• Spinster

  • Making a Life of One's Own
  • By: Kate Bolick
  • Narrated by: Kate Bolick
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (291 ratings)

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Spinster  By  cover art

Spinster

By: Kate Bolick
Narrated by: Kate Bolick
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Publisher's summary

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

“Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” 

So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried.

This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life.

Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor.

©2015 Kate Bolick (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

New York Times bestseller

One of Flavorwire's 10 Books That Will Define the Conversation in 2015

One of Newsday's Books Not to Miss

One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Social Science Titles of 2015

One of Bookpage’s "15 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2015"

One of Vogue.com’s Recommended Spring Books for 2015

Featured in Bookish’s Spring Preview

Featured in Bustle’s Spring Preview

“What’s surprising about Spinster is how, in its charmingly digressive style, the book sets forth a clear vision not just for single women, but for all women: to disregard the reigning views of how women should live, to know their own hearts and to carve out a little space for their dreams.” —New York Times Book Review

“Awakened and inspired by the lives of five historical women, Bolick revels in her own singledom in this blazingly smart memoir, which argues that “spinster” should be a coveted destination, not a dirty word. Her eloquent, provocative story illustrates how charting a unique course can make any life truly singular.” —People

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What listeners say about Spinster

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected.

I tried to hang through the entire book, but I only got through chapter 4. I felt as if I were listening to a 16th century novel. Not what I expected from the title. I'm so sorry to leave this review, as I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into writing a book.

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional!

A truly exceptional piece of literature. This is not a "how-to" on single life, as you might think - but so much more than that. It's about the true need to be alone - yet forever yearning, and having, deep connections with other human beings, sexual or not. It's about wanting something else than you are expected to want, and it is about finding "your people". Thank you, Kate Bolick. I have found my people.

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Important for every girl to read

Beautiful story of a girl who did not fit into society's cookie cutter image of what a woman should do and who she should be.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 06-05-15

Great content. Not just for single women.

Great content brought to an even higher level by the author reading. This is for any independent and creative person, offers much more than just a tale of a single woman

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5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too academic and she always has a man in her life.

The author is always dating or has a boyfriend. overly academic and seems like she is just capitalizing on a current trend

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5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bravo! A refreshing take on "Singledom"

Spinster, Old Maid, Single...Katie Bolick's in depth memoir is a giant step toward taking the sting out of society's perception of the single girl.

Bolick spins the tale of her path to blissful spinsterdom through her personal experience of discovering her five awakeners of the literary world. These influential women who act as both personal and professional role models and shape Bolick's point of view on making a life of ones own.

"Spinster" offers a refreshing take what it means to be single. Honest, even witty at times, and most importantly, completely devoid of self-pity.

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4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Yawn

Would you try another book from Kate Bolick and/or Kate Bolick?

Probably not.

What was most disappointing about Kate Bolick’s story?

I had high hopes for this one but just cannot finish this book. I blame myself - this book was just not what I was expecting or hoped for.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Bolick?

I'm not sure. I don't think that the narrator would have made a difference with this book. The topic seems interesting but the story was not appealing to me and not really what I expected when I got this book.

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4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not as advertised

I thought this book was about five amazing women who pushed societal norms and redefined what it means to marry. I thought it was to be about the history of spinsters, single women, the changes in our current society that make it so women do not need to marry...but it was mostly about the author, who has lived a very ordinary sort of life.

I will be honest, I didn’t finish it, got about 75% done and couldn’t take it anymore. I was bored. The first chapter contained some information on the history of the word spinster...there were some very short bits about five women... most of them married at some point.

Maybe the ending is amazing, but I just couldn’t get there.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Helped me break up with my boyfriend

This book instantly drew me in after I read Kate’s (the author’s) article in Vogue about how her affair was the best and worst thing she ever did. I read the article and got the book on audible immediately afterward. She really gives you the courage to live the life you deserve and she helped me open my eyes that I CAN and should get out of a relationship that’s not making me happy and that being along isn’t a scary thing after all. Thank you Kate! Love all the inspirational stories about the 5 “awakeners” as well. All women should read this. - Amy Farah www.thetrendyexplorer.com

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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As a comfortable single woman

let me tell you that being single is not about fending off lovely young bachelors who are certain you are marriage material. It's about learning to enjoy doing things alone. The alternative being dating a revolving door of loser after loser after loser. This is what the sisterhood has fought for 😂😃😉

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2 people found this helpful