Patchett’s collection of 22 essays covers a variety of subjects. We meet her family-mother, father, sister, step-fathers, step-mother and husband. She describes experiences with several of her closest friends, some she has known since childhood, one is a very recent friend. Ann Patchett tells her readers what it’s like to own a bookstore, write a novel and go on a book tour. What all these essays have in common is the subject of death. In some death hits you in the face; in others it is a subtle suggestion. But obvious or obtuse, the grim reaper is in all 22 essays and in the introduction and the epilogue.
If you are squeamish about death and dying, I suggest you don’t read These Precious Days. However, if you enjoy Ann Patchett’s nonfiction, especially when she cynically honest, read her most recent work.