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Frederick Reads

This Year's Author: Ann Patchett

Frederick Reads


Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 17 at 3:30pm, Conversation about Frederick Reads Author Ann Patchett’s Essays, Frederick Community College, L201.

Thursday, March 19 at 7pm, Book Discussion: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Hood College, Beneficial-Hodson Library. Free.

Monday, March 23 at 7pm, Ann Patchett Interviewed by Maureen Corrigan, Weinberg Center for the Arts. Free. 

Tuesday, March 24 at 11am, Ann Patchett hosts a discussion and Q&A about her works. Frederick Community College, JBK Theater. Free.

Social Media for Ann Patchett

Essays by Ann Patchett

Essays by Ann Patchett

Books by Ann Patchett


Questions for Reflection and Discussion


  1. In her essay “The Wall,” Ann Patchett writes about her father’s former job as the Los Angeles Chief of Police and expresses empathy for police officers. Her curiosity about Los Angeles police prompted her to train for and complete a grueling police academy entrance exam for the city. What factors do you see as important to motivating a person to learn more about a subject and complete an important goal?
  2. “The Wall” is not only an essay about goal completion, but also persistence. As Patchett demonstrates, persistence often requires endurance to combat fatigue and self-doubt. What do you admire most about her journey in “The Wall,” and how have you or someone close to you persisted against great odds?
  3. Sometimes, the best lessons in our lives can be gleaned from reflecting on what we learned from our most challenging moments, and Patchett acknowledges this truism in her essay “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” which describes her journey toward self-actualization by becoming a writer. Her journey wasn’t easy, and she experienced numerous obstacles along the way. How do you see setbacks and disappointments as having a potentially positive effect on achievement? Provide evidence to support your thinking. 
  4. Patchett is among a long list of American writers whose literary work has come under fire by censors. In her address to Clemson University students in 2006, Patchett makes a strong argument that censorship insults the intelligence of autonomous thinkers, particularly in democratic nations that protect free expression. After reading her essay, evaluate the evidence she uses to support her argument. Do you agree or disagree that young people should be allowed to make up their own minds about socially challenging literary and artistic works? Explain your reasoning.  
  5. Much of Patchett’s writing emphasizes the relationship between reading and the broadening of our thinking. Discuss the importance of reading in your own life and the writers or literary works that have opened your mind to new ideas. 
  6. In her essay, “The Love Between Two Women is Not Normal,” Patchett describes the impact of a friend on her life, as well as the lasting power of a meaningful friendship. She also explains how writing about her friend, Lucy, helped her both confront and heal her grief after Lucy’s death. Have you ever used writing as a way to understand or overcome a difficult experience? If so, what did you learn through the process? 
  7. Ann Patchett opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee after the city lost its two bookstores. In interviews and her own writing about the subject, Patchett discusses how bookstores provide value to communities. What do you think is lost when a bookstore or library is forced to close? 
  8. If you could ask any question of Ann Patchett, what would it be? 
  9. In her introduction to the Best American Short Stories of 2006, Patchett discusses what she looks for in a short story and the elements that every good story needs to captivate readers. What makes a book or story worth reading for you? 
  10. The 2015 Frederick Reads theme of “Wonder: Escape the Ordinary” encourages Frederick County residents to consider aspects of life that fill us with a sense of wonder in the midst of our daily lives. What has been a source of wonder for you in your own life? 

Events and Book Discussions

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 17 at 3:30pm, Conversation about Frederick Reads Author Ann Patchett's Essays, Frederick Community College, L201..
Ann Patchett’s essays “The Wall” and “The Right to Read: The Clemson Convocation Address of 2006” ask readers to consider themes of persistence and achievement in our personal and formal education. What happens when we face unexpected obstacles? What do we do when our goals change, or when we fall short of them? Join us for a cross-disciplinary conversation that asks these questions and others, and invites perspectives from FCC students.

Thursday, March 19 at 7pm, Book Discussion: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Hood College, Beneficial-Hodson Library. Free.
Join us to discuss writings on love, friendship, and art, as part of Frederick Reads “Season of Wonder.” Participate in a lively discussion before the author comes to town. For more information visit the events Goodread site.

Monday, March 23 at 7pm, Ann Patchett Interviewed by Maureen Corrigan, Weinberg Center for the Arts. Free. 
Best-selling author Ann Patchett is the keynote speaker for the 10th anniversary season of Frederick Reads. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME in 2012, Patchett will be interviewed by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan on-stage.

Tuesday, March 24 at 11am, Ann Patchett hosts a discussion and Q&A about her works. Frederick Community College, JBK Theater. Free. 
Best-selling author Ann Patchett will visit JBK Theater at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 for a discussion of her literary works and a book signing. Patchett comes to FCC as a featured Frederick Reads visiting author, and her talk will complement the 2015 Frederick Reads theme, “A Sense of Wonder.”

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