Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pat Conroy's My Reading Life

For my recent four year wedding anniversary, my husband bought me a copy of Pat Conroy's My Reading Life, a book I've been looking forward to reading since I heard it was coming out some months ago. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know he's one of my favorites. I haven't yet read everything he's written, but I'm working on it. So far all I've read have been novels and I was anxious to read Conroy's memoir, which you probably also know is one of my favorite kinds of books to read. I'm so glad I wasn't disappointed. I savored every word of this beautiful book, and spent much longer reading it than I normally spend on a 300-page book. And, when it ended I was sorry.

Conroy devoted once chapter to each book, experience and person that shaped him first as a reader, and then, as a result, shaped him as a writer. Teachers and professors made the list, a bookshop, Paris, a librarian, a book salesperson, an author (Thomas Wolfe) and a book (Gone With the Wind). Each chapter became a thank you letter to each, as he specifically showed the evidence of how he was shaped by each person, place or thing. It made me think about what has influenced my reading and writing, and that list is long.

What books and experiences have made up your reading life?

PS One of my reading buddies just informed me that Conroy will be headlining the Savannah Book Festival in February. As if I didn't want to go enough already!

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