From The New Yorker “Briefly Noted” of 27 June 2011: New Books by David McCullough and Ann Patchett

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the “Briefly Noted” section of The New Yorker (27 June 2011):

  • Ann Patchett’s new novel,  State of Wonder:  ” …  Marina Singh, a scientific researcher, travels to the Amazonian jungle to find out how a friend and colleague died there.  She must also complete her dead colleague’s assignment:  persuade Annick Swenson, a brilliant scientist and Singh’s medical school mentor, to yield up a fertility drug that she has been developing, derived from a tree whose bark allows women of an indigenous tribe to bear children into old age.” (What woman in her right mind would want to bear children “into old age”?  Is any woman that crazy ??? But, anyhoo, for those blog readers in the Stanford vicinity, Patchett is one of three visitors to the Stanford University Creative Writing Series, which kicks off Oct. 10 with a reading by poet Mary Oliver.  Patchett’s reading follows in the winter.  Martin Amis comes in the spring)
  • David McCullough’s history of nineteenth century American painters who came under the spell of Paris, The Greater Journey:   “McCullough’s story is driven by mood rather than by drama.  Yet heroes do emerge:  the foreign minister Elihu Washburne, who protected civilians during the Franco-Prussian War, and the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the star of the book’s final chapters, whose best work was created in Paris and, marking the book’s principal theme, lives on in the public spaces of America.”  (Sold!  Even before reading about the book’s subject, self was sold.  She loves reading anything by historian David McCullough, one of the finest American writers)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.