Ann Patchett’s collection of essays is at its best when Patchett writes about writing. Her passion for her craft is evident but its difficulties are not glossed over or romanticized. She talks about her process and the path she took to publication.
When Patchett, in a later essay, shares her experience as co-owner of an independent book store in Nashville, TN, she learns about the process of actually selling books to readers. Anyone with illusions of making millions (or even an income) on self-published titles… take note. Writing and selling books is a complicated and time-consuming business that requires a lot of work. Attempting to circumvent the publishing industry is, in my opinion, a mistake. Patchett has some very insightful things to say on the importance of hard work, publishing support, and an author’s role in selling his or her work. W
Patchett’s closing essay on some nuns, a piece on RVing, her dog and other such frivolities did not hold my attention. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post put it well, “… you can take the writer out of the women’s magazines, but you can’t always take the women’s magazines out of the writer.”
Summing up: I like her fiction a great deal more than her non-fiction, but both are worthwhile reading. Get them from your local library or independent book store.