Ann’s Blog

Notes from Ann: Shelter

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I had meant to write a post about my adventures on book tour, but book tour just isn’t interesting anymore. A lot of things that seemed attention-worthy up until the evening of November 8th have fallen flat for me. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out what I should be doing now, today, in order to be helpful to my country and my community. I would like to be useful and loving. I would like to fill my toolbox with decency, kindness and respect, patience and bravery. You know, live by example. What to do? What to do? Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: The Read Harder Challenge

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I was talking to my friend Gail Vinett at Ingram Content Group — the distributor where the store gets a lot of our books — this week while I was there to sign 1,800 copies of Commonwealth. (Yes, eighteen hundred copies. Lucky me! Poor me! Take your pick.) Gail was there to keep me company and she told me that, along with her family — her husband in Nashville, a son in Auckland, and a daughter in Oakland — she was doing the Book Riot 2016 Read Harder Challenge. She said it was proving to be an excellent two-continent family bonding exercise. Because it takes a long time to sign 1,800 books, she had time to pull out her phone and started reading off the list. I got so into it! Read the rest of this entry »

“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 »