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Publisher's Summary

The beloved New York Times best-selling author reflects on home, family, friendships, and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays.  

“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 upcoming 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.

©2021 Ann Patchett (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about These Precious Days

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Heartfelt Essays, Beautifully Performed

Ann Patchett is a national treasure. This collection of essays is honest, timely, and deeply moving. With "These Precious Days," Patchett welcomes readers into the different corners of her life. There are stories of family history, her college life, and friendships current and past. There are glimpses into her writing process, and odes to her favorite authors. Her love of storytelling is infectious. Famous novelist, bookstore owner, and friend to many talented artists...what a life she has! But she never seems unapproachable. Her writing is down to earth and comforting, and Patchett's audiobook performance is gently profound. This book is a warm blanket to wrap around your shoulders on a crisp Autumn day. BEAUTIFUL!

7 people found this helpful

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I am split, again.

To say I love this collection of essays is inadequate. I am changed by single sentences sprinkled throughout - as is the case with all her writing. She has the bravery to say, or to write, the things that I cannot bare my soul and admit - my curtain must remain closed to protect eveone else. At times is a curse to feel things so deeply, and in other times I realize how blessed I am to make note of the moments I am changed. I am changed by several portions of this book. Beautiful work. Never stop.

5 people found this helpful

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Breathtaking!

What a wonderful book. I laughed, cried, rinse and repeat. What a beautiful tribute to lives well lived. Bravo.

3 people found this helpful

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A best friend

With each additional Ann Patchett novel or collection of essays I long increasingly to be real in-person best friends, walking her dog with her and quietly discussing life and death. Ann’s ‘deftness’ - no ‘brilliance’ with words and ideas is astounding: she speaks out loud my own ideas and feelings with precision and grace.

3 people found this helpful

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Perfection!

On this second the last day of the year, I feel confident in saying that this is easily the best book I read or listen to this year.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved these essays

Loved these essays. I am buying the book so I can read my favorites on paper. “The Practice” will be first.

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I didn’t want things to end

I didn’t want things to end. I loved the rhythm of the writing. I treasured hearing the author recite. I was moved and mesmerized. So much love.
Read ( or listen) this collection. It will give you a comfort in these strange days.

1 person found this helpful

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Great writer, mediocre reader

Ann Patchett wrote two of my best of the year books: Commonwealth and The Dutch House. She’s the author of the brilliant Bel Canto and the fascinating This is the Story of a Marriage and the one about her friend who had cancer of the jaw. In These precious Days Patchett writes about her life. Her bookstore. Living in Nashville ( I do, too). Cleaning out her kitchen clutter. Her husband’s life as a pilot. Her three fathers. She has the ability to make what may seem like to one a non-story indeed an interesting one. Tom Hanks read her last novel. Let’s get him to read her next book. Her reading style is deliberate and felt manipulative to me. Like she’s telling us how we should feel. She also crosses the line (tough not to do with memoirs) of bravado. Look how kind I am. I live in a fabulous house in perfect neighborhood. I’m rich. I own a bookstore etc.
all that said four stars. So we’ll written. Maybe pick up the book instead?

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Totally Enjoyable

It was a pleasure to hear Ann Patchett read this book of varied essays. Each was unique and touching.

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A Must Read For Writers & Lovers of Books

During the pandemic I listened to Tom Hanks narrate The Dutch House, Ann Patchett’s newest novel and when I heard that she had a new book of essays, I ordered the audible book, These Precious Days. I found this book to be one of the most moving and powerful collection of her experiences and it’s read by Ann Patchett! There are many wonderful essays about the author’s coming of age tales in college, graduate school, as well as her relationships with her three fathers and many other brilliant topics. Possibly the most moving is about Tim Hanks personal assistant, Sooki Raphael and how she and Ann developed a loving friendship. Ann Patchett is not only a brilliant novelist and essayist, she’s also a wonderful narrator and storyteller. I’m planning to read all of her books and plan to visit her bookstore in Nashville, once it’s safe to travel! While you may have read a few of her essays in The New Yorker or in other periodicals, listening to Ann Patchett read them makes this a great gift to treat yourself to or someone you love!

1 person found this helpful