Patty Unleashed

Patty Unleashed: 5.19.21

I had one good idea during the pandemic—yes, just one. Why didn’t I feature more local writers in my monthly Hooked on Books column? Now, it would be easy enough for me to Google St. Louis writers and find our rich literary history, from T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams and Maya Angelou to Curtis Sittenfeld and Jonathan Franzen. But honestly, do you think I could have increased the number of books Curtis Sittenfeld sold? Plus, didn’t she move to Minnesota?

I wanted to find people no one knew, or authors they perhaps had heard on a radio interview or whose books they had walked by at a local bookstore but didn’t pick up. Their books were never going to make it on Jenna’s or Reese’s book club lists. So back to my initial question of why I hadn’t promoted them more. Simple. I am jealous. These writers, regardless of how many copies they sell, have done the one thing I have always wanted to do and just can’t seem to, and that’s write and publish a book. They gave birth to their baby! And while they might not have a PR machine behind it, people should hear about their accomplishments.

I posted a Facebook message on the St. Louis Writers Guild page and wrote one sentence in my last Hooked on Books column about wanting to feature more local authors, and the response has been overwhelming! I’m not quite sure how I’m going to read all of the books I’ve been sent; I’m likely going to have a few columns that feature only St. Louis writers because the talent we have locally is stunning. From beautifully illustrated children’s stories and one-of-a-kind handmade books to great memoirs and novels, you name it, it is in my stack. The only thing I told people is that I won’t read sci-fi. (But I take that back. I’m pretty certain I can get my brother John to review those.)

So please, if you love reading, consider a title from one of the St. Louis writers reviewed in my column (it will be flagged with a bright blue star). If you can’t find a place to purchase it, contact me, and I will put you in touch with the author! And finally, if you are a writer, there is still time to add to my stack; just email me. Instead of summer beach reads, let’s make this the summer of St. Louis author reads!

A word about buying books: My daughter Tess lives in Chicago but buys her books locally at The Novel Neighbor. I’ve told both of my kids there are two things I will pay for their entire life: books and therapy. (Books are a great way to understand different viewpoints and, well, therapy … I’m their mom, and I have no idea what kind of damage I may have done.) There are not many local bookstores; I am most familiar with The Novel Neighbor and Left Bank Books. And don’t forget about your local libraries that are now reopening.

Just can’t quit your Kindle? Neither can I! Sometimes, late at night when your partner is sleeping and the only way to read is with your Kindle, you just have to do it.

I don’t know, perhaps with all of this reading, I will actually sit down and write my book. Isn’t it the finished product that is important, not how many people read it? Peace, my peeps.


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