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Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir

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The author, journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider reflects on the spiritual quest that has brought deeper meaning to her life—and kept her grounded within the high-powered political world of Washington, D.C.’s elite—her renowned writing career, her celebrity marriage, and her legendary role as doyenne of the capital’s social scene. In this emot The author, journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider reflects on the spiritual quest that has brought deeper meaning to her life—and kept her grounded within the high-powered political world of Washington, D.C.’s elite—her renowned writing career, her celebrity marriage, and her legendary role as doyenne of the capital’s social scene. In this emotionally involving, illuminating memoir, the legendary Washington Post journalist, and author talks candidly about her life at the white-hot center of power and the surprising spiritual quest that has driven her for more than half a century. While working as a reporter, caring for a learning-disabled son with her husband, longtime Washington Post executive editor Benjamin Bradlee, reigning over the capital’s social scene, and remaining intimately connected with national politics, Sally Quinn yearned to understand what truly made the world—and her life—tick. After years of searching, most of which occurring in the secular capital of the world, she came to realize that the time she spent with friends and family—the evenings of shared hospitality and intimate fellowship—provided spiritual nourishment and that this theme has been woven into all the most important moments of her life. In this spiritual memoir, Quinn speaks frankly about her varied, provocative spiritual experiences—from her Southern family of Presbyterians and psychics, to voodoo lessons from her Baptist nanny, her trials as a hospitalized military kid in Japan as the Korean War begins, to her adventures as a Post reporter and columnist and her experience as one of the first female news anchors on national television; her battles with the Nixon administration, Watergate, and other scandals that have rocked the nation; her courtship and long marriage to one of the most authoritative figures in the media; her role as the capital’s most influential hostess; and her growing fascination with religious issues. This fascination led to her pioneering work in creating the most visited religious site on the web, OnFaith.co, where she reports on the unseen driving force of American life. Throughout this radiant, thoughtful, and surprisingly intimate memoir, Quinn reveals how "it’s all magic"—the many forms of what draws us together and provides meaning to all we do. Her roller coaster and irreverent but surprisingly spiritual story allows us to see how the infinite wonder of God and the values of meaningful conversation, experience, and community are available to us all. Finding Magic includes 16 pages of exclusive photographs.


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The author, journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider reflects on the spiritual quest that has brought deeper meaning to her life—and kept her grounded within the high-powered political world of Washington, D.C.’s elite—her renowned writing career, her celebrity marriage, and her legendary role as doyenne of the capital’s social scene. In this emot The author, journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider reflects on the spiritual quest that has brought deeper meaning to her life—and kept her grounded within the high-powered political world of Washington, D.C.’s elite—her renowned writing career, her celebrity marriage, and her legendary role as doyenne of the capital’s social scene. In this emotionally involving, illuminating memoir, the legendary Washington Post journalist, and author talks candidly about her life at the white-hot center of power and the surprising spiritual quest that has driven her for more than half a century. While working as a reporter, caring for a learning-disabled son with her husband, longtime Washington Post executive editor Benjamin Bradlee, reigning over the capital’s social scene, and remaining intimately connected with national politics, Sally Quinn yearned to understand what truly made the world—and her life—tick. After years of searching, most of which occurring in the secular capital of the world, she came to realize that the time she spent with friends and family—the evenings of shared hospitality and intimate fellowship—provided spiritual nourishment and that this theme has been woven into all the most important moments of her life. In this spiritual memoir, Quinn speaks frankly about her varied, provocative spiritual experiences—from her Southern family of Presbyterians and psychics, to voodoo lessons from her Baptist nanny, her trials as a hospitalized military kid in Japan as the Korean War begins, to her adventures as a Post reporter and columnist and her experience as one of the first female news anchors on national television; her battles with the Nixon administration, Watergate, and other scandals that have rocked the nation; her courtship and long marriage to one of the most authoritative figures in the media; her role as the capital’s most influential hostess; and her growing fascination with religious issues. This fascination led to her pioneering work in creating the most visited religious site on the web, OnFaith.co, where she reports on the unseen driving force of American life. Throughout this radiant, thoughtful, and surprisingly intimate memoir, Quinn reveals how "it’s all magic"—the many forms of what draws us together and provides meaning to all we do. Her roller coaster and irreverent but surprisingly spiritual story allows us to see how the infinite wonder of God and the values of meaningful conversation, experience, and community are available to us all. Finding Magic includes 16 pages of exclusive photographs.

30 review for Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joan Lieberman

    As a hopeful reader, I was disappointed in Sally Quinn's so-called spiritual journey. I forced myself to finish her narrative, hoping that she would reveal something insightful, but instead found a plethora of platitudes. Quinn begins her journey by describing the ability of her mother to put mortal hexes on others and ends with her desire to love and be loved, immersed in her own "wild and precious life" -- her narcissism masquerading as meaning. As a hopeful reader, I was disappointed in Sally Quinn's so-called spiritual journey. I forced myself to finish her narrative, hoping that she would reveal something insightful, but instead found a plethora of platitudes. Quinn begins her journey by describing the ability of her mother to put mortal hexes on others and ends with her desire to love and be loved, immersed in her own "wild and precious life" -- her narcissism masquerading as meaning.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cathy D

    I never heard of this person before, but had heard of her husband Ben Bradlee. That this was to be a spiritual memoir sounded promising, but in the end, it was all pablum. I found the author vacuous, narcissistic, and scarily fixated on hexing people. (Other reviewers note that she said her mother and grandmother also hexed people, who then died. True. But the author also hexed people.) Seriously? Sounds like a spoiled toddler who needs a time-out. Ugh. Don't waste your time. I never heard of this person before, but had heard of her husband Ben Bradlee. That this was to be a spiritual memoir sounded promising, but in the end, it was all pablum. I found the author vacuous, narcissistic, and scarily fixated on hexing people. (Other reviewers note that she said her mother and grandmother also hexed people, who then died. True. But the author also hexed people.) Seriously? Sounds like a spoiled toddler who needs a time-out. Ugh. Don't waste your time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karla Eaton

    This is the best bad book I have read in a long time. I have so many thoughts about it but here are the brief few: written like a 9th grader - subject, verb, direct object easy to dislike Quinn - incredibly narcissistic and chameleon like - from white gloved prim at job interview to gullible ingenue to hippy reveler to savvy broad who stays for the caviar and fends off the Lothario... crazy, amazing life of privilege sad realities which she turns to lemonade amazing voice which made me keep turning This is the best bad book I have read in a long time. I have so many thoughts about it but here are the brief few: written like a 9th grader - subject, verb, direct object easy to dislike Quinn - incredibly narcissistic and chameleon like - from white gloved prim at job interview to gullible ingenue to hippy reveler to savvy broad who stays for the caviar and fends off the Lothario... crazy, amazing life of privilege sad realities which she turns to lemonade amazing voice which made me keep turning the page

  4. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Bookman

    For me, this book really would better be rated in three parts. Part 1 gets a solid 4.5 stars - fun, funny, deep, well-paced, engaging - everything a good memoir should be. Part 2 gets a 3.5 - still a good read, interesting, very well written, and enjoyable, although slightly less personally my style. But part 3 was just so hard to read. Not simply the subject matter of dying, but the stage of life and the shift in focus of faith - I just had a lot of trouble relating. The writing precision and c For me, this book really would better be rated in three parts. Part 1 gets a solid 4.5 stars - fun, funny, deep, well-paced, engaging - everything a good memoir should be. Part 2 gets a 3.5 - still a good read, interesting, very well written, and enjoyable, although slightly less personally my style. But part 3 was just so hard to read. Not simply the subject matter of dying, but the stage of life and the shift in focus of faith - I just had a lot of trouble relating. The writing precision and clarity was (obviously) quite high, and I actually enjoyed the focus on faith, religion, and spirituality (at least in the first two parts) despite the fact that I typically shy away from those topics. But as much as I loved part 1, and liked part 2, part 3 only gets a 2.5 and unfortunately drags down my overall opinion and enjoyment of the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shirazita

    Interesting anecdotes, but journey through spirituality seemed shallow. She tried to hard to intellectualize it. Would have preferred it as a straight biography.

  6. 4 out of 5

    False

    Being a native Washingtonian, I suppose I felt compelled to read this mess. I had seen an interview prior to reading the book, and to watch two women gushing over a shared astrologer (and in Quinn’s case also a therapist and a psychic,) the interview was like swapping good hairdressing advice at a cocktail party. “I swear by her.” Also, the interviewer's husband had died a few years back after cheating everyone while having his rich father throw money at people to continue to indulge his son wit Being a native Washingtonian, I suppose I felt compelled to read this mess. I had seen an interview prior to reading the book, and to watch two women gushing over a shared astrologer (and in Quinn’s case also a therapist and a psychic,) the interview was like swapping good hairdressing advice at a cocktail party. “I swear by her.” Also, the interviewer's husband had died a few years back after cheating everyone while having his rich father throw money at people to continue to indulge his son with a plaything bar. He had the good sense to die before he entered prison. So there they were, two peas playing oneupsmanship while flashing their jewels at each other. For someone in such a desire to find answer of faith and spirituality, she has a disconcerting habit of name dropping, parties, constantly showing her dementia diminished husband and sexual vigor in his 90’s “Would that I could.” (I just took that quote from Dr. Zhivago about the lack of English tobacco.) Quinn has a long known reputation of how she came to be a reporter for The Washington Post. She must have an awareness of this, because within this book she mentions that it wasn’t until her husband’s death that she finally had the respect and role that was befitting. In truth, people in society have long memories, and they still think of her as the blonde with one foot in the door immediately makes a play for the big boss. I remember the advantages this accorded her in terms of viperous articles that ran full pages—twaddle. She repeatedly praises her son who has massive limitations (she praises his skills) and one can hardly blame a mother for championing her offspring, but it grates after repeated reports. The money of her husband, a block long house in a choice part of town, other properties (Grey Gardens was just sold, and I’m assuming its upkeep had to be astonishing. She blew a small fortune restoring it, and she was indulged in doing so.) Now, there is a pied a terre in Manhattan. She never seems to arrive at some personal form of faith other than astro charts, hexes (which she continues to believe in and use.) I found her professed sexual need after her husband’s death unsettling as much as her melodramatic throwing herself prostate in front of altars and across expensive mausoleum crypts. Excessive, but then the past several decades of her life have been lived in unchecked excess and indulgence. Don’t waste your time, unless you feel it’s something you can discuss during your next spa day or at brunch at Fiola Mare.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Faber

    Somewhat interesting. She thinks she and other people have psychic powers, so there's a lot of woo here. She also trusts theists to define athiesm, which is kind of like asking Nazis about Jews. At the end, she defines (small c) christian as a good person, while not seeing that there are a lot of religions that you could do the same for. Her growing up (army brat) and young adulthood are worth reading it for and the Washington Post stuff (she worked there, then married Ben Bradlee) is also somew Somewhat interesting. She thinks she and other people have psychic powers, so there's a lot of woo here. She also trusts theists to define athiesm, which is kind of like asking Nazis about Jews. At the end, she defines (small c) christian as a good person, while not seeing that there are a lot of religions that you could do the same for. Her growing up (army brat) and young adulthood are worth reading it for and the Washington Post stuff (she worked there, then married Ben Bradlee) is also somewhat interesting, if too name-droppy for my tastes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Quinn can write, but this is 400 pages of BS about her "spiritual journey" which ends up leading...nowhere. Read the last chapter (epilogue) first. You'll quickly see that she is unable to verbalize having any type of faith after searching for it in every different form. She doesn't believe in God but loves to get intellectual quoting religious writers. The book talks about her voodoo beliefs and hexes, her claim to be "christian" (with a small c) saying that you don't have to believe in Christ Quinn can write, but this is 400 pages of BS about her "spiritual journey" which ends up leading...nowhere. Read the last chapter (epilogue) first. You'll quickly see that she is unable to verbalize having any type of faith after searching for it in every different form. She doesn't believe in God but loves to get intellectual quoting religious writers. The book talks about her voodoo beliefs and hexes, her claim to be "christian" (with a small c) saying that you don't have to believe in Christ to be one (yes you do), and her husband's death causing her to do soul-searching (yes, she believes in some type of other world energy or force). But the best she can do at the conclusion is to write: "In the end I have my own religion. I made it up...believing in magic is as legitimate as any religion or faith." Oh no it isn't. Quinn reflects all that is wrong with the world and liberal thinking by refusing to accept there is such a thing as absolute truth. Instead she thinks "magic is based on faith and hope" and is "spiritual and uplifting." So she believes in magic but in no God nor religion. If that's the kind of "spiritual" book you want to read then go at it. She's extremely verbose in spouting what she doesn't believe. Her acknowledgments are 12 pages long! But she ends up saying really nothing and reflects how sad it is when one's heart is hard thinking the mind has all the answers. She's just another rich liberal female who loves to hear herself talk and thinks she has something to contribute to the world with her words. Instead she should try to live by faith.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    Quinn spends a lot of time telling us what a nice person she REALLY is after spending decades as a vituperative profiler in the Style section of the Washington Post, but also that she cast hexes on 3 people who died young, suddenly and quickly. She talks about her mother's old plantation owning family but won't admit that they were slave holders. She name drops shamelessly. Nevertheless, she's had an interesting life surrounded by the famous, but it's all personal, and history be damned! Read for fu Quinn spends a lot of time telling us what a nice person she REALLY is after spending decades as a vituperative profiler in the Style section of the Washington Post, but also that she cast hexes on 3 people who died young, suddenly and quickly. She talks about her mother's old plantation owning family but won't admit that they were slave holders. She name drops shamelessly. Nevertheless, she's had an interesting life surrounded by the famous, but it's all personal, and history be damned! Read for fun and gossip.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The book is just like Sally Quinn. Intelligent, strong and at the same time a bit like the champagne she so loves to imbibe. I like her search for faith as it's I encumbered by the strictures of a particular organized religion. The book is just like Sally Quinn. Intelligent, strong and at the same time a bit like the champagne she so loves to imbibe. I like her search for faith as it's I encumbered by the strictures of a particular organized religion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Schultz

    I chose to read this book after seeing Sally Quinn interviewed on TV. She certainly has led an interesting life. I found the parts about her childhood especially fascinating. In many ways she had an incredibly privileged life, which she acknowledges at one point, but I don't know if she truly realizes what a gift is it to not have to worry about money, to be free to travel extensively, attend any spiritual retreats she chooses anywhere in the world, have a summer home, vacation in Corsica, etc. I chose to read this book after seeing Sally Quinn interviewed on TV. She certainly has led an interesting life. I found the parts about her childhood especially fascinating. In many ways she had an incredibly privileged life, which she acknowledges at one point, but I don't know if she truly realizes what a gift is it to not have to worry about money, to be free to travel extensively, attend any spiritual retreats she chooses anywhere in the world, have a summer home, vacation in Corsica, etc. I can't relate to that, but I can relate to some of her feelings about organized religion, the importance of rituals, the comfort (at times) that religious ceremony brings. It gave me a lot to think about. Glad I read it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I was torn between giving this book 2 and 3 stars, but decided to go with 2 because it just wasn't what it proclaimed to be. Yes, it was a memoir and yes, it touched upon Quinn's spiritual beliefs, but not in any coherent fashion. I believe she intended it to be a guide for those seeking spiritual growth and it certainly wasn't that. It was an uneven account of her life in which her spiritual "epiphanies" felt rather forced and were often anti-climactic. She would go on far too long about minuti I was torn between giving this book 2 and 3 stars, but decided to go with 2 because it just wasn't what it proclaimed to be. Yes, it was a memoir and yes, it touched upon Quinn's spiritual beliefs, but not in any coherent fashion. I believe she intended it to be a guide for those seeking spiritual growth and it certainly wasn't that. It was an uneven account of her life in which her spiritual "epiphanies" felt rather forced and were often anti-climactic. She would go on far too long about minutia concerning parties, clothes and dinners, yet gloss over her spiritual realizations where more explanation or embellishment was needed. For instance, in her account of being at her husband's death bed, which she delineated in great detail, she said she felt God was there. Period. How did she know? What exactly was she experiencing, feeling? She left us guessing. For someone who's led an interesting life, the anecdotes illustrating her awakenings were often surprisingly uninteresting. Her spiritual growth seemed rather rudimentary. Anyone who hopes to have their own spiritual horizons expanded beyond the message that love is what gives our lives meaning and purpose would do better to read another author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carole Sullivan

    I had forgotten how "entitled" Sally Quinn is. A spoiled southern semi-rich girl who marries her way into the upper echelon of Washington society with Ben Bradlee. This book is about her special gift of spirituality, alas it is just silly astrology and voodoo. Her son, Quinn and all his problems are referenced and I could not help thinking that any other child with all these problems would never have made it through to adulthood. She neglects to say that having money and powerful friends may be I had forgotten how "entitled" Sally Quinn is. A spoiled southern semi-rich girl who marries her way into the upper echelon of Washington society with Ben Bradlee. This book is about her special gift of spirituality, alas it is just silly astrology and voodoo. Her son, Quinn and all his problems are referenced and I could not help thinking that any other child with all these problems would never have made it through to adulthood. She neglects to say that having money and powerful friends may be the magic that she has. She seems to feel that it is a big deal just to try to be self aware. Perhaps for her, it is.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Finding Magic. That was... Definitely Something... What can I say about Sally Quinn & Finding Magic? Well... I was entertained. Sally has some fascinating stories & I admit, I’d have loved to hear her go in to more depth on some of them. As a history buff, I’ve long been familiar with Ben Bradlee, Watergate & the WaPo, but aside from a tabloid story likely read in-flight at one time or another, Sally Quinn has remained largely off my radar. I’d even forgotten she was ultimately the one who bought Finding Magic. That was... Definitely Something... What can I say about Sally Quinn & Finding Magic? Well... I was entertained. Sally has some fascinating stories & I admit, I’d have loved to hear her go in to more depth on some of them. As a history buff, I’ve long been familiar with Ben Bradlee, Watergate & the WaPo, but aside from a tabloid story likely read in-flight at one time or another, Sally Quinn has remained largely off my radar. I’d even forgotten she was ultimately the one who bought Grey Gardens! That said, I have to admit, I was laughing my ass off by the time we discover that she’s ‘that’ person who manages to make their own therapist scoot their chair backwards until they hit a wall as she makes them more & more uncomfortable. Because well... after reading to that point, I’d expect nothing less. If you’re in need of a good spiritual memoir or self help book, this likely isn’t it. Look, I’m an LA chick. I love my astrology, my psychic & my shaman. Yes, I avoid gluten & yes, I order cold pressed juice to the tune of $8/bottle & I totally love my activated charcoal lemonade... that in mind, take my stereotype & ask yourself if you’d come to me for spiritual advice. No? Yeah, I probably wouldn’t either. While I do recommend Finding Magic for a gossipy, entertaining & yes, occasionally bizarre read, if it’s come to Jesus time, do what the rest of us do & pick up some Deepak Chopra. Or hit up David Lynch for some transcendental meditation & woowoo. You’ll probably be better off assuming you have all of the above already. Now it’s time to read Ben Bradlee’s book to determine what in God’s name he was thinking throughout this marriage. I’m glad it apparently worked for the two of them, but if you’re one who didn’t walk away from this book going, ‘What the.... hmmmm... okay...’ can you leave me a comment stating why? No snark at all. I’m so curious & currently feel as though I’ve been drinking bottle after bottle of Veuve Cliquot and I can’t see anything through the champagne bubbles, though not for a lack of trying.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    On Book TV she tells about Sen John Power attempting to rape her during a cab ride. Says she could have been Anita Hill and had her life ruined if she had told police. Her brother was a religion major at University of Chicago and she interfaced with Martin Marty and Eliade. She was southern and she and her relatives would put hexes on people. Eliade said that she should stop doing that. Talks about caring for disabled son Quinn and her husband Ben Bradlee's death. Something bigger in the room th On Book TV she tells about Sen John Power attempting to rape her during a cab ride. Says she could have been Anita Hill and had her life ruined if she had told police. Her brother was a religion major at University of Chicago and she interfaced with Martin Marty and Eliade. She was southern and she and her relatives would put hexes on people. Eliade said that she should stop doing that. Talks about caring for disabled son Quinn and her husband Ben Bradlee's death. Something bigger in the room that night that helped her get through his death. Through love she found magic. She also talks about her beginnings as a reporter covering parties. Someone told her to cover parties like a crime. There is a victim and a perpetrator. Cherry picked many different religions. didn't like role of women religion. Goes to masque and synagogue. Chanting and hymns give a feeling of transcendence. Her parents thought she was an atheist. Good mother good wife good friend for her epitaph. La tr Ely she wo UI me add She was never boring.,

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alice Heiserman

    I'm in the midst of writing my autobiography, and this book provided a great example of a style that I could use in my own writing; it provides interest and moves the narrative along. Quinn explores questions about religion and ways of believing. However, at times, the discussion seemed a bit naive and based on magical thinking based on the luxury of a privileged childhood. The latter part of the book, which discusses her husband, Ben Bradlee's increasing dementia and eventual death is a bit dra I'm in the midst of writing my autobiography, and this book provided a great example of a style that I could use in my own writing; it provides interest and moves the narrative along. Quinn explores questions about religion and ways of believing. However, at times, the discussion seemed a bit naive and based on magical thinking based on the luxury of a privileged childhood. The latter part of the book, which discusses her husband, Ben Bradlee's increasing dementia and eventual death is a bit drawn out. "I believe that life inherently has great meaning, potentially for everyone. I am not negative, not a pessimist, not a cynic. I am definitely not a nihilist. If I had to choose one word for where I am spiritually and philosophically at this moment in my life, it would be transcendentalist. The Transcendentalists . . . 'believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power;' he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy." Some of her conclusions such as this need further explication instead of "jolly gee, I've just found the answer."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monique Buchanan

    There was a lot about this story I could not relate to. Sally Quinn's life is one of privilege, the daughter of an army general, the wife of a very successful editor and journalist -- she lived a financially charmed life. But I could relate to her desire to find herself --to find what brings meaning to her life: family, friends, love, vulnerable times with loved ones. Sally Quinn's writing does "sound" like the white, upper class woman she is, but she is also admirable. She's brave. She's persis There was a lot about this story I could not relate to. Sally Quinn's life is one of privilege, the daughter of an army general, the wife of a very successful editor and journalist -- she lived a financially charmed life. But I could relate to her desire to find herself --to find what brings meaning to her life: family, friends, love, vulnerable times with loved ones. Sally Quinn's writing does "sound" like the white, upper class woman she is, but she is also admirable. She's brave. She's persistent. She's insightful and intelligent. She's definitely not a wall-flower. She comes across as very sure of herself. It's slightly annoying, as she seems a bit arrogant, but then she softens it with her vulnerability and humanity as she shares suffering from anxiety around her dad, her struggles raising a son with a lot of health problems, her dying parents, and her eventual loss of her husband. I underlined the following: "Learning about oneself, understanding oneself, might actually lead to becoming a better, kinder, more empathetic person."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky Morlok

    Not since Katherine Graham's autobiography, Personal History have I enjoyed a memoir so much. Had I not had so much to do, I would have read Sally Quinn's Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir from cover to cover immediately. It is a page turner. I disagree with many of the reviews on this book. It's a 10! Quinn's husband, Bill Bradlee (famous from Watergate years) was editor of The Washington Post under Publisher Katherine Graham. It was a different time for women and for journalism. Could be that Not since Katherine Graham's autobiography, Personal History have I enjoyed a memoir so much. Had I not had so much to do, I would have read Sally Quinn's Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir from cover to cover immediately. It is a page turner. I disagree with many of the reviews on this book. It's a 10! Quinn's husband, Bill Bradlee (famous from Watergate years) was editor of The Washington Post under Publisher Katherine Graham. It was a different time for women and for journalism. Could be that my 20 years in the newspaper business might have accounted for some of my fondness for this book. However, Quinn's writing is real and raw and flowed effortlessly as she took us on the journey of her life and her quest to find her faith.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jordan B

    I listened to this via audiobook and I have to admit I was enchanted. Is Sally Quinn a bit narcissistic? Yes. Does she fulfill the promise of the premise of a Spiritual Memoir? Not exactly. But she certainly lived a fascinating life. It's so interesting to hear her talk (read her write) about experiences in her life where she is clearly at moral fault and yet, she doesn't quite own up to it as much as she should. But I was very taken with her thoughts on grief. I like the way she talks about dis I listened to this via audiobook and I have to admit I was enchanted. Is Sally Quinn a bit narcissistic? Yes. Does she fulfill the promise of the premise of a Spiritual Memoir? Not exactly. But she certainly lived a fascinating life. It's so interesting to hear her talk (read her write) about experiences in her life where she is clearly at moral fault and yet, she doesn't quite own up to it as much as she should. But I was very taken with her thoughts on grief. I like the way she talks about discovering magic, even though she only does so for a few paragraphs despite it being the title of the book. She is a deeply flawed but still fascinating woman and she made me long for my own long nights sitting around the dining room table drinking wine in the candlelight with good friends.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is seriously one of the worst books I have ever read. I chose it because I like the Washington Post, always admired Ben Bradlee and can't remember reading any columns by Sally Quinn but thought it would be interesting. Oh my gosh, the only "Magic" in this book is that she managed to get it published. I forced myself to read almost all of it and then returned it to the library. Some other optimistic reader had put it on reserve. If I could give it a 'minus star I would. The only "spoiler" fo This is seriously one of the worst books I have ever read. I chose it because I like the Washington Post, always admired Ben Bradlee and can't remember reading any columns by Sally Quinn but thought it would be interesting. Oh my gosh, the only "Magic" in this book is that she managed to get it published. I forced myself to read almost all of it and then returned it to the library. Some other optimistic reader had put it on reserve. If I could give it a 'minus star I would. The only "spoiler" for this book is opening the cover.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Just a normal memoir with the words transcendent, spiritual, divine, etc mixed in with self-serving stories of parties, alcohol, and sex. The author's non-existent moral compass and sense of entitlement, with first "daddy" then her husband providing for her, was difficult to digest. I have always admired Ben Bradlee's work as an editor. His choice of third wife makes me think he was more shallow than I imagined, even knowing before this about his track record with women. A most unsatisfying read Just a normal memoir with the words transcendent, spiritual, divine, etc mixed in with self-serving stories of parties, alcohol, and sex. The author's non-existent moral compass and sense of entitlement, with first "daddy" then her husband providing for her, was difficult to digest. I have always admired Ben Bradlee's work as an editor. His choice of third wife makes me think he was more shallow than I imagined, even knowing before this about his track record with women. A most unsatisfying read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Thanks to Goodreads and HarperOne for this ARC. This book took me longer than usual to read because of it's complexity of it I guess you can call it. I've read a few of her novels and know something about her life and her husband's Ben Bradlee from me living in the D.C. area myself. I knew it was about "Faith" but didn't realize how deep this book was until I started reading. I enjoyed some parts of this book, her trips to holy lands, her life with Ben and Quinn her son who had health problems a Thanks to Goodreads and HarperOne for this ARC. This book took me longer than usual to read because of it's complexity of it I guess you can call it. I've read a few of her novels and know something about her life and her husband's Ben Bradlee from me living in the D.C. area myself. I knew it was about "Faith" but didn't realize how deep this book was until I started reading. I enjoyed some parts of this book, her trips to holy lands, her life with Ben and Quinn her son who had health problems and her early life with her psychic ability, her mother's and grandmother's hexes (scary that some came true), and her love of astrology and a big believer in it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    I really Liked this book - It’s an interesting and entertaining look at the events that shaped her faith, and/or lack there of. Sally explores the many unique experiences that shaped her spiritual evolution. Ultimately finding herself able to embrace many aspects of conventional belief systems and some very Unconventional as well. I would recommend it if you are in the mood for something thought provoking and insightful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Miller

    The book was engaging but there was something a bit condescending in it. Or maybe it’s just hard to read a whole book about finding oneself when it seems the author spent most of her life doing as she pleased, consequences be damned. I find it appalling that if, as she claims, she believes in the power of magic, that she would repetitively put hexes on people which apparent caused their death. What does that say about your perceived status in the world?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ann Garrett

    This memoir by Sally Quinn explores the religious/spiritual journey of the author from childhood to the present. Sally Quinn's life has been exciting and heartbreaking. While she writes about her quest for finding magic in an interesting way, I found that when she speaks of her husbands death to be extremely poignant and vulnerable. Sally Quinn is an intelligent, deep thinking, well connected individual. I enjoyed peeking into her world. This memoir by Sally Quinn explores the religious/spiritual journey of the author from childhood to the present. Sally Quinn's life has been exciting and heartbreaking. While she writes about her quest for finding magic in an interesting way, I found that when she speaks of her husbands death to be extremely poignant and vulnerable. Sally Quinn is an intelligent, deep thinking, well connected individual. I enjoyed peeking into her world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    The only thing interesting about this book was her description of the many famous and infamous people she knew. Otherwise it was boring to listen to her go on and on about her incrediably spoiled life. She seems still to have almost no clue about how privileged her life was. As for "finding majic" she never got there. The only thing interesting about this book was her description of the many famous and infamous people she knew. Otherwise it was boring to listen to her go on and on about her incrediably spoiled life. She seems still to have almost no clue about how privileged her life was. As for "finding majic" she never got there.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marypeitz

    Initially I was not overwhelmed by this book but when Sally Quinn really started her religious quest - trying to understand what she believes and why - I became much more interested and the last 40% of the book just flew by. Also, her description of her experiences caring for Ben Bradlee at the end of his life was moving.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott Presnall

    A really interesting view of the soul and what one does with it. Quinn, an exceptional writer, tackled a difficult subject head-on and produced this exquisite read. I have wrestled with my faith following the losses of dear family members and truly understand her efforts here. Highly recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    Sorry, Sally, I found no magic in this book! Quit on page 65. But...........I googled Ben Bradley and came across the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer(sister-in-law) a much better story. Involving JFK and the CIA, a lot more interesting than searching for a non existent god!! Let’s get real with the authors photo - photoshopped from 77 to 45, c’mon??

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    God, I’ve now read both memoirs, and I can say with confidence that Sally Quinn is absolutely insufferable. Gladly I was just skimming this awful book for any relevant info on the political culture of the 1970s, so I was able to skip over her pseudo-spiritual ramblings. She is the poster child for spoiled baby boomers who think they’re deep but are really just self-involved.

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