10 June 2011

Ann Patchett Smokes Crack? What?!

Okay, no, not really! But read on to understand what made me say that...

There are many reasons that I love my job, but one of them is the opportunity it provides to spend time with fabulous authors.  Today I drove out to Arlington, MA, to the NEIBA offices to meet up with Diana, my coworker; Anne DeCourcey, my Harper sales rep; and Ann Patchett, an Orange Prize winner and the author of State of Wonder, which released just three days ago in the US. 

Diana and I, along with a few other people on the Odyssey staff, read Patchett's book months ago and simply fell in love with it and unanimously decided to make it our June selection for our signed First Editions Club (you can see what I wrote earlier about it here).  Which is why, then, Diana and I spent the day in Arlington getting books signed.  Ann signed books for us for about an hour, then she signed books for other indie bookstores for another hour or so, and during the course of signing those 700+ books, the four of us chatted about all kinds of things: travel, the demise of Gourmet magazine, opening a new bookstore in Nashville, crack...and the more arduous aspects of conducting her Stone Cold Sober Book Tour.

Never a big drinker to begin with (she confessed that anything more than a single glass of wine would leave her asleep at the dinner table), she recently has developed a rather serious alcohol allergy.  As in anaphylactic shock allergy.  As in "carry an epi-pen or trache me with a steak knife," to use Ann's own, somewhat more colorful phase.  This particular leg of her tour lasts another three weeks, visiting a different city each night.  A daunting prospect, to be sure, but all the more so without any kind of alcohol.  So somewhere along the line we collectively decided that perhaps crack should be her drug of choice, and Ann allowed that it might be good for morphing her reputation as a gracious and mild-mannered writer into something else entirely.  It was decreed that Anne DeCourcey shall tweet it, Diana shall Facebook it, and I shall blog it.  I wonder how long before it goes viral?

Anyway, enough of crack.  Ann is lovely--she's one of those bright and sophisticated and incredibly talented writers who could be very intimidating if they weren't so personable.  And she's passionate.  Passionate about her dog, her family, other writers, Gourmet magazine.  My husband, who has been a long time friend of Ann's, was roundly sorry that he couldn't join us for the day, but I suppose his ears were burning from time time, as he was an intermittent topic of conversation.  The story of how my husband met Ann is a good one, but alas, not one for me to tell here. 

The lovely Ann Patchett


  1. I'm a big Ann Patchett fan. Nice to hear she has a vice or two (even if it's imaginary). Can't wait to read her new book!

  2. Oh my gosh, I love her. I still haven't had time for Run, but I'll add this to my TBR list, too.

  3. Okay, now I'm really excited because State of Wonder arrived on my doorstep just the other day, and I'm about to start it.

  4. What a coincidence: I posted about this book today: http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/book-review-state-of-wonder-by-ann-patchett/

    Thanks for this wonderful story about meeting the author!


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