Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ann Patchett Book Hour at the Public Library Association Conference

The snow storm in Indianapolis has not materialized. Starting around 9:15 a.m., I saw flurries out my window, and snow was still swirling at 12:15 p.m., but there has been no accumulation. Still, the wind and weather upset air traffic, and Ann Patchett arrived about 50 minutes late from Nashville for her Ann Patchett Book Hour program. PLA staff provided an entertaining impromptu quiz show to fill the gap, but some people bailed before the bookstore owner/author arrived. Remarkably, many stayed and enjoyed hearing Patchett push books that she did not write.

I saw Patchett do this type of program last summer the ALA conference in Chicago. She had a different list of books then and prefaced with different personal stories. She was again entertaining, and I came away wanting to read titles that I had not considered. I will go to hear her a third time if the opportunity arises.

Like in Chicago, Patchett passed out a postcard identifying her Nashville bookstore Parnassus Books and ten books that she wanted to promote. The titles are as follows:

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Men We Reap by Jesmyn West
Act One by Moss Hart

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Dirty Love by Andre Dubus
Fools of Fortune by William Trevor
Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

After printing the cards, Patchett decided that she also wanted to tell us about two books by Joan Wickersham, Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order (nonfiction) and News from Spain: Seven Variations of a Love Story (fiction).

My favorite part of the program was the latter part when Patchett fielded questions from the audience. She told about researching State of Wonder in the rainforest, enjoying her mother's books, and picking out their dog Sparky, who is on the postcard.

Patchett also spoke about the importance of the right book that a person will appreciate at the time you offer it. It was a program worth the wait.

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