Book Shelf: Tiny Beautiful Things

I rarely read a book twice, but Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things has made it to my bedside table twice. It's now part of my permanent collection. Cheryl is best know for her national bestseller Wild -- a book I mentioned in my very first blog post.

I never would have stumbled upon Tiny Beautiful Things if a friend hadn't loaned it to me a few years ago. The same friend sent me a nymag article this summer that talks about the book gaining popularity mostly among women as a self-help book.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a compilation of letters Strayed wrote as an advice columnist under the pen name "Sugar" for the literary web site The Rumpus. Cheryl wrote the column for a year unpaid and had no prior experience. Yet she wrote each response with the perfect balance of authority -- mostly using stories from her own life -- and compassion. The subjects run the gamut from dysfunctional relationships, romance, sex, substance abuse, death and more. Each is so beautifully written. In an interview she said she considers them literary essays. They are in my opinion.

I enjoyed the book so much that I suggested it for one of my three book clubs. Everyone loved it. In addition to catching up on our lives and critiquing my latest Stitch Fix, we actually used an interview with the author to guide our discussion. The book contains many of Strayed's famous quotes. My fave is actually her interview response when asked "how can we all be better to each other?" Cheryl said that's it's important not to absorb other people's bad behavior -- jealousy, pettiness, being weird and acting distant. "If this were summed up on a bumper sticker," she said, "it would read: Don't own other people's crap." My new mantra.

As always, we drank lots of wine and presecco, and snacked on these delicious s'mores macaron prepared with love by Elizabeth F.


I highly recommend Tiny Beautiful Things. If, for nothing else, it will make you feel better about your life.

I need something good to read. What do you recommend from your summer reading list?


  1. Maureen: Just saw this post and yes, I have reading recommendations! But I'm in a hurry right now, and was just gathering a post on it for next week! So hold on….I'll try to get it out before I leave on Thursday for England. Lots of suggestions!!! And i'm going to include yours here!

  2. I read this while on vacation last was simply written, yet the words carried such weight. It moved me---I couldn't put it down!! I'm about to read John Sanford's latest, so I'm probably not the best one to ask ;)


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