I would definitely recommend this book--and to be read again and again. It's a truly inspiring memoir about the drive to learn, about wide-ranging reading, about the adventures, wisdom, and solace that accumulates from the thousands of books one reads in a lifetime, that become, as the author points out, like a city of manifold treasures in the mind, with streets one can wander and revisit at any time. If you, like the author, can mention Freya Stark, Rumi, Margaret Mitchell, Manolete, and Pablo Neruda practically in one breath, you will have found a kindred spirit in Pat Conroy. There is great story-telling in this book, quite a bit of poetry masquerading as prose, and some characters you will become as fond of, as terrified by, and as inspired by as the author. Conroy's narration of his book is easy on the ear and, for this reader at least, goes straight to the heart. A book this passionate would not ring as true if it were voiced by a professional narrator. This book will convince you that you need not travel to the four corners of the earth to gobble up life. Books, Conroy irrisistably proves once again in this memoir, will take you anywhere you wish to go.
Education of a Wandering Man by Louis Lamour. In the 1930's, the author traveled the United States as a hobo and worldwide as a seaman and even as a prize-fighter, reading every book he could get in his hands along the way. While he labored as a tree-feller, cattle-skinner, or abandoned-mine guard, he was reading Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, and Montaigne. All this before he sold his first short story and Hollywood discovered that his story-telling made great motion pictures, just as Conroy's did and do.
There are many well-etched characters in this memoir, including an inspiring high school teacher (happy forever are those lucky to have had one!). My favorite character, though, is his mother, who sensed his love of reading very early, fed it with a continuous stream of books from the library, and added her own conversation, with a voice so memorable he literally hears it in every word he writes as he is writing it.
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