Not a novel, but a collection of essays by Ann Patchett that have appeared in various publications such as Atlantic Monthly, Granta, Gourmet, Harper's, the New York Times, and Vogue, among others. If you like Ann Patchett’s books like I do, you will probably enjoy reading these mostly personal essays about her life, and the people who are most important to her. I listened to the book on CD, and the book is read by Patchett herself, so that by the end I kind of felt like I knew her. I think it's so great when the authors read their own books.
One of the best essays is about the bookstore that Patchett opened in her hometown of Nashville. After a beloved independent bookstore closed its doors a few years ago, Patchett and a partner made the decision to open their own bookstore, which was welcomed with open arms in Nashville and seems to be very successful today. There are essays about road trips she takes with her husband, her dog, her grandmother, her marriage, a nun who taught her in grade school and is today a good friend, about her love for opera (she was researching Bel Canto), about her early years as a writer, her unhappy first marriage, and about her tumultuous friendship with the late poet Lucy Grealy. She offers practical advice about writing which I think would be of interest to any aspiring writer. I really enjoyed the book, and getting to know Ann Patchett.