|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Summer Reading Week: Life After A Best Seller
It's Summer Reading Week at Oprah.com! This week we're profiling the writers and books that you love, as well as some unexpected tidbits about all things literary. Today's homage: Ann Patchett's new bookstore.
All of us have wondered, at one time or another, what it would be like to try a different profession—maybe without giving up the one we've already got. This week the Los Angeles Times reported that writer Ann Patchett—the genius behind this summer's beloved and bestselling novel State of Wonder—has just announced she's opening up her own bookstore in her hometown of Nashville. "I see this as a gift to the city," Patchett said. "Not as an investment, not as a smart business move, but really as somebody who loves Nashville..."
We chatted with Patchett about the nitty gritty of owning a store—from managing two careers to interviewing in-store pets.
Oprah.com: What kind of books do you want to feature: the classics? Modern fiction? Do you have something unexpected or quirky that you'd love to put on that front table or in its own section?
Ann Patchett: I'm an equal opportunity bookseller, though I will admit I despise furious political nonfiction built on rumors and mean-spiritedness. I'd like to not sell any of those. I certainly will want a little table of books I love and love to recommend, like Edith Pearlman's short stories, and Jeanette Haien's tiny and utterly perfect novel, The All of It, and, of course Moss Hart's autobiography, Act One. I'm just broken-hearted that I've already read Act One. It makes me feel better to think that other people are reading it.
Oprah.com: Are there any writers who you'll try to sell who are favorites of yours but who are less well known?
Ann Patchett: May I mention Halldor Laxness's Independent People? It is the great novel of Iceland. It's not for everyone. If you don't love the first 30 pages, stop reading it. But if you have a fondness for sheep and coffee and bleak, stealth humor, there's nothing better. The best reason to have a bookstore is that Kevin Wilson's novel The Family Fang is coming out in August and it's genius. I plan to make it a store requirement that every customer must buy a copy of The Family Fang.
Oprah.com: How will you keep your balance, day-to-day?
Ann Patchett: I have a tremendously competent partner named Karen Hayes. What I bring to the deal is money--writing novels and checks are my two real talents--and publicity. I won't be ordering, selling, or setting up chairs at readings....oh, and I'll write books, and we'll sell those in the store.
Oprah.com: Do you think you'll have a cat or a dog in the store? Ann Patchett: My dog is almost 16 and she doesn't walk anymore and she's deaf, so she'd be a sort of perfect store dog because she can't run away and she sleeps through everything. On the other hand she sheds like crazy and she is lukewarm on the subject of children (though she has never bitten anyone, ever.) Since I don't plan to work in the store it seems harsh to make my poor old dog go to work. Would she have to take the bus? We may be interviewing for the store dog position.
We at Oprah.com vote for the dog!
Please note that Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities have no affiliation with and do not endorse those entities, projects, or websites referenced above, which are provided solely as a courtesy. You should conduct your own independent investigation before using the services of any such entities, projects, or websites. Information is provided for your reference only.