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My Reading Life | [Pat Conroy]

My Reading 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel." (Houston Chronicle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Howard Carlsbad, CA, United States 11-17-10
    Howard Carlsbad, CA, United States 11-17-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Conroy shares his storytelling"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, United States 06-10-12
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Simply Outstanding - Loved It, Over and Over Again"

    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.

    Please click YES if this review was helpful to you. Enjoy the read.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Statesville, NC, United States 06-07-11
    Cathy Statesville, NC, United States 06-07-11
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    "Some sparkles"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth United States 12-26-11
    Elizabeth United States 12-26-11 Member Since 2011
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    "A Literary Checklist for Southern Readers"
    If you could sum up My Reading Life in three words, what would they be?

    Southen literary booklist.


    What other book might you compare My Reading Life to and why?

    The biography of Julia Peterkin. For its southern litlerary connection.


    Which character – as performed by Pat Conroy – was your favorite?

    His mother.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Pat Conroy, the Southern Consummate Student and Teacher.


    Any additional comments?

    Listening to the Audible edition is like a fireside chat with Conroy. I am now rereading the Southern great books he mentions. Fascinating!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Pepeekeo, HI, United States 10-20-11
    Leslie Pepeekeo, HI, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2010
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    "What a Storyteller!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 01-14-11
    David United States 01-14-11 Member Since 2010
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    "If you like Pat's novels this won't disappoint."

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip J. Olsson 02-08-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A Novelist's Reading Memoir"

    A very enjoyable tour of the literary influences that helped shape Pat Conroy as a writer. It is relatively short and very entertaining. Any reader will find useful perspectives on books familiar and unknown, as well as opinions with which to disagree. The fine, Southern-accenting reading by the author himself is a great bonus.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-31-11
    12-31-11
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    "Return to this book often!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare My Reading Life to and why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Pat Conroy – was your favorite?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Amelia Courthouse, VA, United States 07-18-14
    Dawn Amelia Courthouse, VA, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Don't chew the gravel in his voice, just listen."
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bill Beaufort, SC, United States 02-17-12
    bill Beaufort, SC, United States 02-17-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Conroy gives lots of information on the authors and books that he loved and that influenced him. I thought that might be a guide as to how I should spend some of my reading time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of My Reading Life?

    I laughed when I read about Conroy's trip down the Chattooga just because he had read Deliverance, by Dickey.


    Have you listened to any of Pat Conroy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. The professional narrator is better for his fiction, but he is better for talking about himself.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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