Rather frequently, I am asked for book recommendations. In particular, it seems people are hungry for a book that’s light and easy to read. I’m guilty of almost always reading self-help nonfiction and tons of devotional type of books. While these are good, they are often heavy and require much self-assessment and reflection. One of my go-tos when I need funny, light and clean is New York Times Bestselling author, Melanie Shankle.
I’m not exactly sure how I first came across Melanie and picked up a copy of her freshman release, Sparkly Green Earrings, but she quickly became one of my favorite authors. I’ve since read 3 other Melanie Shankles, and she remains consistent with her humorous, light-hearted writing style within each book.
When I had the opportunity to participate on the launch team for Melanie’s newest release, Church of the Small Things, I JUMPED at the chance. This would mean getting an advanced copy of her book MONTHS before the actual release date. Melanie can’t write books fast enough for my liking, so it thrilled me to no end to not have to wait until October for my copy.
And, let me just tell y’all, I devoured this book in about 2-3 hours, 2 evenings in row. I laughed, laughed and laughed some more. What I especially love about this book is ALLLLLL the references to things only a child of the 70s or 80s could truly appreciate. Melanie took me on journey and reminded me of things from my childhood that I hadn’t thought about in years. For example, who hasn’t seen Grease 473 times…..before we were 15. I distinctly remember the first time I watched it with adult eyes. And I was all, “Holy moly! This movie is trash!” Lol. But guess, what? We all turned out ok.
I crossed the 40 threshold this year and more than ever, I have come to appreciate the small things in life. I’m guilty of expectantly waiting for the next big thing and missing “the million little pieces” that come together to shape me. Church of the Small Things is comprised of poignant vignettes that shaped Melanie. She touches on precious times with her grandparents, the divorce of her parents, the regretful decision to purchase a white couch (one I’m currently contemplating for my cottage), times with her beloved husband and daughter, and many, many more touching moments. I LOVED that I found myself relating to Melanie’s stories which caused me to pause and ponder how small things have been pieced together to grant me the marvelous life I’ve mercifully been granted.
One thing I COULD NOT get enough of were the Small Things snippets carefully interspersed throughout the entire book.
Some of my favorite of Melanie’s Small Things:
Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was a Kid
- Enjoy how great you feel wearing a swimsuit, because it’s short-lived. (YES)
- Your grandparents won’t be around forever. Enjoy the time you have with them and how much they adore you. (This one really makes me cry.)
Things I Wish I’d Known in High School
- Lying out in the sun using only the SPF contained in baby oil is a bad idea. (I’m sure every wrinkle my sister and I have are for this reason RIGHT HERE.)
- The banana clip was an unfortunate hair accessory made more unfortunate by the fact that you owned one in every color. (ME)
- Twenty years go by in the blink of an eye, and while each one has its share of challenges, life just gets better. (Oh yes!)
Things I Wish I’d Known in College
- Those boys who seem like they could have real potential if you could just change a few things about them aren’t going to change. (THIS.)
- You will never regret all the late nights you spent hanging out laughing with your roommates. (Man, I wish I would have appreciated this more.)
- That bodysuit that snaps at the crotch that you insist on wearing with high-waisted jeans and a Brighton belt is a mistake. (Guilty)
There’s SO MUCH more where these came from. Church of the Small Things is a much needed, light-hearted, humorous read and trust me, you won’t be able to put this book down (especially if you are between 30-50 years old). In your reminiscing with Melanie, you will recount all the small things that make up your life. What I would I give for summers to last an eternity, to smell sauerkraut cooking in my Mamaw’s kitchen, to fit into those denim and white striped Guess jeans (well maybe not), to run to the truckstop in Caddo Valley for “breakfast” at 2 am in the morning and bounce into class the next day like I had slept a full 8 hours…..These are the small things, “the million little pieces that make up a life.” Thank you Melanie for reminding us simple, far-reaching acts build our great big, glorious lives.
Once you’ve had a chance to read Church of the Small Things, I’d love for you to circle back here and let me know your thoughts!
In case you’d like to read Melanie’s other books: