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240 of 246 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Candles, More Cake
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...
Published on March 11, 2012 by Someone Else

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160 of 191 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit melodramatic in places
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...
Published on March 19, 2012 by Isadore Ann


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, July 20, 2012
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I am reading this book to my 86 year old mother in her nursing home. It is a delight for both of us! I have recommended it to many people, including the staff at the nursing home. Anna Quindlen's descriptions of her life (and, in many cases, mine)have made me laugh, cry, make comments out loud...just wonderful! Thank you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Poignant Just Like Life, July 13, 2012
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This review is from: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Kindle Edition)
Anna Quindlan is a very good writer and has wonderful insight. The book starts off slow but mid way it picks up and is an enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs to write a sequel after the pain hits hard!, June 22, 2012
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This is a very good read, and reflects well what I thought of the different stages of life when I was 60 years old. However, I was still just a kid then, and I was. In the past 12 years, I have not only retired, a major change in how one is valued by society and ones self. That brings a major psychic blow. For women, most are back in the old homemaker routine. In addition, almost from the day one passes into the 70's the sagging jowls, and aching joints are constant companions. Pain is NOT fun. Even when young, I found pain debilitating, now it is doubly so, because all exercise is done in pain, and that exercise causes more pain. Chronic pain does not fit into the plenty of cake category.

But for those just beginning the aging process, this is an uplifting book. For those of us past the beginning stages of aging, it needed some more discussion of how to gracefully accept degenerative pain and enjoy the many wonderful distractions from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Candles Lots of Cake, May 27, 2012
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This review is from: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Kindle Edition)
Best Book I have read in a long time...totally related to the older woman and the transitions of life. Ms Quindlen has a way with words so that when you read it....you enjoy it like a good dessert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna Quindlen writes what I'm thinking, May 23, 2012
When I used to get my Newsweek magazine in the mail, I would immediately turn to the back page to see if this was the week for Anna Quindlen's column. She and her husband had children about the same age as our sons, and her politics were very similar to mine. It sometimes seemed that she was writing the same things I was feeling at that same moment.

Her fiction books are very emotional, from Oprah Book Club selection Black and Blue to the heartbreaking Every Last One, her most recent one that tore me up. But I was thrilled to see that she had a new non-fiction book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, sharing what it's like to be a woman over 50. As I just hit that mark, I couldn't wait to read it.

I read it on my Kindle while on the treadmill, and I knew that I would be adding many highlighted passages for review later, and I was right. Quindlen has been a big reader since she was child, just like me, and what she had to say about reading touched a chord with me.
"That's what's so wonderful about reading, that books and poetry and essays make us feel as though we're connected, as though thoughts and feelings we believe are singular and nutty are sometimes shared by others, that we are all more alike than different."

Qunidlen and her husband have three children, and I found her advice to them really hit the mark; she "believes the single most important decision they make is not where they live or what to do for a living, it's who they will marry." She says that "the span of their years will be so marked by the life they build, day by day, in tandem with each other." Twenty-five years of marriage to my wonderful husband bears out her wise words.

She writes of her husband,
"He is focused, diligent, and funny; I am distractible, perapatic, sometimes overly earnest. He is the first to criticize me privately and the first to defend me publicly. He has my back and he always has. That's not romantic, and it's not lyrical and it's not at all what I expected when I thought I would never want to spend a night without him."
She talks about the importance of girlfriends, and the irony of the women's movement teaching us that we can be more than caregivers, and yet today many of us are now caring for not only young children but aging parents as well. Quindlen was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school (as I did), and I found her thoughts on religion intriguing and relevant in today's society.

As we age, our health becomes a big topic of concern for us, and Quindlen addresses the changes we all go through. She lost her mother when she was barely out of her teens and that loss colored the rest of her life.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a book that I will return to again and again, just to remind myself that there are others out there who are thinking the same things and walking the same path, and thank goodness Anna Quindlen is there to take us through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking at Life from 60, May 13, 2012
This book won't be out until next month but I couldn't wait to tell you about it. I imagine it can be preordered now.

I remember very well when we lived in New Jersey years ago I loved Anna Quindlen's columns in the New York Times. She wrote about her life raising three children, being a wife and a writer, and trying desperately to keep up with everything. Even though I didn't have children, I did have a busy life. I identified with her, but mainly I appreciated her writing style. She wrote down-to-earth yet beautifully crafted columns. I don't know why I have never read any of her books, and there are many, but suppose it goes back to the busyness of my life in the intervening years.

Now I'm retired and reading more than I ever have so I was thrilled to receive this book from Random House to read and review. I hope they won't mind my jumping the publication date a little.

Quindlen has turned 60! That really makes me feel old, but thankfully it doesn't seem to bother her at all. The point of this memoir and her take on women's lives today is to look back from her current mature viewpoint on her life and her previous writing. Her children of course are grown and busy with their own lives. She has been through the death of her mother, such a traumatic experience for all of us. She and her husband have settled into the empty nest to lead a quieter life with gratitude for their relationship and shared joys and sorrows.

She writes about friends, marriage, being a mother, her career, family traditions, her faith, and her own mortality. I appreciated the insights from this woman who thinks deeply about life, and death. Once again I could identify with her and see in her maturing my own.

Anna Quindlen is a writer well worth reading. Yesterday at book "club" (for lack of a better word), some of the women said they hadn't liked a recent novel of hers, but I encouraged them to read this one. In Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake she has gone back to the Anna Quindlen we all loved many years ago. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna Does it Again, May 9, 2012
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E. Gootee (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
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I guess I've pretty much grown up with Anna Quinlan. Her take on life resonates with a lot of my own feelings about life, fate, faith, friends. But of course Ms. Quinlan expresses it so much better. It just reaffirms where I am now in my own life. Kind of like having another friend to share with. This is not a sappy take on getting old, but in my opinion an honest assessment. It's a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Anna Quindlen, May 9, 2012
I have always enjoyed reading Anna Quindlen's books and this one is now my favorite book by her. In a series of essays Quindlen talks about what it means to be a woman today and deal with growing older. Many topics are covered including girlfriends, marriage, being a mother, faith, and dealing with loss. Each topic is discussed with incite and humor and I found myself agreeing with her ideas so many times throughout the book.

My favorite essay was titled Stuff and in it Quindlen talks about all of the things she has collected throughout the years and how so much of it is just extra stuff that she really doesn't need. She talks about trying to live more simply with less clutter and avoiding societies push to buy more and more things we really don't need. I have felt the same way for a while and have tried to buy less things and simplify my home, not an easy task with three kids in the house!

I would recommend this book to any women who is in their 40s or older, I think it will resonate with them more. Though Quindlen is talking about getting ready to turn sixty, I am in my forties and still found the book had lots of meaning for me, especially the parts dealing with her children. Like Quindlen I have a girl and two boys and I could totally relate to the stories she tells about them.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a wonderful comfort read filled with humor and Quindlen's ability at observations that will resonate with many woman today. After reading this book I really felt like I got to know Quindlen as a person and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna Quindlen is Warm, Wise and Witty Everywoman, May 9, 2012
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"Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" is the kind of book you read and keep thinking, "Oh, so-and-so would LOVE this," and "I have to give this to so-and-so to read when I'm done, she will love it," and most importantly, "Wow, this sounds like me, I absolutely feel this way too." Anna Quindlen is one of those writers who cuts right to what we really care about, the deep and meaningful feelings underlying the beauty and minutiae of everyday life. The chap on "Girlfriends" alone is worth the purchase price of this book.

Recommendation: Definitely, two thumbs up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cake, May 8, 2012
This review is from: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Kindle Edition)
I have only read a few of Mrs. Quindlen's books, but this is the first non-fiction of hers I have experienced. Although I am not her age, I was able to without hesitation relate to her through her writing and prose. I loved her candor, especially in regards to her mom and religion. I feel the same way she does about many things she discussed, but overall I felt like she was talking to me. I love that in a book, and I love her writing. Kind of like when people refer to good singers as being able to sing the phone book, she can write about anything and it be outstanding. To those that critiqued this because she talked about her own lifestyle need to remember she is talking about her life, so why would she edit her reality to suit people who do not live her lifestyle?
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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
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