Inspiring talk

Last night, I was lucky enough to attend Ann Patchett‘s talk as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series. I sat at the end of the front row, with CART in front of me. Ann bypassed the podium and spoke standing on a rug in the middle of the stage. She was a wonderful extemporaneous speaker who had the audience enthralled and laughing throughout.

Perhaps more than her books, what Ann is most proud of is opening an independent bookstore in her hometown of Nashville. Parnassus Books filled a void when the big booksellers left. But more than that, it’s brought the community together.

Addressing the theater, Ann said, “You’re here because you’re all readers.” When we read a book we love, we don’t throw it away. We want to share it with others, which may be one of the best things about reading. Ann isn’t shy about telling people she disapproves of the books they’re holding. She doesn’t push books on people to make a buck, but to make sure they’re reading the right books.

Ann says Barnes & Noble is on its way out. Unfortunately, the main independent bookstore in Pittsburgh is over the river and through bridges and tunnels. Needless to say, we could use more independent bookstores. Afterward the talk, my friend and fellow book club member half jokingly said our book club should open one. Our book club’s name would work for the store, if you ask me: Booksburgh. Is that not perfect?!

As another friend and book club member said, “Now we just need a famous author to buy in!”