I've just finished the fantastic novel in this picture, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. I was given this by a friend for my birthday and I've been really looking forward to reading it. I've read Run and Bel Canto (her best known novel) already on the advice of the same friend, so I knew this would be a vivid read. Patchett has a gift for observation but also, here, for invention. The central character, Marina Singh, goes to the wilds of the Amazon to find out how a colleague, working for the same drug company, died. Patchett is always excellent at describing gestures and how they communicate feeling and mental state, as well as characters' own interior worlds. She does all that here, with the most incredible portrait of the Amazon and the tribe among which Singh finds herself. Patchett describes their appearance, customs and etiquette down to the most obscure and intimate details. Alongside this, the work of the researchers, doctors and scientists in the drug company in America and in the Amazon is convincingly described and thought-provoking too as Patchett considers women's fertility. This is a remarkable book. I did wonder if, being a non-scientist and, shamefully, pretty much a non-traveller, I'd enjoy this but I certainly did!
The other book is Jan Eaton's Ripple Stitch Patterns, one I'm browsing through because I want to crochet an outdoor, summer blanket. Having browsed some fab ones online, I'm thinking of using this book to make my own pattern. Has anyone got any tips for sites which show lovely crochet blankets? Always glad of inspiration!