Illuminating, penetrating, funny and generous, These Precious Days is joyful time spent in the company of one of our greatest living authors.
Ranging from the personal – her portrait of the three men she called fathers; how a chance encounter with Tom Hanks led to one of the most important friendships of her life; how to answer when someone asks why you don’t have children – to the sublime – the unexpected influence of Snoopy; the importance of knitting; the pleasure to be found in children’s books – each essay transforms the particular into the universal, letting us all see our own worlds anew.
Ann Patchett is a deservedly celebrated literary talent, whose fiction and non-fiction continues to inspire readers. She has written eight novels, including the New York Times bestselling The Dutch House, Commonwealth, State of Wonder and her Orange Prize-winning novel Bel Canto. She was even named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012 – a remarkable accolade. She also co-owns and runs a bookshop in her hometown of Nashville. Patchett is truly embedded in the literary world, and These Precious Days provides a beautiful glimpse into this world.
These Precious Days is a collection of essays previously published in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post and The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology. Together, they make a sumptuous collection, and read as if they were always intended to form a book. Patchett’s style is personal, conversational and often filled with dialogue, as if she is recounting a story to a friend. As readers, we are lucky enough to receive this insight.
The essays span a variety of themes, from growing up to relationships with parents, sisters and partners. While deeply personal, they are also relatable. She muses upon experiences as a writer and bookshop owner, the journey of getting published, and thoughts while re-reading Virginia Woolf. In the titular essay These Precious Days, Patchett tells the wonderful story of how Tom Hanks’ book Uncommon Type turning up on her doorstep led not only to a friendship with the actor, but to Hanks narrating the audiobook to Patchett’s The Dutch House. Stories of Patchett’s everyday life offer shimmering insights into her literary world for the reader. As Jojo Moyes wrote in her endorsement of this book: ‘I would read Ann Patchett’s shopping list’.
These Precious Days is a stunning collection; a warm, inviting glimpse into Patchett’s world. Whether or not you have read any of her novels, this book is a moving, uplifting and engaging read, which booklovers and those interested in the world of writers and publishing will absolutely devour.