Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ann Patchett in the New York Times

I love author Ann Patchett.  It would be more correct, but less romantic, to say that I love her writing.  I also love that she is a co-owner of a real bookstore.

I love the New York Times.  No other newspaper in this country is at its level (though the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal cover politics and business, respectively, extremely well).

When Ann Patchett writes an op-ed piece in the New York Times, there is reason to read.  Ms. Patchett justly writes of her disappointment with the failure of the Pulitzer Prize board to name a winner of its fiction prize for this year, despite the selection of three finalists by the Pulitzer jury.

Please read the entire article.  But if you don't have time ...

Let me underscore the obvious here: Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps. 

Unfortunately, the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards, which, by the way, is not an institution devoted to choosing the best movie every year as much as it is an institution designed to get people excited about going to the movies. The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost.

I would also wish to note that in her selection of Pulitzer-worthy novels, Ms. Patchett included Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang.  Mr. Wilson will appear at the Decatur Library on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:15 p.m., hosted by Georgia Center for the Book.

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