In her online blog, Ann Patchett muses, “If you ever want to make an author truly happy, tell her you’re reading books from her backlist. It’s natural to pay attention to shiny new books while the backlist of older, still wonderful, books are ignored on a back shelf somewhere, but doing so means risking missing out on titles that might be destined to become favorites.”
Ann Patchett’s backlist includes a collection of brilliant novels, non-fiction titles, essays, and several children’s books. Ms. Patchett has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Book Sense Book of the Year, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award, just to name a few. Anne’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, made into movies and TV programs, and have been translated into over thirty languages.
These Precious Days, a collection of essays released in 2021, is her most recent publication. In it, Ann invites readers to embrace life’s unpredictability and to allow themselves to be seen as their “best and most complete selves.” Her previous book, The Dutch House, is often described as a fairy tale, and you’ll also find in her backlist a memoir about a friendship, a novel about pharmaceutical research in the Amazon, and an exciting tale involving a terrorist attack and an opera singer in Ms. Patchett’s diverse repertoire.
Are you ready to discover all the work of Ann Patchett?
Who is Ann Patchett?
Ann was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1963. Following her parents’ divorce and mother’s subsequent remarriage, she relocated to Nashville, TN, where she has lived off and on ever since. She was educated at Sara Lawrence College in New York, the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The latter is where she wrote her first novel in 1992, The Patron Saint of Liars.
In addition to her many books, Ms. Patchett has written for various publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, Seventeen, GQ, Gourmet, and Vogue.
Even though her stories involve heavy subjects such as grief, divorce, and violence, human goodness always seems to shine through. You’ll struggle to find a true villain anywhere. Instead, you’ll find redemption, grace, and spiritual uplift tucked away inside sadness and difficulty.
“I have been accused of being a Pollyanna, but I think there are plenty of people dealing with the darker side of human nature, and if I am going to write about people who are kind and generous and loving and thoughtful, so what? In my life I have met astonishingly good people.”Ann Patchett
Ms. Patchett currently lives in Nashville with her husband. She owns a bookstore in town and has become a passionate advocate for local, independent bookstores.
Six Notable Books by Anne Patchett
These Precious Days, 2021
Ann Patchett wrote this collection of personal essays during the pandemic when her bookshop was closed, and she had all the time in the world to meditate on the things that matter most. The result is a charming book of essays written in Ann’s warm, distinctive voice on subjects ranging from the life-saving properties of knitting to her childhood memories of Paris and from her love of Snoopy to the vision of Eudora Welty.
These Precious Days is a book you will pick up time and time again whenever you need a taste of great writing and genuine wit and wisdom
The Dutch House, 2019
The Dutch House is like a fairy tale that follows a family over the course of 50 years through both joy and heartbreak. The dramatic and sometimes humorous story revolves around two siblings, Danny and Maeve, who are forced to rely solely on each other when their stepmother exiles them to poverty. The bond that forms both saves them and threatens their future.
The Dutch House is a suspenseful page-turner you’re certain to devour. And, while we are partial to paper books here at Discover Books, we would be remiss if we didn’t also recommend the audiobook version of The Dutch House, masterfully read by Tom Hanks.
When pressed, Ann lists Commonwealth as her favorite of all her books, and we think you’ll agree. This book is lightly autobiographical as it tells the story of four parents and six stepchildren and the genuine affection that grows between them. It is a situation that closely mirrors Ms. Patchett’s childhood. The story is both heartbreaking and humorous, as many family stories are.
State of Wonder, 2011
In this remarkable book, anacondas, cannibals, miraculous births, missing scientists, moral dilemmas, and complex relationships are set against the backdrop of the unforgiving Amazon jungle. Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmaceutical research scientist, is sent to the Amazon to find the missing Dr. Annick Swenson, her former mentor. No one knows where Dr. Swenson is, and another researcher has already died. What Marina finds on her quest changes everything. State of Wonder is a story you don’t want to miss.
Bel Canto, 2001
In an unnamed South American country, at the lavish home of the vice-president, a famous opera soprano prepares to sing as a birthday gift for a prominent Japanese businessman. Suddenly, terrorists break in and take the guests hostage. What happens next will astound you. Bel Canto is Ms. Patchett’s fourth book and the one that propelled her writing career, so much so that she often describes her life as before Bel Canto and after Bel Canto. The storytelling and writing are superb from beginning to end.
Truth & Beauty, 2004
This is a deeply personal memoir about Ann’s 20-year friendship with Lucy Grealy and what it felt like to be left behind after Lucy’s tragic death following a drug overdose. Truth & Beauty will speak tenderly to you if you’ve ever loved someone you cannot save.
Discover Anne Patchett
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