I write a weekly column for Catawba County Library, where I spend my other half life. This week’s edition was so much fun to write, I want to share it here.
One of this summer’s hot picks is the new Anna Quindlen memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Her quips and tell-it-like-it-is style will resonate with most women of a certain age.
Ladies, you know who we are.
Quindlen is known for her essays that delve into the post-modern dilemma of juggling career and family and giving this crazy life some perspective. This latest tome dishes up a healthy serving of gathered wisdom. But don’t look for controversy here. Quindlen’s essays with such titles as “Faith,””Expectations” and “Mirror, Mirror” ruminate on what she’s learned in her 59 years. Acquiring stuff and fussing over clothes and makeup aren’t among them. No one but the author could narrate this piece.
Quindlen, who has penned Pulitzer-winning columns at the New York Times, has published a string of best-sellers over the years including One True Thing, a novel made into a movie starring Meryl Streep, William Hurt and Renee Zellweger—three Hollywood favorites.
In Lots of Candles, Quindlen pauses to offer comfort to those facing the bridge between middle age to being old. But she does it with such charm. If you’re looking for an audio visit from an old friend, Quindlen’s latest is your cup of tea.
Hearing Quindlen’s narration reminded me of another memoir I enjoyed years ago: I Feel Bad about My Neck by the incomparable Nora Ephron, who also lamented with so much humor the dilemmas of maturing.
In case you aren’t familiar with Ephron, she wrote the novel Heartburn, based on the break-up of her marriage to Carl Bernstein, the Dustin Hoffman character in All the President’s Men, which, I might add, was instigated by none other than Robert Redford, who portrayed Bob Woodward.
Maybe it’s the New York edge to these memoirs that appeals to me. Or maybe it’s the faith-based anecdotes. (Ephron is Jewish, Quindlen is Roman Catholic). Their pull-no–punches approach to life leaves me reminiscing the past and savoring the here and now.
Which brings me to At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I’m a long-time knitter, but even if I weren’t, this CD collection would tickle my funny bone. Anyone who calls herself a “Yarn Harlot” has me hooked.
McPhee has written how-to books and commentaries bringing crafters of all levels into the world of yarn. She’s also the founder of the world Knitting Olympics and will leave you in stitches.