Ann Patchett Recommends: Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
Lydia Peelle’s short story collection is small; it slipped past me unnoticed in 2009. It’s small, but now I see its might. The best service to this book is to share a perfect paragraph from the opening story:
"At night, when he is sure his father is sleeping, he sticks the phonograph needle in a rubber eraser and holds the eraser in his front teeth. Carefully, with his nose inches from the record, he sets the needle down. With a hiss and crackle, the music reverberates through the hollows of his mouth and throat without making a sound in the room. Ignoring the cramp in his neck, this is how he listens to his favorite records night after night. Wild with thoughts of Eula with her hair like oil. Her snake charming eyes. Her long, fine hands. How she teases him. He dreams he finds pieces of his heart in the boot scraper at her door."
Of Peelle’s stories, Ann Patchett wrote “[they are] so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics.” I couldn’t agree more.
Lydia Peelle’s stories are bitter tea cut with honey. They are embers glowing at the end of an evening. They are humid summer days giving way to star-filled nights. I’ll return to these stories and wish I were finding them for the first time. They are the perfect send-off to my summer series. Ann Patchett recommends Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, and so do I.
So proud to publish both of these writers, to share their beauty and genius with the world.
authors on authors
Isabel Gillies just picked STATE OF WONDER for the new book club at Yahoo Shine. Here’s what she had to say:
"One of life’s great pleasures is having a good book to read in the summer-but ironically, the summer, with kids out of school, BBQs, and long days at the beach making sure no one drowns, can be a challenging time to make space for reading. That is why you need a REALLY good book that demands you keep picking it up. ‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett is that kind of book. ‘State of Wonder’ is a gripping, beautifully written novel that from the very first page sweeps you into a world filled with adventure, a little mystery, juicy characters and complex human relationships. It reads like a memoir in that the protagonist’s voice is very strong and intimate-immediately you can relate to her and you care where she goes and what happens to her while she is there. And boy does she go on an adventure! Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist, is charged to find her old mentor Dr. Annick Swenson who is developing a fertility drug deep in the jungles of The Amazon. Heat, bugs, murky creature-infested waters, and an indigenous tribe of people whose women can have babies into their seventies. I think we will have a lot to talk about after reading this book, but I know that anyone who picks it up won’t be able to put it down, even with the sprinkler on and eleven kids in your back yard."