Read My Mind

Ann Patchett’s latest novel, “State of Wonder”, is one of the summer’s bestselling books and it is getting rave reviews as well. So I have a confession. I have never read an Ann Patchett book before this summer. I now know why. I read “State of Wonder” because it was assigned reading for a course I am taking. And I guess I am in the minority of the reading world, because I didn’t exactly love it ; in fact, I found it a bit of struggle to finish it. But like I said, it seems I am in the minority on that.
However, I attended a luncheon  recently where Ann Patchett was the speaker and special guest. I have to say she is now one of my favorite authors I have ever heard speak on books, writing books and any number of other topics. She was charming and witty- a pure delight. Her insights into “State of Wonder” actually motivated me to finish the book – the last 70 ages or so were spellbinding – if not controversial.

Here are a few fun facts I learned about the writing of  one of this  summer’s hottest novels.

The name of the Amazon tribe in Patchett’s book, the Lakeshi,  is named for her favorite breakfast cereal, Kashi. Patchett explained at this luncheon that her dislike of people thinking they can just google anything on the internet and find the answer inspired her to create the fictious name. 

Patchett swore she doesn’t want Hollywood to come calling and snatch up the rights to this book, yet she  still admitted she sent a copy of the book to Meryl Streep. ( She would make a good Marina!)

 Patchett did go to the Amazon and she did have an encounter with an anaconda while on a boat. and according to Patchett, anacondas really, really stink.

The character of Easter also has a fun creation story. Someone asked Patchett to include a deaf or mute character in a book without having the book be about the deafness. She also simply wanted to name a character after a holiday as another author had done with a character named Valentine.  She decided St. Patrick’s Day was a bad idea and went with Easter.

So… now I am wondering how many Beliefnet readers out there have read  “State of Wonder’ and what do you think of it? Or did my bits of trivia make you consider adding it to your summer reading list?

Typos in publishing are, of course, a never-ending source of comedy, but I particularly liked this commentary over at Huffington Post about Kevin Salwen’s  musings on Amazon, Kindle and typos in tne Bible. Well, at least certain editions of the Bible. And then he got a crazy idea: “What would be the worst typo a publisher could drop into a Bible anyway, I wondered?”

His friends come up with some pretty good answers  from “Thank the Lard” to “Honor they mother and thy lather.” So,  just for fun I ask Beliefnet readers the same  question. Leave your answer in the comment box below!

My time writing for Beliefnet has been long – well, by internet standards anyway- and
varied.  I have grown as a writer even as Beliefnet has grown and gone through numerous changes over the years.  It’s been an enjoyable platform for me to share my views on anything and
everything from movies to television to pop culture trends.

Now I am starting yet another Beliefnet adventure, this time writing a new blog about a timeless
passion of mine, the written word.  I wanted to start a blog that would not only have book reviews and author news but would also  provide a place to discuss favorite words of inspiration or chat with readers about the latest bestselling book in our own little online book club. From time to time , I may also reflect – or rant – on other book-related topics as well.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I plan to give away lots of free stuff? I do.  I plan to give away advance copies of books, copies of the favorite book titles on my shelf, and provide you with tips on where to find the best free downloads to read on the  electronic device of choice.

I invite you to turn the page with me in this latest chapter of my writing journey and read along. In the process, I hope you will invite me to read your thoughts and join in your journey as well.