Saturday, June 16, 2012
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Thought I would share some more of my summer reading with you. This one is non-fiction by Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen. Her latest book is Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake and is essentially a commentary on life in general and her own in particular, from the vantage point of her sixtieth year.
She is witty, insightful and downright funny. She also hits too close to home for my own comfort from time to time.
One of the early chapters is called "Stuff." She writes, "I have a lot of stuff. I bet you do, too." She goes on to list her stuff. Lots and lots of it. Furniture, clothing, books, etc.
I once lost all my stuff overnight. Thereafter, I found that having things didn't hold much appeal for me. However, even with that stark experience as a reminder of how quickly all our belongings can disappear, it has been a continual struggle to avoid accumulation. I thought maybe it was just me, but Quindlen points out that at least part of this accumulation bent is cultural.
"At some point in America, desire and need became untethered in our lives, and shopping became a competitive sport."
Now truthfully, I do not enjoy shopping. I really do not, and never have. I find it tiresome and uninteresting for the most part. But still I sometimes find myself teetering on the edge of what Quindlen calls the "black hole of consumption." Yep, I have stared into the abyss and found myself scared out of my wits.
Why just this morning I found myself wandering the aisles at Home Depot looking for ... well, just looking, mostly. Yes, I needed a couple of small items, and they were cheaper here than at the local grocery market. But still, I could have been in and out of there in five minutes; but somehow nearly an hour whizzed by before I came to myself and got the heck out of there before I took out a huge loan and ordered a whole-house-makeover.
And remember, I don't even like to shop. What must life be like for those who actually enjoy this kind of endeavor? Gads! One quails at the thought.
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On a slightly different note, she writes about wardrobe after a "certain age" and I found myself laughing out loud at her description of owning upmteen pairs of black pants. At some point, she asserts that all you really wear are black slacks and some kind of "colored jacket". Oh my gosh, I thought it was just me. Of course, I am more colorful than that, as I also own (and actually wear) grey pants and navy blue pants with other colored jackets, scarves, pendants and paraphernalia. But still ....
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If you are looking for an enjoyable journey through the age of consumerism and the general confusion called life, as seen through the eyes of an aging baby-boomer, and you don't mind laughing at yourself, you can expect to find plenty of cake among these candles. The woman knows how to write.
What are you reading this summer? Until next time ... happy reading. ... Marsha