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Still Life with Bread Crumbs

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  41,349 Ratings  ·  4,312 Reviews
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Random House (first published 2014)
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Debjani I have not finished the book yet. It appears to me that Jim Bates quotes O Henry's- "The gift of the Magi". It's all about, what really matters in…moreI have not finished the book yet. It appears to me that Jim Bates quotes O Henry's- "The gift of the Magi". It's all about, what really matters in life and to cherish human connection and relationship. (less)

Community Reviews

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B the BookAddict
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: me
Shelves: fiction

The entire novel has a beautifully understated feel about it so I will aim to be likewise here.

Sometimes, when you finish a book, you just want to sit and hold it - to keep hold of the feeling the book gave you for just a little longer. This is one of those books.

Something special 5★
Roy
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I admire Anna Quindlen and like her writing a great deal. For that reason, I was anxious to read Bread Crumbs. Sadly, while the book kept me engaged enough to care a bit about the characters and where they ended up, I found the story shallow and trite. Anna's central character (Rebecca Winter) is an intelligent, accomplished and sophisticated professional (photographer), albeit on the downside of a brilliant career and separated from her erudite and egotistical husband. She also has a son and tw ...more
Carmen
She is a prisoner in the amber of her own past.

Well, this is pure fluff.

Which isn't bad, per say, but there's no substance here.

It's about a 60-year-old woman (Rebecca) who was a very successful photographer, but now she is "poor."

Why is "poor" in quotes, Carmen?

Well, even though Rebecca goes on and on about her "poverty" in the novel, it seems as if she and I have different ideas of what constitutes poverty. For instance, she lives in a beautiful, spacious Manhattan apartment. She is 'forced' t
...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I am seeing the cover and it is beautiful. Rebecca Winter, aged sixty, a photographer how became very well known with a grouping of pictures that give the book its title. She could be any woman or every woman, never expected to find herself trying to make ends meet, taking a less expensive cottage and renting out her expensive New York apartment. Finding herself ,like so many of us at that age, sandwiched between two generations, that of her sons and her aged parents.

This is a quiet
...more
Amy
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love stories can be tricky; they can be too sappy and unbelievable or they can be overdrawn and melodramatic, but now and again they can be life affirming and heartwarming. Anna Quindlen’s latest novel Still Life with Bread Crumbs falls firmly into the latter category. Rebecca Winter is an unlikely protagonist for a love story. A photographer, whose work once defined the feminist movement, is now sixty, divorced, and close to broke. Her aging parents and her son have become somewhat of a financi ...more
Bonny
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, audio
Still Life with Bread Crumbs has been called the literary equivalent of comfort food, but it just made me feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to like this, since it is authored by Anna Quindlen and the premise sounded somewhat interesting; after the story devolved into a vaguely creepy May-December romance lacking Quindlen's usual gifted writing I was sadly disappointed. I had hoped for a book with more than a predictable plot, one-dimensional characters, and rambling writing, but when I came to ...more
Diane Yannick
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
First I need to get this off my chest: Reviewers, do not say that Rebecca, at 60, is "past her prime". I'm 66 and just zeroing in on my prime. Not acceptable jargon.

OK, my exact rating would be 4.5 as I thought this was a wonderful, beautifully written gift of a story. Rebecca Winters experiences life with the sort of acceptance that opens doors. She takes the time to discover her still photos rather than staging them. She doesn't seek but she finds. She doesn't expect life to be a joyous advent
...more
K
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: marysues
Oh, Anna. What a disappointment.

I hope I'm not being overly hard on this book because I expected more from Anna Quindlen. I liked her memoir and remember enjoying One True Thing, and was okay if not thrilled with some of her other fiction. But she lost me with this one.

"Still Life" is definitely a good description of this book. It certainly is still, with not much movement. And it's more a slice of life than an actual story.

There are two types of characters populating this novel. There are peop
...more
Lucy
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am dismayed at some of the reviews I read of this book that derides it for being a "comfortable" read. When did it become mandatory that novels be torturous and uncomfortable? Sometimes a book can be a rich and satisfying meal instead of a bitter dose of medicine.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Rebecca, is a 60 year-old photographer who has gained wealth and acclaim from an iconic series of photos. Inflation and the vagaries of the art world have caught up with her and she has to downsize fr
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Anna Quindlen's Still Life with Breadcrumbs was unexpectedly intricate and engaging. This is a book I picked up from the library for two reasons - I love books with quirky titles, and this book certainly appealed on that criteria. I was interested to discover what relevance the title had to the plot. It annoys me when the title is merely a title and has nothing to do with the book. I was not disappointed, but I am not going to reveal the connection. Read it and discover for yourself. Secondly, I ...more
Larry Bassett
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle
The feminine side of me is well represented in my reading choices. How do I manage to select books to read that turn out to be “chick lit”? I usually don’t figure it out until I see that most of the GR reviews are by women and then I sigh and say, “Another one.”

I first read Anna Quindlen when she had an occasional column on the back page of Newsweek. Although I do not normally read regular columns, I looked forward to the issues where she appeared. So when I saw this eBook on my online library,
...more
Margitte
BLURB
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, po
...more
Larry H
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Lovely. That's the word that kept coming to my mind as I read Anna Quindlen's latest novel, Still Life with Bread Crumbs. It was just a lovely book, emotional, thought provoking, and really enjoyable.

Rebecca Winter used to be something. A once-revered photographer whose iconic works were viewed as feminist statements, her photographs aren't selling well anymore, her agent is becoming increasingly more hostile toward her, and her bank balance keeps declining. At 60 years o
...more
Connie
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible-cd, 2014
I can always depend on an enjoyable read when I pick up a Quindlen book and this was no different. However, almost a week later this book has stayed with me, snuck up on me and may now be my favorite of hers.

Rebecca Winter is a famous photographer who "accidentally" became a symbol for women everywhere. The problem comes in the fact that that was some time ago. Her life is unravelling and she is at a loss as to how to get it back. This is a coming of age story, but the coming of age is at the
...more
Jane Stewart
I really enjoyed this. I felt comforted at the end. Also, it was just good writing.

A really nice story about Rebecca an artist (photographer) who has money problems. So she subleases her New York City apartment to another and then pays lower rent to live in a small town in the country two hours away. She becomes friends with some locals. One friendship turns into something more between Rebecca age 60 and Jim who is 44. The story has a womens fiction feel since it deals with her work, her life, h
...more
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

Q is for Quindlen


Read a book by an author you have not yet read.


Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles (paired with Mistress of the Art of Death)

3.5 stars

This is a tough book for me to review. It is not the type of book I typically read. It was recommended to be my a friend. She told me I would understand why she gave it to me once I'd read it. I was reading and reading and couldn't figure it out. 60 year old Rebecca Winters made a life taking pictures. She kinda got famous. Won awards
...more
Dale Harcombe
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. Some writers have the knack of taking the everyday occurrences and small moments and weaving them into a story that charms. That’s what I like about Anna Quindlen’s work, that and her honesty when dealing with subjects. I related easily to the main character, 60 year old Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose works reflected the understated tenor of this novel. This is not a page turner but it is a gentle exploration of a complex character and in particular of a woman who un ...more
Paula
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy may to december romances
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quinlan is the story of Rebecca a 60 year old previously famous photographer. She leaves New York due to financial difficulties and rents an inexpensive cabin out in the woods. It's a story of new beginnings. The highlight of the book is her budding romance with her roofer. A wonderful love story. A nice theme about her being able to reinvent herself at the age of 60.

The audiobook is only 6 cd's and quick to get thru.

3.5 out of 5 stars.
Renee
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
The only other book I've read by this well known and respected author was "Black and Blue" which I absolutely loved, so I was surprised when I so disliked this book that so many people are raving about.

I listened to Still Life on audio and it read like a made-for-tv Hallmark movie of the week. It was predictable, schmaltzy and above all boring. The sentences went on like meandering country roads; going no where and in need of repair.

Perhaps I would have liked this better had I read and not list
...more
Carol Brill
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have been a Anna Quindlin fan since reading the first few sentences of Black and Blue 10 or 15 years ago. I still remember getting chills reading about the abusive husband's butterscotch syrup voice. I was hooked.
One of Anna Quindlin's many talents is creating complex and relatable characters. She's done it again in Still Life With Breadcrumbs with Rebecca and her new friend Jim Nates. Even the dog is worth caring about. This not a fast paced action packed plot driven story. It's interesting
...more
Signora
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
First I have to say that I love Anna Quindlen. Maybe it is because we are of a similar generation, maybe it is because we both share Italian heritage and growing up Catholic but whatever the reason, when I read her work I feel like I am reading my own mail!
So I was thrilled to have an opportunity to read an ARC of her new novel, “Still Life with Bread Crumbs.” While this novel does not have the “punch” of some of her other works, it was a very familiar and comfortable read. It is a story of a wo
...more
☮Karen
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-media-mall
Rebecca Winter is a New Yorker and a photographer. She took some photos of the mess on her kitchen counter after her husband had brought home dinner guests unannounced (!!) and he then went to bed when it was time to clean up. These pictures sort of defined her marriage and later, after making her famous, defined Rebecca. Following her inevitable divorce, she lives on their proceeds, but now at 60 the money is running out and she is trying to continue paying for her mother's nursing home, her fa ...more
Clif Hostetler
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
This book attracted my attention because the main character is 60 years old. I'm glad to find a novel about an aging person of the boomer generation still involved with romance. This book qualifies for the "romantic novel" genre (I think). I mention it here because my recent review of Possession: A Romance indicated it to be not of that genre.

In this case the main character is a Jewish divorced woman who is also famous in the artistic community. She has been forced to flee New York City and m
...more
Caroline Angell
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So incredibly late to the party on this book and this author. But I loved it. The central struggle of what it means to remain relevant as an artist -- and a woman -- and how one must continue to examine the evolution of those things felt incredibly poignant to me. And the world of this novel was so richly imagined. I wanted to live in the community the author created!
Juliana Rose
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5/5

While this is characterized as a "love story" in its summaries, I would have to argue that this is less a love story than a story of a woman discovering life at 60. She shares less than a handful of conversations with the man she falls in love with throughout the book, making the relationship feel less credible than it should.

My favorite part of the book was the humorous side stories and anecdotes, which gave the story life it otherwise wouldn't have had. These side stories give you a sense
...more
Diane Barnes
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you like Anna Quindlen, you will love this one. If you've never read her books, this is a good one to start with. Much less intense than her previous work of fiction, it's the story of a 60 year old woman who finds that she must re-invent herself. This reinvention happens is many different ways, a lot of them accidental, but sometimes, as the main character says, "You just know it when you see it."
Laurie Buchanan
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A simple story, really. Yet utterly compelling. I couldn’t help but turn page after page wondering “What happens next?”

A woman taken completely out of her context, not so much by choice, but for financial survival, has none of the amenities she’s used to. But through trial and error, she comes to relish her new — stark — environs. And through the lens of authentic and transparency — no pretension whatsoever — she discovers her true self and allows others to find her as well.
Erin
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
I liked, but didn't love this book - it was a super easy read (despite the fact that it took me nearly a week to get through it.....my concentration is shot recently). One thing I absolutely loved about it was the focus on Rebecca's finances. I know, I know, sounds boring, but it was so true to life. In so many books if money is discussed it is because the subjects are either incredibly rich or in extreme poverty. Rebecca wasn't yet poverty stricken but still had major money woes throughout the ...more
Una Tiers
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book had an eerie sad quality with many lovely phrases. Examples: peace at any price, face of a toucan, built atop lies. It also had a plethora of new and words outside of my vocabulary. I love my kindle.
Sally Koslow
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Winters, the heroine of Anna Quindlen's Still Life with Bread Crumbs, could be the subject of an AARP profile. At 60, Rebecca finds herself at the nexus of escalating expenses and diminishing income. She once enjoyed wide fame and the money it brought. Her photographs hung in galleries and museums, and were reproduced on posters and mugs. But they no longer sell well and her agent is dismissive. Rebecca's parents need assistance: her father is shaky and her mother is worse, suffering fro ...more
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Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of eight novels: OBJECT LESSONS, ONE TRUE THING, BLACK AND BLUE, BLESSINGS, RISE AND SHINE, EVERY LAST ONE, STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS, and MILLER'S VALLEY. Her memoir LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bests ...more
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“Then when she really thought about it she realized she’d been becoming different people for as long as she could remember but had never really noticed, or had put it down to moods, or marriage, or motherhood. The problem was that she’d thought that at a certain point she would be a finished product.” 9 likes
“It's a funny thing, hope. It's not like love, or fear, or hate. It's a feeling you don't really know you had until it's gone.” 9 likes
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