If itâ€™s late at night, past the accepted hours of picking up the phone to call even your best girlfriend, and youâ€™re tossing and turning...do yourself a favor: step out of bed, make a cup of tea, and curl up with this audio excerpt from Anna Quindlenâ€™s intimate and hilarious new memoir â€śLots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.â€ť Youâ€™ll find yourself in the company of a new friend (or old, if youâ€™ve been reading her books and columns for years) and be reminded of why the Pulitzer Prize winning author has been dubbed â€śAmericaâ€™s laureate of real life.â€ť
The bookâ€™s chapter titles -- including â€śStuff,â€ť â€śGirlfriends,â€ť â€śSolitude,â€ť â€śOlder,â€ť and â€śFaithâ€ť -- capture her laser-like focus on the challenges, preoccupations, and dreams of modern American life. With hard-earned wisdom and perspective, Quindlen makes the insights and observations that our best selves, at our most true, could unearth and articulate. Sheâ€™s self-deprecating in a way that makes her trustworthy and unafraid of highlighting her own inner contradictions.
In this excerptâ€™s light but poignant critique of our cultureâ€™s increasing materialism, she catalogs her own collection of â€śstuffâ€ť -- from countless types of chairs to the endless needlepoint she creates while watching TV. "And that's not even counting the stuff in my closet. One day I peered inside and realized it looked like it belong to someone with multiple personality disorder. The bohemian look, the sharp suits, the frilly dresses. Those days are behind me, and I finally know who and how I'm dressing. I'm dressing a person who has eighteen pairs of black pants and eleven pairs of black pumps." Sounds like someone we could spend lots of time with: ourselves.