Skip to main content

Review: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen

Pages: 182
Original date of publication: 2012
My edition: 2012 (Random House)
Why I decided to read: it was offered through Amazon Vine
How I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine, February 2012

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a series of essays, really, about being in one’s fifties. She covers topics such as owning “stuff,” having girlfriends, marriage, having grown children, and aging.

Although I couldn’t really relate personally to a lot of what Anna Quindlen talks about, reading Anna Quindlen’s book (and this really goes for all of her books) is kind of like talking to your mother. And there are similarities to my own mom that are eerie! (“I have needlepoint pillows everywhere: camels, chicks, cats, houses, barns, libraries, roses, daisies, pansies. I needlepoint while I watch television. I have a vision of my children, after I’m gone, looking around and saying, ‘What are we going to do with all these pillows?’”).

As I’ve said, there’s not a lot in this book I can actually relate to, since I’m only in my late 20s, but I know that when I give this book to my mom (who loves Anna Quindlen’s books) is going to love this one. Quindlen’s voice is unique and she has a lot of incisive thoughts about what it means to age. Her prose is very honest, although she tends to be a bit smug about her generation (and a little bit disparaging about those who came before and those who come after), and some of her viewpoints are a little contradictory. But overall, I thought that this was enjoyable. Quindlen definitely gave me new insight into a topic that I don’t really think about.


Francis said…
Actually every generation tends to feel smug about itself. Certainly the current crop of 20 somethings are no exception.
It would be tragic if a 20 year old thought like 50 year old, and perhaps even more tragic if a 50 year old thought like a 20 year old.
For those of us who identify with the author it is comforting to know that there is also an audio version of this book. There is a review of this audio book on The Book Report radio show ( soon. It could be a great book to listen to.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…