By: Ann Patchett
“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 suprising 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 di Camilo’s children’s books 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.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
What can I say, I am really digging our “Famous Author” book choices for this month. I listened to this one on Audible, usually while doing mundane things like folding laundry or walking the dogs. I have loved all of Patchett’s past novels, so I was very pleased and satisfied to get a glimpse into her personal life. Fans of Commonwealth (my favorite of her books) will notice the semi-autobiographical parallels between the novel and her own childhood and upbringing- A very enjoyable read.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/4
I feel as though this month, we just said “Let’s read books by incredibly smart and creative writers!”. Ann Patchett’s personal essays are mainly a joy to read. They are beautifully written and lovely stories. Her friend, Sooki, will hold a special place in your heart. Makes me want to take a trip to Nashville just to visit Parnassus Books – a book lover’s delight. Oh to have my own Parnassus Books! I recommend this one too!