Regular price: $28.00

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    178
  • 4 Stars
    106
  • 3 Stars
    73
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    15

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    161
  • 4 Stars
    83
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    149
  • 4 Stars
    89
  • 3 Stars
    62
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    16
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very thought provoking

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved it!

Just excellent. I am so glad that this book was recommended to me. Must read.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Meaningful Beyond Measure

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Mrs. Quindlen does it again!

What did you love best about Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake?

Honesty. Anna Quindlen has such a beautiful way of phrasing the most ordinary situations of life into a warm, loving way.

What did you like best about this story?

How relatable her stories are to my generation

What about Anna Quindlen’s performance did you like?

She sounds just like she is talking to me as a friend<br/><br/><br/><br/>

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

From begining to end, every situation she writes about life was moving.

Any additional comments?

So happy to have found her books!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enjoyed!

I would definitely recommend to friends and family over 50. I have mixed feelings about Anna reading her audiobook. We are given an opportunity to be in the mind of Anna as she
wrote the book, yet her tone as she read somewhat muted the her humor. That being said, I still enjoyed her book and her point of view.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Don't miss! Absolutely quotable!

Where does Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Number one

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's a memoir

What does Anna Quindlen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice and accent threw me at first, but you couldn't help feeling her personal connection to the words she was reciting.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Hard to choose... I like the idea of death described as a bird flying away, leaving the cage behind.

Any additional comments?

Prepare yourself for her thoughts on Catholicism if you are a catholic! Good to think about, hard to hear.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pattie
  • Powhatan Point, OH, United States
  • 05-16-13

Like talking with my best friend!

Would you listen to Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake again? Why?

Anna Quindlen's voice is calming and so down to earth.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't wait to get back into the car to listen to her "talk to me". I related to so much of what she said.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Edward
  • OMAHA, NE, United States
  • 03-13-13

It is like listening to an old friend

Would you listen to Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake again? Why?

I would listen to it again. The wisdom and wit from Anna Quindlen can be enjoyed and mused over many times!

What did you like best about this story?

The personal anecdotes were delightful and made the lessons she learned easy to assimilate.

What does Anna Quindlen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Somehow, hearing it in her own voice made it seem like a conversation with an old friend and brought her stories to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All of the stories about her husband and their marriage really resonated with me.

Any additional comments?

I fully enjoyed this book and it gave me pause to remember and celebrate my own relationships with family and friends.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • KJFDDS
  • Bradenton, FL
  • 03-01-13

This was my first Anna Quindlen book. WOW!

This book is so full of incredible observations and insight about life from a "boomer" woman's perspective! I laughed out loud...I shed tears...I saw some new light. Anna writes so many quotable passages...I had to get the Kindle version as well to re-enjoy the highlights!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Richard
  • MADISON, WI, United States
  • 02-20-13

Like a good visit over tea.

Would you listen to Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake again? Why?

Yes, in a year or so. Good visit

What other book might you compare Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake to and why?

N/A

What does Anna Quindlen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

N/A

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, many. But I would need to look at my notes to post them

Any additional comments?

N/A