Musings From A Bookmammal

Musing Mondays–A New Favorite Novel


Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or, you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week–

still life with breadcrumbsI think I’ve found a new favorite novel.

For some reason I kept putting off reading Still Life With Breadcrumbs, and I’m not sure why. Anna Quindlen is one of my “automatic authors”—I’ll read anything she writes. I adore her collections of essays—I often feel that she’s speaking directly to me–and her last novel, Every Last One, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past several years. But when Still Life came out this past January, I kept moving it to the bottom of the TBR pile. I even had checked it out from the library once before, but had to return it unread. So many books, so little time . . . you know the deal.

For whatever reason, I decided to check it out from the library again. I had the day off from work on Friday and decided to give it a try–and from the very first chapter I was sucked in. I was only about 50 pages in when I knew I was going to love this book.

I really didn’t know much about the plot of this novel, and I think that’s the best way to go into it—part of the appeal of this book was that I really had no idea where the characters were headed. But very briefly, it tells the story of Rebecca Winter, a sixty-year-old photographer who experienced huge artistic success years before. For various reasons, she decides to spend some time in a rental house in a small town near her NYC home-base. She forms relationships with her new neighbors and we also learn about her relationships with her elderly parents, her ex-husband, and her adult son.

It seems to me that Anna Quindlen found a new voice when crafting this novel—the narrative is unlike any of her others. The chapters—some only a few paragraphs or a page or two, many longer–move fluidly back and forth between the main characters and pivotal events. There was a lot of very subtle humor woven throughout, and I quickly decided that this was a book I really needed to savor in order to appreciate the writing. I felt invested in what happened to every character, and the dialogue rang true—which is always a deal-breaker for me. And when I got to the end, I immediately thought “I wonder what’s going to happen next!”

I think this is a very understated book—if you’re looking for a novel with huge cliffhangers,  dramatic reveals, or big action scenes, this isn’t going to fill that need. I guess it could be called a slice-of-life novel—and that’s one of the reasons that I found the story to be so believable. Some reviewers have criticized the book for that very reason, but to me it’s what made the plot and characters so relatable. Isn’t that what real life is like for us most of the time?

I’m going to be thinking about the characters in this book for quite awhile, I’ll be buying my own copy to add to my Quindlen collection, and I predict that it will end up on my Top 10 list at the end of the year. I’m so glad that I finally made time for this novel! If you’re in the mood for a realistic, contemporary book featuring a strong, flawed, relatable female character, I suggest that you give Still Life With Breadcrumbs a try.

How about you? Have you read this book? What was the last book you read that you knew would become a favorite? Please share!





Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

21 thoughts on “Musing Mondays–A New Favorite Novel

  1. I’m so glad you loved Still Life With Bread Crumbs! I thought it was absolutely wonderful — one of those “quiet” books that slips under the radar. And yes, it was different from Quindlen’s other books. I loved Rebecca’s voice and humor.

  2. I haven’t read any of Quindlen’s books but you have inspired me to give on a try.

  3. That sounds like a lovely book! Most of the time I know within pages if I’m going to really love a book, although occasionally it is more of a grow-on-you type of love rather than love at first sight!

  4. Believe it or not, I’ve never read Quindlen, but my aunt has been telling me I must! And, I’ve heard good things about this book.

  5. I loved this book, too, and I guess I think of it as a series of quiet moments, which I actually am enjoying more these days. I could identify with the MC, too, as someone of a “certain age,” with much of life behind her. Thanks for sharing! Here’s MY MUSINGS POST

  6. I’ve not read her books, but that one looks good! Here is my Musings post:

  7. This was on my maybe list. I’ll definitely have to check it out now! Here’s my Musing Monday

  8. I haven’t read this book, and the last book I read that became one of my favorites was Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. And even though this one was a short story, Courting Magic by Stephanie Burgis. I couldn’t decide between the two.

  9. Pingback: WWW Wednesday–8/20/14 | Musings From A Bookmammal

  10. Thanks for this review. I’ve been meaning to look into this book, as I adore her nonfiction. Knowing it’s a “quiet” book appeals to me.

    • Her nonfiction is wonderful, but her novels are often hit-and-miss for me. But this one just completely clicked with me. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to try it!

  11. I love that feeling – 50 pages in where you know it’s going to be a winner. This looks really good. I might have to throw in on the pile. 🙂

  12. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t read Anns Quindlen’s books yet but I am particularly drawnto her titles involving cake and in this case, bread crumbs. Stopping by from #Spreadthelove

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