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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake [Kindle Edition]

Anna Quindlen
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $8.06
You Save: $6.94 (46%)
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: #10,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
227 of 233 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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121 of 131 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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154 of 185 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
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Candles, Very Few Insights July 2, 2012
Quindlen writes a memoir geared to a very limited audience: White, Affluent, Privileged and Successful. She has three children and has been happily married to her first and only husband for many years. She enjoys a home in Manhattan and a spacious country home in Pennsyvlania, where her grown children can bond while walking around the pond on the property. She tells us that on a particular family sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands, she has a glorious insight after a near-drowining incident: She does not want her children burdened with having to care for her. I have had the same insight while I was doing laundry and cleaning toilet bowls - not as romantic and not memoir-worthy, but who among us has not felt that? One Christmas - and by the way - one of the Quindlen traditions is for the while family to take turns reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol - just a little bit too perfect a picture for me - Anna was sad because her son was in Beijing and it would have been the first Christmas she spent without him. You guessed it - her husband flew their son home from Beijing to surprise Anna. Wowee - most of us would be lucky to be able to fly our children from one state to another, no less from one continent to another.

I am not suggesting that one has to have had a hardscrabble life to have anything valuable to offer in terms of insights, but I feel I am being offered pablum here. Anna wants to die either in her bed in New York City or in her bed in Pennsylvania as she looks out the window at the bucolic country scene. That sounds quite lovely - but it has very little relevance to the lives most of us lead. I found nothing to grab onto in this memoir - very little substance - just a lot of perfect cake with perfect frosting to which I could not relate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Quindlen
As a huge fan of Anna Quindlen's novels, I looked forward to reading this memoir. It felt like having an endless column in the NYT to read! Read more
Published 2 days ago by Martha Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars I related well to this book!
If you are now in your sixties or seventies, you will certainly relate to all that anna Quindlen has written.
Published 2 days ago by J. Barsumian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book...I listened to it on book on tape, then had to have my own...
Just a great book for women and life as a mother, wife, daughter. I recommended to my sisters and friends.
Published 3 days ago by Cindy Rupe
2.0 out of 5 stars so recycled, so privileged, so boring
Maybe her columns were more interesting when she was younger because she might have struggled at least a little giving raising kids is somewhat of a leveler, but this recent memoir... Read more
Published 6 days ago by pjf
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Enjoyed this book from library so I ordered it for a friendship has been recovering from an illness and was confined to her home.
Published 8 days ago by Ana
4.0 out of 5 stars loved this book-so relatable!
Having read all of Anna Quindlen's books, this one stands above all for totally personal reasons. I'm her exact age, and have felt and thought so many of the same things about... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Janie Ross Diaz
2.0 out of 5 stars Irritating
Such a surface memoir. She goes on and on about all her stuff and all her houses and all her career breaks and her fantastic marriage and her amazing kids. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Erica Traverso
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I love Anna Quindlen...I'm 54 and have read all her books and especially like this one as it covers all the areas in my life now.
Published 11 days ago by Kristen Dudley
2.0 out of 5 stars A good manual for older women
This is an excellent manual for the over 60 woman. It is part autobiography, part philosophy. Quindlen's writing style is clear, easy to follow and at times compelling.
Published 11 days ago by Emily N. Weil
4.0 out of 5 stars it is not always fun
Very encouraging about getting older.
It is portrayed as being positive
However, she did not include those of us whose partner
develops dementia and one becomes the... Read more
Published 18 days ago by merrill pinsky
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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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