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Group Reads > State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett

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message 1: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Welcome to the January Group Read.

I will be starting this book this weekend so I wanted to get the thread rolling for anyone else who might be inclined to join in.

Diane Rehm's interview with her:

Also, just FYI, her tour information -- she is coming to Chicago in June and I do believe she might be reading at the same bookstore our very own JE read at:

message 2: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . ann just bought a bookstore in (if i recall) tennesee . . . i've heard great stuff about this book . . .

message 3: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 23 comments Loved this book. Can't wait to see the comments!

message 4: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
I need to get through more to have coherent thoughts. So far the writing is tight and emotional and I'm enjoying it.

message 5: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
I am on chapter 4 -- it is so well written. I will write down some of my thoughts this weekend when I have more time.

message 6: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
So -- I'm on chapter 6 and have nothing substantive to say yet about this book.

Other than that I am sailing through the book as though it's my own story, and she does an incredible job with what it feels like to be in a tropical climate and how it feels to be in a foreign country alone... I mean...

Though I will say, I do tire of the Bohjalian-like "medical crisis" stuff sometimes. It doesn't seem to be the central piece of the book, though, so I guess it has that going for it.

message 7: by Martha (new)

Martha Kate | 194 comments I'm gonna wait until you guys are all finished reading before I weigh in. I have such great memories of this book...the descriptions of the Amazon, the characters, the way the action pulls you in until you're completely trapped. Did some of us read "Bel Canto" together, back in the day? Jonathan, it makes total sense that she would buy a bookstore in Tennessee; she lives in Nashville. One of the greatest readings I've ever heard was when she spoke at the National Council of Teachers of English in Nashville. Adrian and Mo will be happy to know she holds Eudora Welty in VERY high esteem.

message 8: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (last edited Mar 23, 2012 11:07AM) (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
So, Hugh and I were talking about this book offline the other day and I confessed to not being able to get any further than page 100 or so. In fact, the way I know I'm not going to finish a book because I do what my kids do: "Look, ma! I'm on page 75!" This means I am NOT getting lost in the story.

I'm going to lodge a complaint I've leveled before - this writing is just too tight and neat and no one's guts are on the table. Oh, she does a fine job detailing the grief, and what humidity feels like, and what it's like to have an affair with your boss and realize you're in love with him...

I have the same issue with Franzen, who is everyone's favorite whipping boy right now, but in a different way. His characters are messy people, but his writing is too neat and so fucking DEPRESSING because, you know, when are the characters going to put more than a toe over the line or in the water to move their lives?

This is why I love Faulkner, Kerouac, DFW, Hemingway... they write MESSY, they wrote as though it was ALL on the line. They wrote with their GUTS on the fucking table. They saw the line, and they jumped over it, and then they jumped over a few more. Fuck the neatness. Screw trying to tell us the precise movement of grief as though it were a second hand on a stopwatch. Give me something to pull into ME and understand the world, and people in a new way; give me something I can feel, and look at, and have evolving thoughts and feelings about over time.

So yeah. I think maybe someone else should lead the discussion...

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