Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


February 7, 2012

The Book Shelf: ‘State of Wonder’: Complicated but intriguing

JACKSONVILLE — State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett

This is a beautifully written book with a complicated yet intriguing plot line.

A reclusive female scientist refuses to communicate the status of her research with the pharmaceutical company that has funded her.  She goes so far as to hire people to misdirect anyone who attempts to locate her or her research site in the Amazon jungle.

A fellow scientist is dispatched by the parent company to demand an update on the progress of the research, but nothing is forthcoming until a report is received that the man has died of a fever.  No details are provided.

His wife refuses to accept his death and demands someone be sent to clarify the circumstances.  Another scientist is dispatched at her insistence, a woman who had worked under the research scientist when in graduate school..  

Therein lies the rest of the tale.  The Amazonian jungle, its habitat, its dangers, its secrets, at first bring our city bred heroine to her knees.  An unwelcome guest at the jungle research center, she is barely tolerated by the staff and the native population.

Eventually gaining acceptance in all quarters, she comes to understand her mentorís reluctance to share her findings and the contradictions between science and ethics.  To quote the book jacket:

“In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss.  It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.”

This book is not an easy nor a quick read, but it is definitely worth the effort.  Anne Patchett is a new talent to me, although she has written several books.  Iíll definitely be searching the stacks for them.

A word of warning:  donít get lazy toward the end and start scanning. Youíll miss the punch of the surprise ending.

Text Only
  • deb - historic quilts.jpg Group preserves quilting tradition

    Inspired by unbounded imagination, generations of quilters have created history with thread and fabric, and now, local residents are adding to that history.
    “Quilting brings a richness to the family and community in a very tangible way,” said Jo Caraway, who hosts the Quilter's Guild of Cherokee County gathering every second Tuesday of the month in her Rusk-area home.

    October 21, 2013 2 Photos

  • Local reviews ‘Tomato Republic’

    On April 9, I had the privilege and pleasure of seeing the world premiere of The Tomato Republic, a documentary movie about the 2013 Jacksonville, Texas, mayoral election. The film was entered in the Dallas Film Festival within the Texas subjects division.

    April 15, 2014

  • “I am the resurrection and the life”

    For millions of believers throughout the world, Holy Week is considered the high point of the Christian year, because they recall the series of events in Jesus' life that began with a welcome embrace and ended with his death by crucifixion.

    April 12, 2014

  • 'Thespians ‘N Training’ group ready to sign up new talent

    TNT (“Thespians ‘N Training”) theatre arts camp will be offered for the 11th consecutive year by Cherokee Civic Theatre.  TNT 2014 will run July 14-26 at the historic Cherokee Theater.

    April 5, 2014

  • Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with tasty Irish treats

    A few years ago, my neighbors organized a St. Patrick's Day tea. They served all sorts of Irish goodies: tea cakes, shortbread, soda bread, scones. It was a tame celebration, but a tasty one.

    March 15, 2014

  • Cultivate your green thumb through container gardening

    Whether they're created using floral, vegetable or herbal plants, one thing is certain: Container gardening is a simple way to groom a green thumb.

    March 8, 2014

  • CuneyScene.tif Black History Month: Cuney - A town with black roots

    February is Black History Month, a time for some to reflect on their heritage. One such place worthy of remembrance is Cuney, Texas.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • posadas main LIV 12-14.tif Ois pido posada

    It's a centuries-old tradition, based on the scripture story of Mary's and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem.

    December 14, 2013 1 Photo

  • Birthday Special birthday celebration held at Angelina House

    Sadler was the guest of honor at a surprise party for his 30th birthday at Angelina House on Wednesday, an event coordinated by Angelina House Wellness Director Trachel Crow and residence sales manager Linzey Campbell.

    November 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • Help pets stay healthy this holiday season, too

    While Fido may be a pro at making big “feed me, I'm starving” eyes, animal care professionals remind people that sharing their Thanksgiving mean is more harmful than not.

    November 27, 2013