnes & Noble. Also, you can download a sample through Zondervan if you’d like a sneak peek before purchasing!

Image via Lindsay Letters

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