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 as she explores family, friendship, marriage, failure, success, and what it all means. A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: essays that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Ranging from the personal - her portrait of the three men she called her fathers; unexpectedly falling into a life-changing friendship with Tom Hanks; how to answer when someone asks why you don't have children - to the sublime - exploring the Harvard Museum of Natural History before its doors open; the unexpected influence of Snoopy; the importance of knitting - each essay transforms the particular into the universal, letting us all see our own worlds anew. Illuminating, penetrating, funny and generous, These Precious Days is joyful time spent in the company of one of our greatest living authors.