Saturday, May 12, 2012

State of Perplexity

I awoke this morning with the thought: I will begin reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I have owned the book for about a year now, I have been to Patchett's bookstore in Nashville, and Cornflower Books (the blog) reported that it is now out in paperback and that it has been shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize, the UK's only annual award for fiction written by a woman.

But then, trouble. I looked and looked for the book. I could picture the spine, but it was not on my shelves. I looked four different times. Had a book thief come in the night and stolen it away? I was in a State of Perplexity. And a bit depressed when I realized how many books were on my shelves that I owned but had not read. Some books I had forgotten I had. Some I wondered why I still had them. And others, I was so glad I had not given away in a fit of purging.

Finally, on the fifth go-round, after breakfast was eaten and two cups of coffee were drunk, I found the book. Maybe it was the coffee.

I am here to report that I am captivated. Swept away. After 150 pages I can feel the insect bites, the heat, and the lethargy of the city of Manaus, Brazil, South America. I won't go into plot or characters as they are discussed all over the book blogging world. I will save my report for a post upon finishing and digesting the book.

I will say that I love that it is a mystery although it isn't catalogued as one. I am constantly torn between reading quickly to find out what will happen next and reading slowly to savor the words.


  1. I loved State of Wonder, too. I was also very impressed by Bel Canto. I started another of her books but couldn't get into it, but I will certainly look out for more books by Patchett.

    1. Vintage,
      "State of Wonder" is my first Patchett book. I know that "Bel Canto" won the Orange Prize and everyone who has read it loved it. I guess it will go on my list.

      On my visit to her bookstore, Parnassus, I picked up a signed copy (!) of "What Now?" which is based on her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater.

      Although it addresses college graduates, I suppose we have all asked 'what now?' many times in our lives. I know I have.