My Reading Life
by Pat Conroy
"Each day of my life begins with a poem that will unloose the avalanche of words inside me, that secret ore that, once published, will sit before me disguised as the earth's jewelry." (p 329)
I believe each reader has his own story about the books that have been important in his life. This book is Pat Conroy's story and as a writer of several successful novels and memoirs he has created a beautiful paean to those books that influenced his life and writing. And with the books his memoir includes the people who recommended them and encouraged him who are featured beginning with his mother. The most poignant story for me was that of Gene, his high school English teacher, whose encouragement and inspiration lasted beyond high school as they became lifelong friends. Conroy's reading was wide and deep with an emphasis on some of the best authors and many of my own favorites. His love of libraries and book shops is something that this reader could identify with and, although I have not traveled to Paris his chapter on the importance of that city for him was perhaps even more interesting as a result. His love of poetry has become his own catalyst for unleashing the words that his love of reading has provided as a storehouse for his own writing. After many years of that writing this memoir is the result -- a lyrical delight from beginning to end and evidence of a love of reading and words that reminded me why I too love books.
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. 2010
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