Monthly Archives: January 2013

Read: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


Wow! State of Wonder certainly lived up to its name! I loved Patchett’s Bel Canto but I’m enamored with this more recent work of hers. She truly is a master at not only characters and story but of beautiful, crystallized sentences that are near perfection. When reading, I kept pausing to think that there was no better way to say what she just said. This is why I love fiction. Or rather, amazing writing.

The main character, Marina, is from Minnesota (my home state!) but she gets sent to the jungles of the Amazon on a fact-finding mission. Her company funds drug research there but the doctor on the ground won’t keep them posted on progress and Marina’s co-worker Anders died on the same mission. Reluctant, she goes to report back information–armed with a satellite phone–and also to learn more about Anders’ death for his wife-turned-widow.

Not only is this a great book for cold winter months, the story unfolds with such pacing that it is hard to set the novel down for much time. The vivid descriptions and compelling details that unfold keep the reader enthralled. Yet, to enjoy, well to savor each of her sentences, I read at a leisurely rate though it was tempting to jump ahead at parts as it gets going. From the beginning I was hooked, despite reading difficult pages of the grief that the MN characters go through for Anders. But even those passages are gorgeous, as is Patchett’s track-record with me.

Recommended?: Absolutely! Perhaps more so for women than men just because the novel revolves around a fertility drug and women’s health is the main topic. That’s not to say a man couldn’t enjoy the book but some might not be interested in it; they would enjoy Bel Canto more since it is about a hostage-taking situation at a dinner party.



Reading list for 2013: same list, more books


In 2012, only 11 books from my shelves jumped from my reading list to being read. Too few, it seems, though I read 200 some pages fromΒ Infinite Jest, which feels like a feat in itself most times when I pick it up. That magnum opus of David Foster Wallace remains on the list, and joining it is the new biography of his life. This year, many of the titles that I am adding are non-fiction.

The goal for 2013? Make much more time for reading. And clear out my shelf so that there is more room for new purchases with all my recent holiday gift cards! πŸ™‚


Reading List for 2013

  1. Drift : the unmooring of American military power — Rachel Maddow
  2. Cat’s eyewitness — Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
  3. The leaderless revolution — Carne Ross
  4. End this depression now! — Paul Krugman
  5. Joseph Anton : a memoir — Salman Rushdie
  6. The last man : a novel – Vince Flynn
  7. Every love story is a ghost story : a life of David Foster Wallace — D.T. Max
  8. Captain Vorpatril’s alliance — Lois McMaster Bujold
  9. A door in the ocean : a memoir — David McGlynn
  10. Boleto : a novel — Alyson Hagy
  11. The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian — Sherman Alexie
  12. State of wonder : a novel — Ann Patchett
  13. Infinite Jest β€” David Foster Wallace
  14. Freedom β€” Jonathan Franzen
  15. 1Q84 β€” Haruki Murakami
  16. The wind-up bird chronicles – Haruki Murakami
  17. How English works β€” Anne Curzan, Michael Adams (grammar textbook)
  18. Middlesex β€” Jeffery Eugenides
  19. The Finkler question β€” Howard Jacobson
  20. Patron Saint of Liars β€” Ann Patchett
  21. The rolling stones β€” Robert Heinlein
  22. Run β€” Ann Patchett
  23. One hundred years of solitude β€” Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  24. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde β€” Robert Louis Stevenson
  25. Selected stories of Philip K. Dick
  26. Sinner β€” Sara Douglass
  27. The information β€” James Gleick
  28. The end of the straight and narrow β€” David McGlynn
  29. The Screwtape letters β€” C.S. Lewis
  30. Twice told tales β€” Nathaniel Hawthorne
  31. Anna Karenina β€” Leo Tolstoy
  32. Treasure island β€” Robert Lewis Stevenson
  33. I’m looking through you β€” Jennifer Finney Boylan
  34. Mirror mirror β€” Gregory Maguire
  35. Son of a witch β€” Gregory Maguire
  36. Inland β€” K.C. Frederick
  37. Dune β€” Frank Herbert
  38. The nature of a liberal college β€” Henry Wriston
  39. The soul thief β€” Charles Baxter
  40. Jane Eyre β€” Charlotte Bronte
  41. Paradise lost & paradise found β€” John Milton
  42. Pride and prejudice and zombies β€” Seth Grahame-Smith
  43. Waiting β€” Ha Jin