What Now?

What Now?

Ann Patchett / May 07, 2021

What Now Based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads whether graduating c

  • Title: What Now?
  • Author: Ann Patchett
  • ISBN: 9780061340659
  • Page: 387
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another With wit and candor, Patchett tells her own story of attending college, graduating, and struggling with the iBased on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another With wit and candor, Patchett tells her own story of attending college, graduating, and struggling with the inevitable question, What now From student to line cook to teacher to waitress and eventually to award winning author, Patchett s own life has taken many twists and turns that make her exploration genuine and resonant As Patchett writes, What now represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life She highlights the possibilities the unknown offers and reminds us that there is as much joy in the journey as there is in reaching the destination.

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      Published :2021-02-27T10:56:10+00:00

    About "Ann Patchett"

      • Ann Patchett

        Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home Home is e stable window that opens out into the imagination Patchett attended high school at St Bernard Academy, a private, non parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley She later attended the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.In 2010, when she found that her hometown of Nashville no longer had a good book store, she co founded Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes the store opened in November 2011 In 2012, Patchett was on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.


    1. A very quick and inspiring read. Originally a commencement speech at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence, Patchett describes how life continuously presents new "What Nows." F. Scott Fitzgerald had a similar way of dealing with life in "This Side of Paradise" by having his character "Do the next thing." Both sentiments are applicable to the new graduate and anyone on the planet because when faced with obstacles or doldroms we all wonder "What Now?"Favorite excerpts:"Sometimes the circumstances at hand [...]

    2. I really enjoyed this speech-turned-essay. So many wonderful morsels of wisdom to "chew on". She shares a few personal anecdotes, but does not make the speech about herself. It is inspiring and contemplative, encouraging her audience to look inward for happiness; and then sharing it with the world. Because it was a commencement speech that she have at her alma mater, it is almost guaranteed that it will remind you of your college/university days. Unfortunately, I don't remember anything about th [...]

    3. “Just because things hadn't gone the way I had planned didn't necessarily mean they had gone wrong.”This was a very powerful and moving essay that I feel like came in my life during the perfect time, considering I just graduated high school and that question seems to be suffocating me. It really offered me a new perspective and made me feel a lot more comforted. I needed this in my life, and I think that I will be re-reading it any time that nagging question pops in my head again. I'd recomm [...]

    4. This makes for a long commencement speech, but a short audiobook. I can see how many people would find it inspiring and reassuring, despite its cliche flavor.I like that it's not necessarily geared specifically at new college graduates; Patchett emphasizes that we reach many different intimidating crossroads throughout our lives. And that these unsure times should be cherished rather than rushed. But, damn, as always, it's a whole lot easier to say that once you're older and already know that yo [...]

    5. I ended my 2016 year of reading with Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet." Wanting something short and inspirational to end 2017 I remembered this tiny book I picked up at a book sale. Patchett's wisdom is potent and I will carry it with me in the new year.

    6. A great way to start 2012. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Ann Patchett's writing in Bel Canto, and I am excited to rediscover her and plan to read several of her novels this year. "What Now?" is a short Commencement Address that she gave at her alma mater - Sarah Lawrence. It is full of good advice for anyone. My favorite passages:"And sometimes, we don't realize what we've learned until we've already known it for a very long time.""I never stop having to learn: to pay attention to the thing [...]

    7. I liked what Ann Patchett has to say very much. I am giving my copy to a young person graduating this week from a "second-chance" military-style program with his GED. He is struggling mightily with "What now?" I highlighted several places in my copy where I want the recipient to pay attention -- phrases that I think will comfort if not instruct him. What I did not like about this book is the way it is put together. Apparently Patchett's text alone, even double-spaced, would be no more than a bro [...]

    8. Not particularly Rocket Science but nice to read something assuring by an author that I've liked for years. Typically I don't take much interest in Commencement Speeches (though I did really enjoy watching Barbara Kinsolver's speech at Duke) but there's something rather refreshingly positive about telling students to seize the day, enjoy the undecidedeness of decision making and to savor youth and its (almost)career innocence. It probably wasn't something I'd have run out to buy but a friend gav [...]

    9. Ann Patchett has a way of pulling you into her story. She explores what many college graduates face as they get ready to step out into their vocation. . . what now? Some have a set track to run on while others are still figuring it out. She relates her own experience after graduating, and while we do not share the same philosophy of life, I did appreciate some of her thoughts. I especially enjoyed her talking about her 12 years of Catholic school and how at the time she didn't think it worth muc [...]

    10. "What Now?" is a short Commencement Address that Ann Patchett gave at her alma mater - Sarah Lawrence. It is full of good advice for anyone. I received a signed copy as a gift from Jennifer for my 50th birthday. I think the advice given is just as good for a 50 year old as it is a college graduate. I will definitely keep this book in mind as a graduation gift. I really enjoyed the story of the chocolate chip cookie baking and how her first draft was scrapped because of feedback from her college [...]

    11. 2.5 starsA nice little read with some cute anecdotes. Wasn’t anything spectacular, but I liked it regardless.

    12. Having recently discovered Ann Patchett’s wonderful novels, I was pleasantly surprised to discover she had also written a stirring essay based on her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College. Less than one hundred pages in length, What Now? can easily be read in one sitting. Using anecdotes from her own life, Patchett offers many simple truths and life lessons that will inspire anyone at a crossroads, not just newly-minted graduates. As a recent retiree, I recall facing the What Now? que [...]

    13. LOVE Ann Patchett. This is beautiful but simple, wise and relatable. She talks about how she was excited to make the decision of where to go to school but had to eventually come back to answering "What now?" Then she decided to go to grad school but ultimately that took her back to "What now?" I like how she points out that it's not school that makes us better people but working and taking what comes, even if it's not what we expected or planned. We can't control every thing (like her duck hunti [...]

    14. I really cannot find any meaning for the existence of this book. It is a constant self-appraisal monologue that goes on for ever. (where is humility and so on) Recommended for church school list of books. Even the photographs although some interesting by themselves (black and whites, abstract e.t.c.), they are shuttered between the pages in a very childish over explanatory manner. For instance she writes something about two paths to follow in life, the next thing you see is a very good picture w [...]

    15. (Essay)-What now? Good question. One I have been asking myself since my junior year in high school. I've never felt very good at finding the answer. Once I married and had children, I felt it was answered for a good, long time but now that three of mine are young adults and I only have a very responsible 12-year-old at home, I'm back to "What now?" again. Unfortunately, despite all my life experience, I don't have any clearer answers than I had in high school. Patchetts' ponderings didn't provid [...]

    16. I listened to the audiobook What now? written and read by Ann Patchett, a favourite author of mine. This book is based on a commencement address she made at Sarah Lawrence College.I love listening to her voice! She offers inspiration and hope and stresses the importance of listening and staring. With humour and honesty she tells about the twists and turns in the path she followed to reach her goal of becoming a novelist - college, graduating, cooking, teaching and waitressing, demonstrated how s [...]

    17. The audio version was an added bonus, because I think of Ann Patchett as not just a writer but a storyteller. Hearing her give her speech in her own words made it more accessible. The question "What now?" is answered for her audience - college graduates - as she shows that the question isn't answerable, that the "next thing" is always a work in progress. Slight but full of wisdom. 3 1/2 stars.

    18. This was a very short little book, but very good. It emphasizes the importance of being open to what happens to us versus the emphasis I think we more commonly put on what we should be doing with ourselves. In the end, she advocates for a balance between the two, but the book - actually an expanded commencement speech - is a good reminder that many of our most valuable experiences are not expected or planned.

    19. This bright and beautiful essay makes the wandering (and sometime frantic) search for one's own path through life seem like the best and most exciting adventure of our lives (I hope it is!). The writing was fresh and fast-paced and felt like a comforting embrace from a beloved friend. Don't miss this quick read with funny pictures, too!

    20. I've been on an Ann Patchett kick recently. This commencement speech asked "What now?" It tells her story of life after college, life as a grown-up, and how seemingly insignificant experiences actually laid the way to her current life. Life is just a string of nows.

    21. I loved her voice and her message, but I want to reread this book to see if I can absorb more. But, this was recommended to me by someone and I would suggest this to all of my writerly friends.

    22. A very short story about following your dreams. One remarkable phrase: I couldn't write words big enough to ask for so much.

    23. Listened to the audiobook. Having just rediscovered my love of Ann Patchett's writing by finishing Commonwealth, I searched for another of her works and found this. Perfect serendipity as I am at a crossroads in my career right now! Like the quote below, I hope I will be piecing together thoughts from this essay with my own life experiences in new ways for years to come.“For the most part wisdom comes in chips rather than blocks. You have to be willing to gather them constantly, and from sourc [...]

    24. I’m a sucker for well written commencement addresses. When I worked as a judge for high school speech tournaments, one of my favorite events would be when students recited these. I also think December perhaps an even more appropriate time than May for those outside the world of academia to revisit them - our calendar year is winding down with the promise of a fresh start in January. In this essay expanded from her commencement address, Ann Patchett describes the journey that those of us in 201 [...]

    25. I gave this book to the two high school graduates in my life this year, and then re-read my own copy. Now I'm wishing I had underlined and highlighted parts in the copies I gave, because there are several places that I thought: yes! this! pay attention to this! life is like this and you might not think anyone else thinks so too!Patchett continues to be one of my favorite writers, whether she's creating fictional worlds or reflecting on her own experiences. She writes elegantly without being over [...]

    26. It's okay for what it is, just an expanded version of her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College. Her experience as working at TGI Fridays as a college graduate with a master's is certainly relatable. I was a bit stunned by what she says about why she dated her husband for 11 years before relenting and getting married. I have no idea what her fiction is like, and I am only a little more curious than I was before. She is one of the many writers with a Catholic school education, so now I a [...]

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