Plug: Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder

I still have about 25 pages to read, but I am officially plugging Ann Patchett’s novel State of Wonder. The book was sitting on my bedside table for weeks but didn’t excite me, probably because the cover is kind of nondescript and the title just didn’t evoke much–innocence, childhood, maybe science? Then a friend said she was reading a novel about a single woman who travels to the Amazon and I thought, perfect.

Thank you google images

Thank you google images

The book is just beautifully done. It has elements of magical realism, a la Karen Russell’s Swamplandia, but since I know that book annoyed a lot of people don’t take that as your main comparison. Perhaps I should say the book has elements of the otherworldly, and while it seems to be making a statement about primitivism–one might argue that it’s a bit reductive in its portrayal of Amazonian tribes of Indians–I am fascinated by the people that Dr. Marina Singh encounters on her journey. So much about it is surprising, unexpected. I realized about 50 pages ago that I had no idea what was going to happen, and as we all know, if you can’t wait to find out, that makes for a page-turner!

You may recall I mentioned Patchett’s Truth and Beauty as one of my Must-Read Memoirs way back when.

Well, folks, it’s the last day to vote in the Medium Short Fiction Contest, where my story “Shunyata” is an entry. As my sister in law said, I do wish it weren’t a popularity contest, but there you have it. I have been pretty popular; my story, about love lost and spirituality found, hit the #2 slot on Saturday but this morning is back around #5. Top three get read and judged by an agent and the prize is $2,012. Every vote really does count, and today is the last day to vote, and if you haven’t and you’re so inclined…well, I’m very grateful.

Here’s to reading in the new year!

Also:

http://bit.ly/WVC0eC

http://nyti.ms/VeKqg3

NaBloWriMo?

Alright, sue me—I’m messing around with the idea of a “national blog writing month.” I have a good friend who is doing NaBloWriYe, a whole year of daily posts. She reports she’s feeling bored and uninspired with a few months to go. I love blogging, but the imperative to blog every day might do me in.

But is anyone doing NaNoWriMo? If so, share–unless you have realized, probably correctly, that any time you spend looking at blogs or Facebook would be better spent reaching your goal of 57,000 words, or whatever it is–and thus, are not reading. We excuse you: go write!

I for one have never participated in National Novel Writing Month, and am not this year, either. Some day I hope to have a novel in me, but I’m not rushing it.

It’s Monday, and I do have a plug, but I also wanted to share the nice news that popcorntheblog was Freshly Pressed last week. One thing I have come to love about blogging, and WordPress in particular: it feels like if you’re posting good stuff you stand the chance of getting picked up for FP and increasing your readership in just a few days. Popcorn being Freshly Pressed was a wonderful boost, since all the women in the collective care so much about the project. Thanks, WordPress.

In full disclosure, my plug this week is for a book written by my uncle, Jeffrey Blount. It’s a young adult novel called Hating Heidi Foster, a story of friendship, loyalty, and grief. Just out.

You can download Hating Heidi Foster as an e-book or snatch it up on Amazon, though it looks like you should buy soon: only five copies left! (I’m sure there will be more.) I read this book in the manuscript stage and am thrilled to see it’s reached print.

Great cover, too.