Books by Anna Quindlen

NANAVILLE by Anna Quindlen
NONFICTION
Released: April 23, 2019

"A warmhearted memoir sure to appeal to other new grandmothers—and Quindlen's many fans."
A first-time grandmother discovers joy and self-knowledge in her new role. Read full book review >
ALTERNATE SIDE by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 20, 2018

"There's insight here—about the precariousness of even the most stable-seeming marriages—and some charm, but the novel is not on a par with Quindlen's best."
A Manhattan comedy of manners with a melancholy undertow. Read full book review >
MILLER'S VALLEY by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 5, 2016

"There are familiar elements in this story—the troubled brother, the eccentric aunt, a discovery that hints at a forbidden relationship—but they are synthesized in a fresh way in this keenly observed, quietly powerful novel."
In her eighth novel, a coming-of-age story set in rural Pennsylvania, Quindlen (Still Life with Bread Crumbs, 2014, etc.) focuses on a young woman buffeted by upheavals in her personal life and a threat to the farmland her family has owned for generations.Read full book review >
STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 28, 2014

"Occasionally profound, always engaging, but marred by a formulaic resolution in which rewards and punishments are meted out according to who ranks highest on the niceness scale."
A photographer retreats to a rustic cottage, where she confronts aging and flagging career prospects. Read full book review >
LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE by Anna Quindlen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2012

"A graceful look at growing older from a wise and accomplished writer—sure to appeal to her many fans, women over 50 and readers of Nora Ephron and similar authors."
A humorous, sage memoir from the Pulitzer winner and acclaimed novelist. Read full book review >
EVERY LAST ONE by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2010

"An unsatisfying mix of melodrama and the mundane."
Essayist and novelist Quindlen (Good Dog. Stay., 2007, etc.) tosses a grenade of murderous mayhem into the middle of an otherwise standard-issue novel of manners about an upper-middle-class community in Vermont. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Not definitive, but enjoyable for the author's evocative response to a great city."
An affectionate, richly allusive tribute to the city the author first encountered in books as a child and finally visited in person in her early 40s. Read full book review >
LOUD AND CLEAR by Anna Quindlen
HISTORY
Released: April 13, 2004

"Rather than float a homily, it would be nice for Quindlen to at least occasionally offer a knot or a koan."
Steam-cleaned opinions from novelist and columnist Quindlen (Blessings, 2002, etc.). Read full book review >
BLESSINGS by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 24, 2002

"As soap-opera-parable with old-fashioned contrivances: comfortable, not Quindlen's best."
Fourth adult novel from Newsweek columnist Quindlen (Black and Blue, 1998, etc.), a story of lost souls redeemed by love. Read full book review >
HOW READING CHANGED MY LIFE by Anna Quindlen
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

This brief in favor of reading is every bit as gooey and obvious as its title would indicate. Once again we are reminded that a book is like a frigate, that books have made knowledge available to the masses, that there is a certain "despotism of the educated," an academic snootiness, that disparages popular reading (one of Quindlen's college professors disdained Galsworthy, a writer Quindlen then adored). While Quindlen professes herself to be democratic in matters of taste, she seems caught in the self-contradiction that is inevitable when one declares that all reading is valuable'serving to expand the mind, heart, and imagination—while also trying to reserve room for the exercise of critical judgment. Still, despite the fact that Pulitzer-winning journalist and novelist Quindlen (One True Thing, 1994; Black and Blue, 1998) is preaching to the choir, she relates some charming and amusing anecdotes, such as the time her mother hurled the latest Book-of-the-Month Club selection across the room, leaving the offensive volume for a teenage Anna to pick up—it was Portnoy's Complaint: "Didn't she know that I would . . . [hear] her distress signal as the clarion cry to forbidden fruit?" She astutely goes on to note that "it was not so much the sex as the sedition in the book that I found seductive." From Martin Luther to Betty Friedan, she notes, sedition has been the point of the written word. Her own writing here, alas, lacks both sedition and seduction. Read full book review >
BLACK AND BLUE by Anna Quindlen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 2, 1998

Pulitzerwinning columnist and novelist Quindlen (One True Thing, 1994, etc.) now takes a talk-show staplespousal abuseand gives it a compelling immediacy in a refreshingly wise and truth- telling novel about life and marriage. Frannie, a nurse, fell deeply in love with Bobby, a handsome New York cop who at the time seemed attractively ``tasty and dangerous,'' as well as kind and thoughtful. But after 17 years of marriage, Bobby has become more dangerous than appealing. Tired of being beaten up, and now coping with a broken nose, Fran takes her ten-year-old son Robert and flees their Brooklyn home. Helped by a women's organization, she and Robert are given new identities and a new place to live: a duplex in Florida. Now known as Beth Crenshaw, Frannie also tries to make a new life for herself and Robert, whom she loves with a fierce and protective devotion. She finds a good friend in the resilient Cindy and a satisfying job as a visiting health aide. She grows close to her patients, especially Mrs. Levitt, a Holocaust survivor. But Frannie can't relax her vigilance: Bobby has resources and investigating tools that might make it easy to find her, and so while her life is increasingly normalshe dates Mike, Robert's nice soccer coachshe's still afraid. The tension is nail-biting but nicely complemented by perceptive insights, as in Frannie's meditation that ``whenever I thought about leaving, I thought about leaving my house . . . balloon shades and miniblinds . . . mugs for the coffee . . . small things; routine, order that's what kept me there for the longest time.'' Inevitably, Bobby catches up with her and exacts a terrible revenge, but an appropriately bittersweet ending gives Fran, who'll always wonder whether she was right to flee, a new love and life. Quindlen writes about women as they really areneither helpless victims nor angry polemicists, but intelligent human beings struggling to do what's right for those they love and for themselves. A book to read and savor. (Author tour) Read full book review >
HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Anna Quindlen
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 1997

Quindlen (for adults, One True Thing, 1994, etc.) bows with this literary confection slightly reminiscent of Jay Williams's feminist fairy tales. Kate, a star Little League shortstop, makes a wish to be a princess, unaware that the baseball glove she wishes on is magic. She abruptly finds herself dressed in uncomfortable clothes, sitting in the top room of a stone tower as men in metal suits clash outside. After wounding the ego of an inept prince by helping him vanquish a Black Knight and a dragon, Kate befriends a lonely witch, makes her way to the local castle to teach the serving maids and ladies-in-waiting how to play ball, then wishes herself back home. As a jock with a fondness for fairy tales, Kate makes a refreshing protagonist, but she is more affected by homesickness than by the creatures and situations she encounters. The other characters are cardboard, especially the men, who are either stuffy or clueless. Some amusing twists don't conceal the tale's essential thinness. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
NAKED BABIES by Nick Kelsh
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

Despite the publisher's protest to the contrary, this ode to the physical and spiritual perfection of babies is almost too cute for words. ``Babies are meant to be naked, as surely as they are meant to be nurtured and loved,'' writes Quindlen, novelist (One True Thing, 1994, etc.), former New York Times columnist, and popular chronicler of yuppie motherhood. And while photographer Kelsh may seem at first glance to have captured these naked babies in rarely photographed poses—they drool and cry and play with their wee-wees, they wrinkle and dimple in their rolls of fat—they are still undeniably cute. Even the isolated hand or toes or pair of eyes conveys the essence of adorableness. And, after all, why pretend that it could be otherwise? Read full book review >
ONE TRUE THING by Anna Quindlen
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 13, 1994

If literature were judged solely by its ability to elicit strong emotions, columnist-cum-novelist Quindlen (Object Lessons, 1991) would win another Pulitzer for this wrenching, albeit flawed fiction. After a short prologue about the time she spent in jail, accused of having killed her mother, Katherine, Ellen Gulden quickly skips back to her story's beginning, when the 24-year-old's father guilts her into putting her high-powered New York writing career on hold and moving back to Langhorne, the small college town where she grew up, to care for her mother, who has cancer. Cerebral, high-achieving Ellen has always been more her father's daughter; he is the English department chairman, while Mom is a Martha Stewart-perfect homemaker, the type of woman who canes her own chairs. But she and Ellen begin to influence each other, and it becomes clear that Katherine is attempting to take care of unfinished business in her characteristically graceful way, even as her body rapidly deteriorates. With this relationship Quindlen shines, capturing perfectly the casual intimacy that mothers and daughters share, as well as the friction between women of two very different generations. Male characters are sometimes less successful. Ellen's father is so cold that it's hard to fathom how her gentle mother has stood him for so many years, and Ellen seems a little smart and a little old to still be reeling from the discovery that Dad isn't perfect. Even more unconvincing is Ellen's long-time boyfriend, ruthless and uncaring Jonathan Beltzer. These problems are generally surmounted by Quindlen's practiced storytelling. By the time Katherine's autopsy reveals that she died of a morphine overdose, the jailhouse prologue has almost been forgotten, so the clever mystery ending (complete with satisfying twist) is an added bonus. When Quindlen gets it right—which is often—she places herself in the league of Mary Gordon and Sue Miller. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: April 1, 1993

In her second collection of New York Times pieces, Quindlen (Object Lessons, 1991, etc.) lets loose with her trademark intelligence, fervor, and personal focus on topics ranging from the Gulf War through absent fathers to the controversy over abortion. ``But is it really necessary for you to wear your gender on your sleeve?,'' an eager young journalist once asked the author. Citing her role model, editorialist Dorothy Thompson (who when told she had ``the brains of a man'' insisted she was ``altogether female''), Quindlen reiterates her belief that she owes it to herself, to the female reporters who broke ground for her generation at the Times, and to her readers to comment on world events from her underrepresented and valuable female viewpoint. Writing with greater maturity and depth than in her ``Life in the 30s'' column (Living Out Loud, 1988), she confidently proceeds to filter the abortion issue through her own experience as a Catholic mother of three; consider euthanasia from the perspective of a dying man's wife; observe her daughter's second birthday while considering that women as a whole still earn less than men; mull over the premature revelation of Arthur Ashe's case of AIDS from the point of view of a seasoned reporter; and lambast the Times, as a journalist and a woman, for revealing the name of the alleged rape victim in the William Kennedy Smith trial. Whimsical moments appear sporadically (Quindlen predicts the next movie blockbuster, Mom Alone), but rage surfaces more frequently from this woman writing in what she—perhaps optimistically—calls ``a world in which we can wear our gender on our sleeves.'' ``I'd love to run your column, but we already run Ellen Goodman,'' one newspaper editor candidly told Quindlen. Until the quota increases past one, here's a way for more readers to fall in love with at least one woman's very personal brand of passion. Read full book review >
THE TREE THAT CAME TO STAY by Anna Quindlen
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

In her first picture book, the well-known columnist tells a bland but warmhearted story: a nice family with three young children choose their Christmas tree at a farm and happily decorates it together; when the children feel sad about putting the tree out with the trash, Mom comes up with an ingenious way to hold onto its lingering fragrance—a basketful of needles that will keep the gradually diminishing Christmas smell. The events are unexceptional, but narrated with grace and a good sense of childhood's pleasures (though none of its conflicts or frustrations); the soft, realistic color illustrations appealingly depict a snowy, old-fashioned northeastern Christmas. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >