I will be blogging at length about these two books shortly, but for now, just a “Wee WHIRL”:

(And you all know by now that WHIRL stands for “What Have I Read Lately”, right?)

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett:

I know this novel is getting lots of positive critical reviews, but I have to say, I was…underwhelmed.  I loved Bel Canto, the last Patchett book I read, and I was looking forward to her latest, but I found it rather lackluster and disappointing.   The story is about a woman who goes to the Amazon to investigate her company’s investment in a drug that will allow women to bear children into their old age.  Patchett raises many questions through multiple themes, one being the morality of scientific experiments, but I felt like she was forcing issues rather than authentically exploring them.  Stay tuned for a longer review, but meanwhile feel free to weigh in with your own opinion.

Nemesis by Philip Roth:

This is one of the best books I’ve read all summer.  I loved it, and now I want to read the three that precede it in its group, “Nemeses”:  Everyman, Indignation, and The Humbling.  This most recent novel from Roth tells the story of one summer in 1944 in Newark, when the local boys were either off fighting WWII or home awaiting a different kind of enemy, but one that was just as deadly:  polio.  This is such a thought-provoking book: it raises all sorts of existential questions.  I will blog at length about it shortly, but I want to say here that I highly recommend it.

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