Monday, March 31, 2014


Anna Quindlen first came to our attention as a journalist whose New York Times columns called Public and Private won a Pulitzer Prize. She wrote about everything—the political and the personal—and she did it with well-chosen words, common sense, humor and the ability to get into our heads and make us think. 

Her first book Thinking Out Loud is a collection of columns. That book and 12 others, both fiction and non-fiction, followed and be found on the shelves and in the CD section of the Monrovia Public Library.  The habit of being a newspaper columnist who always needed new ideas seemed to bless Quindlen with the ability to be prolific even when she gave up being a journalist and became a full time author.

Quindlen’s novels show a particular empathy for their flawed characters. The One True Thing is about a writer who returns to the small town where she grew up in order to care for her mother who is dying of cancer. Family dynamics, especially between mother and daughter, are at the center of this moving story. A caretaker, the matriarch of a well-to-do family and an abandoned baby are the essential ingredients of Blessings, a novel about how the discovery of a baby left on the grounds of an estate changes lives, brings out unexpected qualities and recalls secrets from the past. Anna Quindlen’s just published novel is Still Life with Breadcrumbs, a book about second chances and unexpected romance.  When a middle-aged woman experiencing economic hardships gives up her Manhattan apartment for a cabin in the woods she embraces life in new ways. 

When you are done reading Quindlen’s fiction, read her memoir, Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake.  Readers of a certain age will particularly identify with the author as she reflects on career, family and friends. Wit and wisdom from a wonderful writer.

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