Best-selling author Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him and celebrates the profound effect reading has had on his life.
Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is also a voracious reader. He has for years kept a notebook in which he notes words or phrases, just from a love of language. But reading for him is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life, then surely his sanity.
In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of passionate reading. He includes wonderful anecdotes from his school days, moving accounts of how reading pulled him through dark times, and even lists of books that particularly influenced him at various stages of his life, including grammar school, high school, and college.
Listeners will be enchanted with his ruminations on reading and books and will want to own and share this perfect gift book for the holidays. And, come graduation time, My Reading Life will establish itself as a perennial favorite, as did Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Listen to An Interview with Pat Conroy.
©2010 Pat Conroy (P)2010 Random House Audio
"Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel." (Houston Chronicle)
This is one of Conroy's best works. My Reading Life breaks down Conroy's writing background and tells how his mentors had an inpact on him. Conroy tells much about what he felt about his many experiences reflected in his books. He also goes into wonderful detail about a great mentor, Gene Norris.
Mr. Conroy provides some moments that sparkle; most enjoyable were his moments of humor and honesty. I found the review of Gone with the Wind too lengthly. At the end he seemed to get caught in a net of melancholy metaphors; but overall I thank him for the insights. His voice told the story best.
I have heard more than 240 books on Audible. Right now, this is my favorite.
This short, but rich and honest book is full with content. If you have ever wondered what inspires a modern writer to write than this is the book for you. By its end, you may want to be a writer or be a better writer.
This book should be required reading for all English students, lovers of literature, teachers, and parents. Yes—teachers and parents—because as Conroy beautifully explains, it is because of these people—because of the actions they took to enrich his reading life—that he is one of today's best storytellers. And why he is with us still (listen to the book to learn more).
And if you love rare book stores, then you’ll enjoy chapter six. But it is after chapter 12 that you’ll want to read War and Peace. At the very least by its end, perhaps you'll be like me and simply want to hear more of Conroy's work.
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Southen literary booklist.
The biography of Julia Peterkin. For its southern litlerary connection.
Pat Conroy, the Southern Consummate Student and Teacher.
Listening to the Audible edition is like a fireside chat with Conroy. I am now rereading the Southern great books he mentions. Fascinating!
I became interested in the book after hearing Pat Conroy speak about it online somewhere. I really enjoyed this audiobook. I will never forget his story about his mom reading Gone With The Wind to him for the first time when he was 5, and how she made it come alive.
He's a dynamic person and a terrific storyteller, and I'm glad he narrated his stories himself. What a life! What passion for the books he's read and the people who have taught him! I still occasionally "flip through" this audiobook if I'm running around town and need something satisfying to listen to. Very satisfying.
Well- read and passionately read. I loved listening to Mr. Conroy's voice. I don't think anyone else could have read this for h im.
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
Like Mr Conroy: I learned that I loved to solve mysteries as a child reading the stories of Trixie Belden. I made maple candy in the snow with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I withered under the scrutiny of the Nazis with Herman Wouk. I fell in love with a squeaky voiced boy who loved baseball and who was wiser than any adult I have ever known with John Irving. I obsessed over the Russian culture and soul with Anna Karenina, thanks to Leo Tolstoy.
I escaped a painful childhood with my "city of books". I learned to love and think and desire with my city of books. I feel the heat of the books which burn my palm. I want books to teach me, cut me, hurt me, enchant me! And, one thing that Mr Conroy may not know: HIS books do that for me. The Water is Wide has been on my to-read and just-finished lists at least 5 times. The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides have made my favorites list.
Mr Conroy writes good books that put me on my knees. I love how he describes books which have changed his life -- because he says exactly what I have felt over my 50 years of reading. I love books in the same way that he loves books. And I love HIS books in the way that he loves other books. It is a wondrous thing to read and it is a more wondrous thing to read Mr Conroy's books. His books are extraordinary and astonishing.
My Reading Life is worth your time. It will remind you why you love to read.
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.
I had the very great pleasure of meeting Pat at a book signing event at The Citadel. Listening to him read felt like I was just sitting with Pat and hearing him tell of his love of the written word. The homage he gave to people in his life were moving and enlightening. He has done a great service to those books he praised as those I haven't yet read are high on my "to be read" list. So glad that Pat Conroy chose to read this himself!
Say something about yourself!
As brilliant as Pat Conroy is, you will have to get past the struggles of his own narration. Having said that, there is must to embrace about this book. One person's view on how books laid the groundwork for their writing life might not be earth shattering, but, its Pat Conroy, and that makes the difference. Get past the grit in his voice and just bask in what he learned and why he learned it. It is inspiring and beautiful. Not the narration, did I mention that? Everything else.
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