Last Call: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Words from Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, PubCrawl’s Book of the Month. Image of piano used under the Creative Commons License.

In Bel Canto, fifty-eight international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds over one common language: music. Packed with magic realism and omniscient narration, Ann Patchett reveals a profound, shared humanity among the hearts and psyches of her characters.

Your turn: Did you ever choose one path instead of another because you thought it was all you were capable of?

And because it’s still technically part of our “PubCrawl Survived the Apocalypse” celebration, we’ve got a chance for you to win a copy of Bel Canto! Just use the rafflecopter widget below to enter, and be sure to answer the above question either in the comments, or on your own blog! This giveaway is US only and a winner will be drawn a week from today!

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17 Responses to Last Call: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

  1. Christina K. Jan 25 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I definitely have chosen one path because it was easier, mostly out of fear. And at school teachers and counselors sometimes tell you to do that to increase your chances at college acceptance, then employment later.

    Thank you:)

  2. Megan Duff Jan 25 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I choose the path of least resistance all. the. time. Sometimes to the point of “It’s time for dinner. I’m hungry. Food is all the way in the kitchen…or I could stay here on this couch and munch on carrots until I forget I’m hungry…”

    Yeah, it’s kind of a problem 🙂

  3. Erica Jan 25 2013 at 9:30 am #

    I find that now that I’m older, I’m more comfortable and confident in choosing a riskier path. I still pass things up out of fear, but I try not too. I’m still a work in progress. 😀

  4. Sooz Jan 25 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I totally chose the path of least resistance when I selected a major in college. Or rather I chose what I THOUGHT would be the easier path (it. so. wasn’t) because I was lazy and very, VERY scared of failure. In the end, it all worked out because I wouldn’t be where I am TODAY if I hadn’t made that one “easier” decision…But I’m lucky. There are many times in life when I wonder, “What if?”

    Also, BEAUTIFUL graphic, Erin. <3

  5. Delia Jan 25 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Oh yes. I chose the path of stable employment because I didn’t believe I was good enough at the subject I was passionate about: writing. In retrospect, I was probably right. I wasn’t good enough. But it took a while to realize that the only way to get good enough was to pursue it relentlessly. Even then, if I’m doing it right, I will always believe I’m not good enough and I will always learn more and move forward. I wish I’d realized this sooner, but I’m happy that I realized it at all. 🙂

  6. JJ
    JJ Jan 25 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Erin, that’s so beautiful.

    I don’t ever regret any of the choices I’ve made in life (barring one: Googling “Friday” by Rebecca Black), I did end up majoring in English Literature because it was easy. (Also, I loved it. But it was easy.) The harder choice, I think, would have been taking the plunge and going to art school and majoring in Illustration.

  7. Jessi Jan 25 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I have chosen a path that was out of necessity, but it has given me the best possible results. I get to spend my day writing (for free) but at least it’s my WIP and not marketing work that I used to do!

  8. Alexa Y. Jan 25 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Yes! I’m particularly guilty of this during my time in college. I was always shying away from positions of leadership in my first three years, because I never felt worthy/responsible/adult enough to handle them. I regret that now because I know they would have been amazing experiences for me – and because the people who asked me to take them on must have seen or trusted something in me, and I should have put more faith in that.

  9. Heather Marsten Jan 25 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Wow, powerful question re paths. Growing up in a home filled with child abuse I bought into my father’s statement to me the first time he molested me, “You’re so stupid, dumb, and ugly, no man will want to marry you unless you put out. I’m going to teach you to put out.” I was seven years old when he said this to me. Most of my life I believed I didn’t fit in, was stupid, dumb, and ugly. I took the back seat in situations, was afraid to step out and be seen or known for anything positive, and was afraid to do many things for fear of having his statement of me proved true. Sadly, I also believed the putting out and it took years of therapy to gain the self respect to realize that I didn’t have to compromise myself to please others. Mostly I act more positive now, but I’m still afraid to be spontaneous and some situations try my self-confidence. Funny how a word or a sentence can stick so long and do such damage. Praying your day is blessed. HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  10. sydneysage Jan 25 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Totally I wanted to be a musical actress but unfortunately Im not talented enough to pursue such career so I ended up studying history.

  11. Sylvia Jan 25 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    So, weirdly enough, I wanted to go into mortuary sciences. But, there are only a handful of colleges that offer this line of study, and my parents were not about to let me go to any of them for varying reasons (I’d lived a very sheltered life). So, instead of fighting for it, I went the path of least resistance and ended up going to a good college and getting a degree in Latin because I liked it and was good at it. Though, I still think of what life would be like at the moment if I were a funeral director… Very different, I’m sure 🙂

  12. JQ Trotter Jan 25 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Yes, sadly I have done that… Even though I knew since middle school I wanted to become a writer, I had heard from so many people that those who major in Creative Writing or English never get jobs after college. So I figured I should major in something else — just in case the whole writing things didn’t work out, then I could have a fall back plan. Of course, if I had really been thinking I would have picked something more in demand like a business degree. Instead I double majored in Political Science & International Studies because AP Government was my second best subject in high school (after AP English). While I enjoyed both majors, they weren’t really helpful in landing my job. I didn’t think I was capable enough to be successful with a Creative Writing or English degree. Now I really wish I had majored in one of them — just for the experience.

  13. Kate Jan 25 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    I don’t really choose the easier paths, because I love a challenge. Even if I end up not doing very well, I’m still grateful for the experience. 🙂

  14. Marni Jan 26 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Yes, I have chosen a path over another and it actually turned out for the better. Coming out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life but knew if I did nothing that I’d end up with nothing but a headache. I had tried a couple classes at the local community college and didn’t see where it was taking me so I joined the military. It was the best 10 years of my life. I traveled, met my husband and his wonderful son, had three gorgeous children and to this day still stay in touch with several friends I had made while in the military.

  15. Alyssa Jan 28 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I’ve taken the path of least resistance a few times in my life, and it’s actually a habit I’m still trying to break. I’m WAY too hard on myself, so that niggling feeling of “I’m not good enough” is often in the back of my mind, at my job and while writing and when taking any kind of risk. I just have to remind myself that I’ll never actually know if I’m good enough unless I put myself out there, and the only way to get good enough is to keep trying.

    One of my biggest regrets is turning down a work study opportunity when I was a senior in high school. I was one of only a handful of students who were selected, and I turned it down because I was scared and I thought it would be too hard, but it probably would have opened a lot of doors for me, and I would have gained valuable experience. I really wish I hadn’t shied away from it.

  16. Andrea Jan 28 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Like others, I’ve occasionally chosen the path of least resistance (For example, like Sooz, my major in college), but that was always more because I was indecisive about which direction to go in. If there’s some path I really want to travel on, I will do everything I can to follow it, no matter the terrain.

    The quote reminds me of another one that goes, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

    BEL CANTO sounds amazing (no pun intended). I wholly believe that music can bring everyone together. It’s a way of communicating that everyone can understand. So I’m incredibly interested to see how Ann Patchett pulls it off.

  17. Emily Jan 31 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I have a habit of not choosing the easy path. I make things FAR more difficult than they really need to be. I don’t think it’s really a conscious choice so much as it is an instinct of mine. I think if I were to stop and think about choices to be made, I might make different choices because it’s all I think I’m capable of, but I’m also a risk-taker so perhaps not.

    I’m reading Bel Canto for a class this semester! So when I read it was your book of the month I got really excited to read it!

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