Tuesday, April 12, 2011
My Reading Life
Publisher's Summary. 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. Readers will be enchanted with his ruminations on reading and books, and 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!
Review. As a book lover, my numero uno all-time favorite conversational topic is –you guessed it – books! One of the best parts of reading a truly great novel is sharing the discovery with other readers. In fact, many of the literary gems that I cherish weren’t uncovered by me, but rather served up on heaping plates filled with verbal praise by others (thank you!) And who better to glean new literary finds from than a famous author?
In My Reading Life novelist Pat Conroy shares a few of the memorable tomes that shaped him as a reader/writer and, more importantly, what those books meant to him. As Conroy rhapsodizes:
“Reading books gave me unlimited access to people I never would have met, cities I couldn’t visit, mountain ranges I would never lay eyes on, or rivers I would never swim. Through books I fought bravely in wars of both attrition and conquest. Before I’d ever asked a girl out, I had fallen in love with Anna Karenina . . . . [In short] I learned how to be a man through reading of great books.”
As one might expect, Conroy’s reading list is as wide as it is deep. In fact, the diligent reader could crib an all star literary list from just three of Conroy’s recommendations: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (a seminal book for the Southerner Conroy); Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel (described as “pivotal event”); and Tolstoy’s War and Peace (which he thrice enjoyed).
Conroy’s My Reading Life eloquently reminded me of all that I love about reading!
Advance review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.