Historically April and May get a bit busy here in the swanky second-floor office in the pink house with the blue door, so when I saw this article about our local heroine Ann Patchett being nominated for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list (for 2012), I got pretty excited but failed to follow up.
(Patchett, you’ll recall, refused to live in a town—specifically Nashville, in which I do not live but which is, in ways large and small, also my town—that did not possess a for-real bookstore, so she and a business partner opened one. With brick-and-mortar bookstores crapping out right and left, this got a lot of attention, though some still think she’s a little crazy. But this is the South. Craziness is a tradition.)
The Guardian (among others) reported on the nomination:
To see herself sitting alongside politicians such as Obama and Angela Merkel made Patchett laugh, the author told her local paper, the Tennessean. “The humour of it is not lost on me,” she said. “If Beyoncé can get 30,000 votes, I’d like to have 30. I would like fellow Tennesseans to vote for me just so I’m not an embarrassment to the state. [But] I don’t think I am going to take Rihanna down on this one.”
Her nomination, though, shows “that people are taking independent bookstores seriously, and I have come to stand for something,” she said—namely, that community is important, and so is “feeling like we are not all being eaten alive by a giant corporation.”
So far, however, the public’s votes are not treating the literary novelist kindly. Patchett is languishing in 178th place in the poll, while [George R. R.] Martin sits at 16th, apparently more influential than Obama. [Suzanne] Collins is in 38th spot, just behind Amazon’s boss, Jeff Bezos.
I made the list because I opened a bookstore. So the next time someone tells you bookstores are dead or books are dead, just remember that the co-owner of your local independent bookstore got to go to an unspeakably fancy party with Hillary Clinton and Jeremy Lin and Rihanna and Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Dolan and 94 other influential people (not to mention all the influential people who won in the past and came back because the party is just that good) …
—but there’s room for one more congratulation. Well done, Ann.
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