Friday Faves: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

…in which I invite someone bookish to share one of their all-time favourite works of fiction and what it means to them. This week’s Friday Fave comes from blogger Shannon Nemer:

shannonnemer

Some readers carry dog-eared copies of their favorite books with them throughout their lives, but my favorite relationship is a new one. I’d heard mentions of Cheryl Strayed and her memoir Wild, which was quickly flying up the bestseller list, long before hearing about her collection of advice columns. Even after several recommendations pointed me toward Tiny Beautiful Things, nothing in me was thrilled about reading a smattering of advice from a formerly anonymous online advice column.  I could not have been more wrong.

You’re up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done. We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor…Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.

On its surface, Tiny Beautiful Things shouldn’t work – at least not for me. I’m not one to get a jolt from inspirational quotes or cozy up to terms of endearment like “honeybun” and “sweet pea”. But somehow, between those overused terms, Strayed is able to absolutely nail the emotions behind so many of life’s challenges; from miscarriages and struggling writers to love triangles and student loans, Sugar touches on it all. Her advice comes from a place of understanding, often aided by personal stories from her own life, which seeks to console without ever coddling.

While I loved Tiny Beautiful Things from my first reading, cried through a majority of its pages and bought several copies for friends, it didn’t begin to inch toward my favorite until I really needed it. I found my work environment shifting significantly, which made my job miserable enough that I began dreading every day of work. After going back and reading one of the columns in Tiny Beautiful Things, I found Strayed’s advice to a young writer that suggested coal miners “simply dig”. As silly as it sounds, I turned it into my mantra to just get through the day. And I did.

Shannon was born in the Detroit area, but moved to gorgeous Richmond, Virginia in 2008. After hearing about the world of book blogging in early 2013, she knew it was something she wanted to be a part of and jumped in head first. Though she has pretty varied reading tastes, she’s a huge fan of adult literary fiction and historical fiction. Big, sweeping family dramas that take place over several decades and continents are her weakness, as is dark Southern fiction. She also loves non-fiction that gets her stuck in a good Wikipedia worm hole, especially if it’s history or sociology related. She can be found on Twitter & Facebook, and blogs at www.rivercityreading.com

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One thought on “Friday Faves: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

  1. I read this book as a direct result of Shannon’s ravings and she is RIGHT. The advice is all so heartfelt and human. If I ever meet Cheryl Strayed, I’ll be compelled to give her an incredibly creepy and entirely too long hug.

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