Ann’s Blog

“None of it happened and all of it’s true” – Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth

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Photo by Heidi Ross
Ann Patchett in the back storeroom at Parnassus Books with her dog, Sparky (photo: Heidi Ross)

Those of us who work and shop at Parnassus Books have a unique perspective on Ann Patchett’s novels, because we witness their creation at somewhat close range. We’re here in the store when Ann comes in to pick up a stack of books she has ordered for research. We’re hanging around when she finishes a morning of writing and brings her pup Sparky over to run around the shop. We weigh in on characters’ names and book cover designs, and we celebrate when the manuscript has finally been turned in. But we’re not inside Ann’s head. We know some things about the story, but we don’t know all the ins and outs and whys and hows — unless, of course, we ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: The Hard Sells of Summer

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Karl and I went to Norway back in May. Ever the intrepid reporter, I was writing a piece for Conde Nast Traveler (it will be in the August issue), and I brought what I hoped would be the right number of books, but it didn’t work out. I ran out just before we left Oslo, and so Karl and I found a bookstore where I could get something to read on the plane. Read the rest of this entry »

Patrick Ryan Nails the Tricky Ending (and Tells Ann Patchett All About It)

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Patrick Ryan and I met in Italy in 1999 and have been pretty much inseparable ever since. What more do you need to know? He’s the brother I always wanted. Given the circumstances of our friendship (part of this book was written in my house), our regular author interviewer and Musing editor Mary Laura Philpott decided to take the day off and let me drive the interview bus. Here are the results of that conversation. – Ann Patchett Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Pick the 75 Best Books of the Past 75 Years?

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When Parade asked Ann Patchett to make a list of the best 75 books of the past 75 years to celebrate the magazine’s 75th anniversary, she initially responded, No way. Why? Because, she says, “I could picture the mountains of furious letters . . . about all the great works of literature I’d left off.” Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Ode to Joy

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(Still a work in progress, but already bringing book-lovers great joy.)

I loved dear Lindsay Lynch’s recent piece on the books that made her cry. Sometimes a good sob is just what a reader needs. Lindsay’s choices engendered a great deal of back office conversation among the staff at Parnassus. We reminisced about what books had caused us to mist up and what books made us cry so hard we couldn’t see the pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: True Story

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Let’s see if I can make this analogy work. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Late to the Party

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Some books make you think about childhood friends. Tavia Cathcart, Trudy Corbin, and Ann Patchett at St. Bernard Academy, Nashville, 1971

Somewhere in the middle of the second volume of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, I emailed my friend Beverly Lowry and asked her if she’d read the books. Beverly wrote back saying, “My life has not been the same since I read the last page of the fourth book. I even considered going immediately back to page one, book one. I was totally absorbed and in love with every word.” Read the rest of this entry »