8 reviews

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
by Anna Quindlen

Published: 2012-04-24
Hardcover : 208 pages
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17 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 8 of 8 members
In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead—and celebrating it all—as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.   As s...
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In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead—and celebrating it all—as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.
As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using 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. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’ ”
Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”
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. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
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.”
From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, 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.

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

I Googled discussion questions for this title and found a good list provided by the Random House
Reader's Circle. The publisher has included them in the paperback edition but not in the hardcover.
If you cannot find them, email me at jbirckhead.lbpl@gmail.com.
by Librarian50 (see profile) 11/14/13

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  "Author Reflects on Life in Her 60s"by Librarian50 (see profile) 11/14/13

In her latest memoir, Anna Quindlen reflects on her life so far. Her central point is hat she is happier now than she was when she was young. She cites a survey that showed that this is true for the... (read more)

  "Excellent "by janiceb (see profile) 08/11/13

Was not prepared to enjoy this book as much as I did. she has a humorous manner of writing and perspective as she reflects on her life the good-bad and of our society.

  "Good for discussion"by nook-junkie (see profile) 03/20/13

We saw it as more of women who grew up in the 60's, and it resonated with us. Since our group had many things in common with her, we had a lot of discussion on the themes.

  "Good for a discussion"by ShariG (see profile) 12/02/12

This memoir gives plenty of food for thought and discussion. While not everyone in my book club is in the same place as the author Anna Quindlen, but we all have experienced some of the life events and... (read more)

  "Lots of Candles, Plenty of cake"by hfjenkins (see profile) 11/28/12

  "Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake"by juneshockley (see profile) 08/29/12

Loved it!!!! Listened to the CD while on a road trip with a girl friend. Every paragraph prompted memories and discussion. It really brought us down memory lane.
June S.

  "Lota of Candles, Plenty of Cake"by cmassie (see profile) 08/14/12

most of the members of Books and Cooks felt they could have written the book, we are all around the same age, so we could relate to many of her topics. It nice read, it wasn"t a page turner but we throughly... (read more)

  ""Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake""by BevAmoroso@aol.com (see profile) 05/23/12

An excellent book for women of a certain generation - growing up in the 50s; navigating careers, marriage, child rearing; getting older and wiser!

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