Mini-reviews: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene; Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery; and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Title: The End of the Affair
Author: Graham Greene
Genre: Literary fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

The End of the Affair is another beautifully written yet ultimately depressing novel by Graham Greene. In this one, he explores marriage, obsession, passion – and, ultimately, faith. Bendrix remembers his affair with Sarah, Henry’s wife, completely mistaken as to what has taken her away from him. When he realizes the truth, he is unable to accept her true feelings and the legitimacy of her decision. There is a bit of a twist, so I am being necessarily cryptic. This one provided some great discussion between myself and Emma, who read along with me.

Title: Anne’s House of Dreams
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: “Thanks be, I’m done with geometry, learning or teaching it,” said Anne Shirley, a trifle vindictively, as she thumped a somewhat battered volume of Euclid into a big chest of books, banged the lid in triumph, and sat down upon it, looking at Diana Wright across the Green Gables garret, with gray eyes that were like a morning sky.

Anne and Gilbert marry and move into their newlywed home, their House of Dreams, and immediately encounter a fantastic cast of characters. I think this is probably my favorite of all the books after their marriage, because I simply fell in love with the character of Captain Jim.

Title: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Author: Anna Quindlen
Genre: Non-fiction, essays, memoir
Publisher: Random House Audio
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Anna Quindlen
Audiobook length: 7 hours and 7 minutes
First line: Recently my twenty-two-year-old daughter asked me what message I would give to my own twenty-two-year-old self if I could travel back in time.

Anna Quindlen is mind-blowingly amazing. This woman can write fiction that rips your heart out, as well as essays that make you feel like you are sitting down to a cup of coffee and a chat with a friend. These essays on the nature of aging, and how aging changes our relationships and roles, are simply perfect. While I may be a little more centrist in my political leanings than Ms. Quindlen, I still loved listening to her thoughts on being a working mother, watching her kids grow up, and dealing with loss. This is a must-listen.

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14 Responses to Mini-reviews: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene; Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery; and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

  1. bermudaonion(Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I’ve had Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake for a while – I’ll try to pull it out soon.
    bermudaonion(Kathy)´s last post ..Author event and giveaway: Courtney Miller Santo

  2. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this: “Anna Quindlen is mind-blowingly amazing” — LOVED that book and generally love her essays.

    How fun to read Anne. I’ll have to do a reread one of these days.
    Beth F´s last post ..Stacked-Up Book Thoughts 1

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth – I’m doing a complete Anne reread so that I can read The Blythes Are Quoted, which was a previously unreleased manuscript that was published a couple years ago. My best friend gave it to me for Christmas. :)

  3. Arti
    Twitter: Arti_Ripples
    says:

    I read The End of the Affair as one of the selections for your Graham Greene Challenge and had enjoyed it. If you like, here’s my book/movie review. And now I’m waiting to hear Colin Firth reading it. ;)
    Arti´s last post ..Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Take the Literary Journey before the 3D Experience

  4. Alyce
    Twitter: athomewithbooks
    says:

    Anne’s House of Dreams is one of my favorites in the series too – she really grows in the book and it’s got beauty, joy and sorrow all mixed in. Rilla of Ingleside is my favorite, but of course wouldn’t be without the rest of the series to stand upon (all of that background and my memories of Anne’s childhood and growing years make it extra special, knowing it’s her daughter).
    Alyce´s last post ..American Dervish Giveaway

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Alyce – it’s been so long since I’ve read Rilla that I don’t remember it – looking forward to it!

  5. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – September 9, 2012 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  6. Les in NE says:

    This woman can write fiction that rips your heart out, as well as essays that make you feel like you are sitting down to a cup of coffee and a chat with a friend.

    Yep.

    I don’t know why I haven’t read Quindlen’s new memoir yet. I love her novels and collections of essays and there’s absolutely no doubt that her new book will speak to me, just as her other works have done in the past. Maybe I’m holding back for the paperback. I don’t need a hardcover, and I know it’ll be one that I want to keep, making notes in the margins or adding sticky notes to my favorite passages, so I don’t want to borrow it from the library. However, I have a gift card that I can use during my employee appreciation days later this year… Maybe I should get that hardcover, after all. :)
    Les in NE´s last post ..Linda’s Greek Chicken Pasta

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