In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead - and celebrating it all - as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.
As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about:
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’”
Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.
©2012 Anna Quindlen (P)2012 Random House
“A reporter by training, a storyteller at heart, [Quindlen’s] writing is personal, humorous, and thought-provoking.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
“Quindlen is an astonishingly graceful writer.” (San Francisco Examiner)
“Thank goodness for Anna Quindlen. [She] is smart. And compassionate. And witty. And wise.” (Detroit Free-Press)
I thoroughly enjoyed Anna Quindlen's narration of her memoir, as always, beautifully written -- told as reflections on experiences in her life -- the women's movement,the illness and early death of her mother, childrearing, making room for adult children in the working world, being a writer, holidays/family traditions, menopause, exercise, and much more. Liberally sprinkled with humor and insight -- felt as though she was sharing with me personally. I plan to buy a hard copy of the book as there are quips and portions I'd like to reread and share with others.
I really enjoyed this book. Anna Quindlen does a great job reading her own book and sharing her honest and funny stories. Worth the credit.
It is not that i did not enjoy the book somewhat.. Being in my 50's i did relate to much of what the author talks about and makes reference to. That said, it is not one of her better books. The best way i could describe her voice and reading of this book is she sounded like the actress Joan Cusack
have not listened to her books on audibles before.
It was very even and same old all the time. I did not object but it was not colorful in it's tempo
There were some but i can not recall
I think that there are many exasperating things about getting older and relationships etc and Nora Ephron's book I hate my neck is much funnier.
In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead
- and celebrating it all - as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.
Writer, retired now 11 years and living at the beach, writing, golfing, enjoying my "second act."
Having read several of Anna Quindlen's other non-fiction works, I was accustomed to her literary voice and tone of writing, her turn of phrase and her ability to bridge the common experience. I'm not married and dont have kids, but we are the same age, share much the same background and pretty much the same politics, so reading/listening to her is always a good read. I'd recommend this to anyone of like mind or experiences.
Love her turn of phrase.
No. More like sisters of the same experience.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is the first book of Anna Quindlen's essays that I have read, and I'll admit I approached it with some trepidation. Many of the reviews were just so-so, and after reading (and loving) several of her novels, I did not want to read a so-so Anna Quindlen book. Not every one of the essays in this book spoke to me, but there were several (especially Stuff, Mothering, and Faith) that were so good that they more than make up for the rest.
This book is touted by the publisher as a celebration of aging, and while Quindlen does write about getting older, it is not a precious collection of old-age aphorisms. There were several instances where I began to think that Quindlen might possibly have an easier and more comfortable time growing older than a woman in average circumstances who might not have a country place with a pond to walk around, or affordable healthcare, let alone a trainer who can help her with "the stories she tells herself." But Quindlen does not make apologies; she doesn't preach and she does write with honesty. One of the reasons I like Anna Quindlen's writing is that she makes me think, and she manages to do that here through wonderfully written and thoughtful prose.
What comes across most to me is Quindlen's incredibly deep attachment to her children and to her job as a mother. This is where her writing really shines. She writes ideas that I've also thought about, but she expresses them infinitely better than I could manage myself.
"Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us."
She got it!
Being able to relive the journey from college to today with such insight was so reassuring.
I am more articulate about our legacy.
. . . and looking forward to more.
Really enjoyed hearing Anna herself narrate. At 60, she's very insightful into aging, but a bit negative. She hopefully has many more years ahead of her, but seems to act like a 90+ year old in her opinions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book especially being read by the author. Now I'm going to go out and buy a hard copy and insist Both of my book clubs read it! Thank you, AQ
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