Read Like Ann Patchett & Kevin Wilson

By Angela Deckard and Shelby Toren, Branch Librarians

The big, sold-out On the Same Page event is almost here! On April 24, Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson will be taking the stage at the Covenant Fine Arts Center at Calvin University. You may be reading Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson’s books already, but here are some author-approved recommendations if you want to do a little extracurricular reading.

Both authors are voracious readers and live a literary life outside of writing: Ann owns Parnassus Books in Nashville and Kevin teaches fiction writing at Sewanee: The University of the South. Lucky for us, both writers are generous with their book recommendations.

If you want to read like Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson, here are a couple book recommendations from each author to keep you going.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King, opens a new window

On the Parnassus Books’ Instagram page, Ann Patchett says she recommended this book the most during the pandemic.

“Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she's been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more.” 

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, opens a new window

This extremely funny book about depression gripped Ann Patchett the way she always hopes to be engulfed by a story.

“Pushing away her devoted husband, a once-successful writer moves back into her bohemian childhood home, where she struggles to come to terms with the mental illness that has overshadowed her life.” 

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, opens a new window

This is the book that Kevin Wilson says he wishes he had written.

“Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs confront their pasts in this powerful story about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn, and how art and music have the power to redeem.” 

The Verifiers by Jane Pek, opens a new window

Kevin Wilson says he loves this book because it’s funny and sinister at the same time.

“Veracity, a two-and-a-half-person detective agency that operates out of a Manhattan townhouse and verifies people's online dating personas, has recruited Claudia via an online murder mystery game. A lifelong reader of mystery novels, Claudia takes to her new job sniffing out cheaters and catfishers like a latter-day lovechild of Elizabeth Bennet and Sherlock Holmes. But when one of her very first clients turns up dead, Claudia breaks with Veracity's protocols to investigate what happened, unconvinced by the story everyone else believes. The deeper she digs, the more she discovers that nothing--her client, the death, the dating platforms that claim to know us better than we know ourselves, Veracity, even her own family--may be as it seems.” 

We can’t wait to see Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson on Wednesday. Happy reading!