Author Ann Patchett tells why she decided to open what has become a highly successful independent bookstore in Nashville:

…all things happen in a cycle, I explained — the little bookstore had succeeded and grown into a bigger bookstore. Seeing the potential for profit, the superstore chains rose up and crushed the independents, then Amazon rose up and crushed the superstore chains. Now that we could order any book at any hour without having to leave the screen in front of us, we realized what we had lost:  the community center, the human interaction, the recommendation of a smart reader rather than a computer algorithm telling us what other shoppers had purchased.

…my luck has made me believe that changing the course of the corporate world is possible. Amazon doesn’t get to make all the decisions:  the people can make them by how and where they spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book.

This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it.

– excerpted from The Bookstore Strikes Back, from her collection of essays, This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage

Patchett is an easy writer to read and this collection of essays will draw you into her world of insightful reflection and determination. And there’s even a thoughtful one about the passing of her dog Rosie and  successor Sparky who, along with bookselling partner Karen Hayes, helps run Patchett’s bookstore, Parnassus.

The full essay can be found here at The Atlantic.

You can also listen to Terry Gross interview her on Fresh Air – her voice drove me to the book…

So – what are you reading this weekend?

Parnassus Bookstore Grand Opening 11/19/11Ann Patchett at Parnassus, her bookstore in Nashville TN
photo via CNN

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