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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna…

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (2012)

by Anna Quindlen

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6387221,965 (3.75)62



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“The older we get the more we understand that the women who know and love us, and love us despite what they know about us, are the joists that hold up the house of our existence.”

“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.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Nov 7, 2018 |
I listened to the audiobook, and it was an absolute joy. The book dives into marriage, friendship, motherhood, retirement, and death—all in a way that is raw but completely relatable. I was itching to get to my car to continue the stories, and I honestly dreaded the book coming to a close. Best read/listen in a long time for me! ( )
  whitneyhaller | Jan 20, 2018 |
Anna Quindlin is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who wrote columns for the New York Times and Newsweek. She retired to become a full-time novelist. Three of her books have been turned into movies. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is her memoir and focuses not on her professional life, but rather on her personal life. She always pays tribute to those feminist women who fought the earlier legal, ethical and emotional battles so women of the baby boomer generation and those that followed could have a better chance at success in a man's world. She discusses marriage, motherhood, girlfriends, and the physical aspects of getting older with kindness and gentle humor. As a boomer myself I could relate to much of what she said and only wish I could have expressed it so well. I've enjoyed some of her books and enjoyed this memoir. She seems like someone I'd like to have as a friend. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
Picked this up at the library, and I loved it. I'm all for some good girl talk and deep thinking in a lighthearted way. Anna Quindlen is welcome on my back porch, anytime. Here are some excerpts:

* * *
And that's not even counting the stuff in my closet. One day I peered inside and realized it looked like it belonged to someone with multiple personality disorder. The bohemian look, the sharp suits, the frilly dresses. Those days are behind me, and I finally know who and how I'm dressing. I'm dressing a person who has eighteen pairs of black pants and eleven pairs of black pumps. Of course, that number is illusory, since it includes the black pants I never felt looked great but purchased on sale, the pair that never seem to be the right length, and the two pairs that fit funny. Not too big or too small, just funny. Naturally there are two pairs of the shoes that I wear all the time, because they're comfortable, and one pair that I wear on occasion because they are great-looking and my toes don't entirely go numb for at least three hours.

* * *
It's Thoreau who wrote about this most indelibly and directly: "Simplify, simplify." . . . Tocqueville was more expansive: "Americans cleave to the things of the world as if assured they will never die. They clutch everything but hold nothing fast, and lose grip as they hurry after some new delight."

[side note -- My God, Tocqueville! That was almost two hundred years ago, and here we still are. Yes, I love this book.]

* * *


"I hate January. At the beginning of every new year, I get a sinking sensation. All these year's later, sometimes I think it's the lack of sunlight, or the unwavering cold. And then I remember. There are some things that are deep inside me now, chemical, biological: The way my head swivels when a little voice cries: "Mommy!" in a crowded supermarket. The adrenaline rush late on an election night. The anvil weight of January.

[Our mothers both died in January].

In 'Angels in America,' the brilliant play by Tony Kushner, a play about illness and love and loss and death, there is this valediction: 'But still. Still bless me anyway. I want more life. I can't help myself. I do.' I do."

[I do!]


" . . . that the music of Samuel Barber and Stephen Sondheim and the last sentences of 'A Christmas Carol' make your soul rise and shine. 'God bless us every one,' the book ends. I trust He does." ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
This is a book I'd recommend to all middle-aged women. Quindlen's thoughts resonated with me. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Suddenly sixty, Quindlen finds herself looking back on her life. She's not so much wondering how she got where she is but, rather, considering how the choices she made and the chances she took along the way have prepared her for the road ahead. What even to call this next stage in a woman's life? Not elderly, certainly, yet definitely no longer young, this middle-aged morass can be hard to navigate. Friendships fade, fashions flummox, the body wimps out, and the mind has a mind of its own. One can either fight it or face it. In her own unmistakably reasonable way, Quindlen manages to do both, with grace and agility, wisdom and wit, sending out comforting affirmations while ardently confronting preconceived stereotypes and societal demands.
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It's odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult.
But at this stage in my life, I'm not interested in being with people who don't have my back.
...Friends are what we women have in addition to, or in lieu of, therapists.
Life is haphazard. We plan, and then we deal when the plans go awry. Control is an illusion; best intentions are the best we can do.
Old is wherever you haven't gotten to yet.
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In this irresistible memoir, the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author writes about her life and the lives of women today, looking back and ahead--and celebrating it all--as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all that stuff in our closets, and more.… (more)

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