Kathy L. Patrick

Photograph by Marla Keith

This boisterous bookseller runs a Jefferson hair salon/bookstore, Beauty and the Book, that is a bastion of independent literary thinking—and egalitarian fun. She shares her Texas joie de vivre in The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life.

What exactly is a Pulpwood Queen?

The Pulpwood Queens are the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world. Our motto is “Where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the rule!”

Where does one buy a tiara in the year of our Lord 2007?

Everywhere from a bridal shop to Wal-Mart. I purchased my first tiara from a wholesale costume supplier in Houston, but I’ve been upgrading ever since. Tiaras leave scars on the head, but people treat you better, so my advice is, wear them out often.

What is the essence of the Pulpwood Queens’ secrets for happiness and success?

When my agent suggested my book be a guide to life, I spit my coffee across the room. She told me, “Exactly, Kathy. Who better than somebody who has lived through all your mistakes?” True happiness comes from hard work and struggle. One thing I’ve learned is, if you want to find purpose in life, read.

Grand Central, $13.99 ( Read the full interview.)

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