Ann Patchett and Nikole Hannah-Jones reveal the influences behind their new books


Hello and welcome to the LA Times Book Club newsletter.

Like many of us, Anne Patchett has thought a lot about how the pandemic has changed his life and his ideas about work.

“I really don’t think I need to go anywhere anymore,” she said.

For the bestselling novelist and owner of an independent bookstore, that means booking tours without boarding passes or security lines at the airport. Everything is happening via Zoom for the foreseeable future. Maybe forever.

Eudora Welty didn’t go anywhere. Emily dickinson hasn’t gone anywhere, ”Patchett said in a new interview from his Nashville home. “The value of my life is that I can write books, and I’m going to have a lot more written in my house – and I have a big imagination.”

This is good news for book club readers who will meet Patchett – virtually – on December 9.

From 6:00 p.m. PST, the author of “The Dutch House” and “Bel Canto” will be in conversation with the Times columnist Steve lopez about his new book, “These Precious Days”.

In this captivating collection of essays, Patchett reflects on literary influences as diverse as children’s novelist and short story writer Welty Kate dicamillo and designer Charles M. Schulz. She recounts her year without shopping and a pandemic-inspired quest to get rid of the world’s possessions. The title essay of the book is the story of an unexpected friendship with Sooki Raphael, the personal assistant of Tom hanks, and a connection forged in isolation from Raphael’s cancer treatment and the pandemic.

“I’m an introvert,” says Patchett. “And I’m an introvert who works from home. So I feel like I’ve trained for this my whole life. Tell me I can’t leave my house? Oh yeah, I’m gonna be fine with this.

Our December Book Club will be streamed live on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Register on Eventbrite for tickets and autographed books.

What would you like to ask Ann Patchett? Email your questions to [email protected]

PS Ahead of the book club party, we invited Patchett to share some of his favorite photos. She replied with this gallery of his bookstore dogs.

Ann Patchett and the bookstore dog, Sparky.

(Heidi Ross)

Truth in power

In another insightful book club interview this month, the columnist LZ Granderson speak with Nikole hannah jones about his journey to publish “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” in book form.

“I’ve learned that power doesn’t show what it’s going to do,” says Hannah-Jones. “He’s not signaling what he’s going to do. It silently moves backstage and makes an impact, then once it’s all figured out, it announces itself.

The New York Times Magazine originally published Hannah-Jones’ work in 2019 as a series exploring “the unprecedented impact of African slavery on the development of our country and its continued impact on our society” , she writes. The stories sparked debate and news classroom programs, and became part of the national discourse as the nation grappled with police murders George floyd, breonna taylor and other black Americans.

The anthology “The 1619 Project” hit bookstores on November 16th. Hannah-Jones will join us on November 30 for a conversation with the editor of The Times Kevin Merida at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Best-selling author Terry mcmillan and winner of the LA Times Book Award Nafissa Thompson-Spiers will also join the Ideas Exchange / Book Club event to read their “Project 1619” stories.

The in-person event is sold out but virtual tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Additionally, educators in Southern California can access next week’s event to share the discussion with students. Teachers and professors can email [email protected]

Kevin Merida and Nikole Hannah-Jones frame the cover of his book "The 1619 project."

(James Estrin; One World; Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

We can teach you this

December 2: how to wrap gifts like a pro. Grab your favorite drink (and a friend) and join the staff at The Times Taylor Le, Faith Pinho, Laura Nelson and Samantha Melbourneweaver for a creative and fun evening to learn how to wrap beautiful gifts. Our elves are ready to unlock their secrets and show you how to improve your gifting game this holiday season, whether it’s sustainable packaging or wrappers that turn holiday gifts into little masterpieces. artwork. Register now.

January 11: How to take control of your money in 2022. The Times’ Utility Journalism Team Associate Editor, Jessica roy, will lead this practical session We can teach you what will help you manage your money in the New Year. Roy, who is launching a newsletter in January on personal finance for ordinary people, will help you start making a budget that you will actually use, share tips for spending less money, and show you how to make a plan to pay off your debt. . Register now.

Ask a reporter - Marcus Yam

ICYMI: Times photographer and foreign correspondent Marcus Yam discussed his recent mission to Afghanistan during an Ask a Reporter conversation hosted in partnership with Arizona State University. One of the few journalists in Kabul as the Taliban rose to power and US forces retreated, Yam recounted refugee evacuations, an American drone strike that mistakenly killed civilians and stories of hidden women. At November 10, Yam joined the foreign and domestic editor of The Times Jeffrey Fleishman to the new Central California ASU. Watch the event on Youtube.

Thanks for reading this Los Angeles Times newsletter. Invite your family, friends and colleagues to register here and join our community book club.

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