Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir of a Woman's Life

Version: Unabridged
Author: Anna Quindlen
Narrator: Anna Quindlen
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Marriage & Family
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: April 2012
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 7 hours
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Overview

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.

Reviews (1)

loved it

Written by Anonymous on September 8th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

this was a great book- LOVE Anna Quindlen in any form of writing.

Author Details

Author Details

Quindlen, Anna

Over the last 30 years, Anna Quindlen's work has appeared in some of America's most influential newspapers, many of its best-known magazines, and on both fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. She is a novelist and also writes the prestigious "Last Word" column in Newsweek magazine. Her latest novel, Blessings, is a New York Times bestseller and was recently made into a television movie starring Mary Tyler Moore. Quindlen is currently working on a new collection of essays, Loud and Clear, to be published in April 2004.

A columnist at The New York Times from 1981 to 1994, in 1990 Quindlen became only the third woman in the paper’s history to write a regular column for its influential Op-Ed page when she began the nationally syndicated “Public and Private.” A collection of those columns, Thinking Out Loud, was published by Random House in 1993 and was on The New York Times Best Seller List for more than three months. In 1992 Quindlen won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Quindlen joined the Times in 1977 as a general assignment reporter and was named the paper's deputy metropolitan editor in 1983. She wrote the “About New York” column from 1981 to 1983 and created the column, “Life in the 30’s” in 1985.

In 1995 Quindlen left the world of newspapers, which she had joined as a copy girl at age 18, to become a novelist full-time. Quindlen has written four bestselling novels: Object Lessons (1991), One True Thing (1994), Black and Blue (1998) and Blessings (2002). How Reading Changed My Life was released in September 1998 as was One True Thing, a Universal feature film starring Meryl Streep. Black and Blue, which spent six months on The New York Times Best Seller List, was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club, and was made into a television movie. With the release of A Short Guide To A Happy Life in 2000, Quindlen became the first writer ever to have books appear on the fiction, nonfiction, and self-help New York Times Best Seller lists. The book sold close to a million copies.

Quindlen also is the author of a collection of essays, Living Out Loud (1988), and two children's books, The Tree That Came to Stay (1992) and Happily Ever After (1997). She also wrote the text for the coffee table pictorial Naked Babies (1996) and Siblings (1998).

Quindlen holds honorary doctorates from Dartmouth College, Denison University, Moravian College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Stevens Institute of Technology, Bates College, Southern Connecticut State University and was awarded the University Medal of Excellence by Columbia. She was a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale, and a Victoria Fellow in Contemporary Issues at Rutgers. In 1996 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Arts & Sciences. Glamour magazine named her one of its 10 Outstanding Women of the Year in 1991.

Quindlen is a graduate of Barnard College and was elected Chair of Barnard's Board of Trustees in 2003. She also is on the Council of the Author’s Guild, the Board at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City and the Board of NARAL Foundation. She is a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates as well.

Anna Quindlen is married to Gerald Krovatin, an attorney, and is the mother of Quindlen, Christopher and Maria Krovatin. She lives with her family in New York City.