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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake [Kindle Edition]

Anna Quindlen
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description


“[Quindlen] serves up generous portions of her wise, commonsensical, irresistibly quotable take on life. . . . What Nora Ephron does for body image and Anne Lamott for spiritual neuroses, Quindlen achieves on the home front.”—NPR
In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating—everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen uses 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. ”
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.”
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.”
Candid, funny, and 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.
“Classic Quindlen, at times witty, at times wise, and always of her time.”—The Miami Herald
“[A] pithy, get-real memoir.”—Booklist
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Anna Quindlen
“A reporter by training, a storyteller at heart, [Quindlen’s] writing is personal, humorous, and thought-provoking.”—The 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
“[Quindlen is] America’s resident sane person.”—The New York Times

About the Author

Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear. She is the author of six novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, and Every Last One.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1594 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812981669
  • Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OCYR9E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,770 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
237 of 243 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Candles, More Cake March 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At age 60, Anna Quindlen has already had plenty of candles and birthday cake, but she wants more. A lot more. Her own mother died in her early 40s, when Anna was just nineteen. That early loss has made her grateful for every additional year she gets that her mother was denied.

Anna's gratitude is the common ingredient that ties together these ruminations of an aging feminist baby boomer. She seems amazed, even somewhat astonished, at how fortunate she has been. She has reached an age where she can look back and recognize the combination of ambition and serendipity that allowed her to "have it all" in terms of marriage, motherhood, career, and friendship.

These essays will of course have the most appeal for those in Quindlen's age range whose life paths have somewhat paralleled hers. But if you've read her work before, you know she always shares observations and wisdom that are universally relevant. I like her spunk. I like her honesty. Most of all, I like the way she always manages to say the things I feel but cannot put into words. I recommend the book for all connoisseurs of life.
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123 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Are Never Too Old To Have The Best Day Of Your Life February 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Anna Quindlen has always seemed like a friend to me. She doesn't know me, but I know her, and we are very much alike. She was born one day before me, July 8, we both married young and maintained our profession. We each had three children. We have grown older together, and I have followed her through her New York Times articles, her novels and her Newsweek blogs. I have missed her writing, and now, here she is, writing about the times of her life.

Anna talks about her times of life from a child to young woman to aging adult. And, as she says, she realized that when one of her children told her 68 was elderly, and she tried to refute that and make her own definition of elderly, that 'Old is whatever you haven't gotten to yet'. Oh, I agree with that phrase. I am in my sixties, but I don't feel much older than forty, except that some parts of my body are lower than they used to be.

This is a book for all of us. A guidebook of sorts, of where we have been, where we are now and where we might be going. Anna tells us her story, but if you are of her age, it is all of our stories. With our time from early adult to an aging one. We have all collected 'stuff', and like Anna I could do without most of it. They are things that meant a lot and still do, but are only things. My computer holds most of the pictures I value. My children have the important things from their childhood. We raised our children the best we could. I was not a helicopter mother, I was too busy and that came years after. Like Anna, we were trying to raise our children, keep our marriage intact and work at the job we loved. This was after the women's revolution, we were the lucky recipients, but at an early age we felt the sexism inherent in our jobs.
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158 of 189 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit melodramatic in places March 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoy this author's work, and have read previous essays and books and left with a somewhat hopeful feeling. I didn't get that one so much with this one. In fact, I found this book a bit melodramatic. The tone was like listening to a friend who you know has it better than you and yet who focuses on what she doesn't have. She might have wealth and a husband that loves her, but she'll focus on one or two things in life she thinks she missing. This book gave me that same feeling, that you want to embrace her and love her and tell her it's going to be all right, but at the same time you can't understand what she is grousing about.

Quindlen is such a talented author, and I have enjoyed many previous works. I actually made a cup of tea and sat down to enjoy this book with excitement, but something in it really lacked. It's hard to pinpoint something other than the "tone" or the lack of an emotional pull, but that's what it comes down to for me.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight (4.5 Stars) March 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are so many take away quotes from "lots of candles, plenty of cake" that it's hard to choose which ones I connected with the most. Anna Quindlen has such a reassuring, knowing voice that reading these essays is a bit like getting advice from your most level-headed friend. You know she's been where you are, and probably had the same problems you had - but she made it through and is wiser for the journey.

"Maybe that's why we give advice, when we're older, mostly to people who don't want to hear it. They can't hear it because its in a different language, a language we learn over time, the language of experience cut with failure, triumph and tedium."

These essays are filled with wisdom and humor and self reflection - they sound the way I hope to someday. Quindlen still admires and appreciates the amazing time that is youth, but she now looks at it through the eyes of one who has been there, and is seeing it for a second time through the eyes of her children.

"Every once in a while we meet our long-ago selves across a dining table or a desk, when younger women come to ask for advice or interview for a job." "It's so hard to tell them the truth, that there is no formula, there is no plan." "It often seems, looking back, that so many of our plans are honored mainly in the breach, that it is the surprises that define us, the paths we didn't see coming and may have wandered down by mistake."

Towards the end of the book, I found myself a bit weary - although I love her words and agree with pretty much all she has to say, as with any book of essays, there was a bit of repetition. Said in different ways and about different situations, the themes are pretty similar.

But in the end, I took a great deal from this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another qinner
I have loved everything from this author and this book is no exception.
Published 16 hours ago by karen murphy
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Nice commentary on aging but nothing that stays with you
Published 6 days ago by Lynn Boruchowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
another wonderful book from Anna Qunidlen
Published 7 days ago by Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book! It's take on growing older is so freeing, practical and reassuring.
Published 7 days ago by Jenny H. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
She really wrote a lot of my life.
Published 7 days ago by Gina Grether
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book by Anna Quindlen....
This book is now among my top 10 favorite books. I loved it so much that I purchased 4 more to give to friends. Anna Quindlen is profound in her writings. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Bobbie
5.0 out of 5 stars our Book Group at church read and discussed it early in 2014 and loved...
I wrote an earlier review. However, the number of stars was not correct. This is the correct rating. I seriously doubt that I will ever get a comment from my sister-in-law. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Anne Aberg
2.0 out of 5 stars If you're not a mother you will not relate to a lot of it
ok, here was the problem for me - if you are not a mother, you cannot relate to most of the book. So this is clearly subjective. Read more
Published 10 days ago by I. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Anna Quindlen never disappoints..wise beyond her years and always relevant.
Published 10 days ago by Barbara Knight
2.0 out of 5 stars I typically love Ann Quindlen's books
I typically love Ann Quindlen's books. This was another story. I found it to be a long sermon that I quickly tired of hearing. I skipped sections when I got bored. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Michelle Moss
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More About the Author

Anna Quindlen is the author of three bestselling novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing and Black and Blue, and three non-fiction books, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud and A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Her New York Times column 'Public and Private' won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. She is currently a columnist for Newsweek and lives with her husband and children in New York.

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