The beloved New York Times bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays.
"The elegance of Patchett’s prose is seductive and inviting: with Patchett as a guide, readers will really get to grips with the power of struggles, failures, and triumphs alike." —Publisher's Weekly
“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.
At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both.
A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.
From the enchantments of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books (author of The Beatryce Prophecy) to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.
In this eloquent collection, novelist Patchett (The Dutch House) meditates poignantly—and often with wry humor—on "what I needed, whom I loved, what I could let go, and how much energy the letting go would take." In "How to Practice," Patchett writes of her "journey of digging out" and the feeling of lightness she begins to notice as she gets rid of possessions. In the title essay, she shares the story of Sooki, Tom Hanks's publicist, whom Patchett invited into her home and offered solace and comfort as Sooki underwent pancreatic cancer treatments: "What Sooki gave me was a sense of order, a sense of God, the God of Sister Nena, the God of my childhood, a belief that I had gone into my study one night and picked up the right book from the hundred books that were there because I was meant to." Other essays cover the lessons Patchett learned on her first Thanksgiving away from home, insights from a year in which she didn't go shopping, and what she's picked up from Snoopy. The elegance of Patchett's prose is seductive and inviting: with Patchett as a guide, readers will really get to grips with the power of struggles, failures, and triumphs alike. The result is a moving collection not easily forgotten.
A great read in every way .
I had a hard time putting this book down once I started. I loved every page and every word and every story. I almost feel like I know Ann Patchett. Yes , she is an amazing gifted author , she is also an exceptional person. Right now I’m sad that the book is finished.
Beautifully written essays, but with a caveat
These essays are all well-written, and several are very moving. However, Patchett’s incessant, self-congratulatory name-dropping about her celebrity friends was really off-putting for me. Just in case you didn’t know that she’s a “really famous” award-winning writer, she tells you again and again and again.
Thanks again dear ❤️🌻❤️