Award-winning author Ann Patchett wouldn’t divulge too many secrets about her upcoming Arts & Lectures talk at UCSB but said she hopes attendees leave understanding the importance of “good deeds.” Pachett’s own good deeds to the literary world are many. Her Santa Barbara visit comes on the heels of her recently released third nonfiction book — she has also written six novels — titled This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. And in 2011, she opened Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee. Although many have forecasted a grim future for books, Patchett disagreed. “People in general are finally starting to understand that you have to support the things that you want to see live.”
The importance of commitment runs rampant in Happy Marriage, which assembles 22 nonfiction pieces Patchett has written over the years. In the titular story, she explores her long-term relationship with her now-husband, Karl, and how a health scare put their relationship on paper. In “This Dog’s Life” and “Dog without End” — surely to be the most affecting stories for the dog lovers out there — Patchett delves into the all-consuming love she felt for her dog Rose. Those two stories are familiar ones — human meets dog, dog warms human’s heart, young dog becomes old dog, and sadness ensues — but are touching all the same. “It’s so mundane in a way,” Patchett said. “If you’ve got dogs, you’ve had that experience.”
Patchett said that her next novel is brewing in her head, but that in the meantime she will be sticking to writing shorter nonfiction pieces and overseeing her bookstore. She will be speaking at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Tuesday, May 6, at 8 p.m. For more information, call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.