Book of the Month: State of Wonder

We here at Libro love bringing you a Book of the Month each month. We’ve had nonfiction books about psychology, health, science, and music. We’ve included fiction taking place in Seattle and the Italian coast. Each book has a unique experience, something to offer the listener—to enrich your life. Our October book is no exception.

This month’s book is another work of fiction, this time set deep in the Amazon rain forest: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

State of Wonder follows Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmacologist, on her quest to retrieve her old mentor, Dr. Swenson, from the Amazon. But Dr. Swenson is hiding more than just the malaria research she’s been working on.

Marina must battle poisonous snakes, showers of arrows, and her own body in her mission to bring back Dr. Swenson and her research. Marina’s job and love life are intertwined and therefore both are on the line, but perhaps more importantly, she wants to impress her old teacher, who doesn’t even remember her.

In the end she has many decisions to face, none of them easy.

The intricacy of Patchett’s characters are matched by her prose. Patchett’s description of the Amazon is compelling. It’s an overwhelming world of beauty and pestilence, chaos and natural order. She writes of the rain:

“Every drop of rain hit the ground with such force it bounced back up again, giving the earth the appearance of something boiling.”

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It’s these lush sentences that really bring the world to life, and lift listeners out of the dreariness of autumn in North America.

Patchett has taken many literary influences, added the rain forest and medical research and come up with a tale that is at times thrilling and at others deeply moving. It’s a compelling listen.

I’m especially pleased to pick this book not just because it’s great—though it is—but because Patchett is also the co-owner of Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, TN. As an author and bookstore owner, she’s an advocate of independent bookstores everywhere.


State of Wonder is our Book of the Month. Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the conversation!

Written by

Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson

Mark is a cofounder of Libro.fm. He lives in Seattle where he enjoys running in the rain, playing tennis when the sun makes an appearance, over and undercooking food, and reading The New York Times on paper.

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