Bethanne Kelly Patrick

Bethanne Kelly Patrick holds a master’s degree in English from The University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree from Smith College is in government. She has spent the remainder of her life and career course correcting from that deviation, and is now well known as a book reviewer and author interviewer. Bethanne has been Editor of the AOL Books Channel, a Contributing Editor at Publishers Weekly, and most recently helped Shelf Awareness launch its email newsletter for readers. Her #FridayReads Internet meme was nominated for a 2010 Mashable Award and its Facebook page is ranked number one for readers by Technorati. Bethanne is also the author of two books from National Geographic: An Uncommon History of Common Things (with John Thompson) and An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and their two daughters.


1. What's one thing you love about independent bookstores?

Knowing that they are giving back to their communities in so many ways

2. What's your blogging philosophy?

Since the site I now work for, Book Riot, is essentially a conglomerate of bloggers, I'll steal its mission (since I helped to create it): To delight and engage interested readers!

3. Who are your readers?

At Book Riot, our readers are younger--from 18-35--and split evenly between men and women.

4. What's your favorite D.C. blog?

If you mean on books, without a doubt, Mark Athitakis's American Fiction Notes. Other: The amazing Frank Warren's PostSecret

5. How can the analog medium of books & the digital mediums make beautiful creative babies?

I believe that analog and digital *can* make beautiful creative babies, but although I want to say "Don't fear the e-book," industry decisions and missteps have made it tough for booksellers to embrace this new content form. So first step? We need advocates for fair compensation for content creators--journalists, authors, writers, producers, and all of the others who are working on analog and digital texts.

Three Book Recommendations

Edward St. Aubyn's entire Melrose series, the most recent and final of which, AT LAST, came out a few months back. St. Aubyn's meticulous dissection of one man's aristocratic upbringing and personal tragedy sounds like so much "veddy veddy British" but reads like a sort of tone poem to "the only way out is through."

CAPITAL by John Lanchester is the kind of novel you understand is singular--but you wish there were a dozen or so like it. It's about one neighborhood in London (slyly named "Pepys Road") and the 2008 financial collapse, but Lanchester wields his pen as both archaeologist and anthropologist to bring disparate residents to life.

A far different read is Sadie Jones, THE UNINVITED GUESTS. In this atmospheric novel, which is perfect for Downton Abbey fans, an eccentric English family's country house is invaded by the survivors of a nearby railway accident. What seems to be a comedy of manners takes quite a sinister and meaningful turn.

The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429966
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Picador USA - January 31st, 2012

Capital Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393082074
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 11th, 2012

The Uninvited Guests Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062116505
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Harper - May 1st, 2012