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Book Club: Still Life with Bread Crumbs, by Anna Quindlen

By Margaret Manning January 31, 2014 Mindset

Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel is a new book by Anna Quindlen, a bestselling author and journalist that I have admired for years. Her collective works show her to be a woman of great depth and compassion.

As a writer she is breathtakingly skillful. She creates refreshingly realistic characters and puts them in situations that weave their way into your life and heart. This is another one of those good books to read for women to read during a stage of reinvention.

This new novel is about Rebecca Winter, a successful photographer living in New York City. She has spent her life making pictures, taking care of her aging parents and raising her son. As she gets older, Rebecca worries about the future and her financial security. She also wants to be free from the many entanglements in her life.

Rebecca decides to leave the city, rent her apartment and move to the countryside. One of her best-selling photographs, and the one that generates most of her income, is a work called “Still Life with Bread Crumbs”. So, in a way, the title of the book symbolizes the boundaries and dissatisfaction Rebecca feels with the life she wants to reinvent.

Rebecca rents a small cabin in upstate New York and her journey begins. She experiences all kinds of challenges, moving into a town of strangers and living in a rural area. She has to deal with everything from a racoon in her attic to long distance relationships with the people who have defined her past.

Rebecca looks back on her life with the power of nostalgia. Reflecting on the people she has loved and lost, she starts to internalize the fears that have held her back. She begins to rebuild her life. Opening her heart to the present, Rebecca finds people and discovers new pictures that change her life.

I chose this book for the Sixty and Me Community because Rebecca could be any one of us. It tells a story of the transition many women in their 60s face as they worry about their finances, reflect on their values and assess what they have accomplished in their lives. It takes us through our own challenges and fears as we age, and helps us understand that happiness is a process we create when we accept who we really are. It is book that amplifies the hopes and dreams of older women and through Rebecca, we celebrate the fact life over 60 is our time!

Her journey is not an escape but an awakening. She teaches us to listen to ourselves and learn from others. Rebecca reminds us to appreciate life in all its imperfection and complexity. Her journey could be ours and we can learn so much about ourselves from reading this book.

If you don’t already have a copy of “Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel,” you can get it on Amazon.

To kick things off, here are a few questions. Please add your thoughts in the comments:

Are you a city women or a country girl?

Could you move from your hometown in your sixties and move somewhere completely different?

In what ways did you relate to Rebecca Winter?

What three words would you use to describe her character?

What lessons did you learn from the book?

Did the ending surprise you?

I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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