Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review: My Reading Life

Book Details:
Title: My Reading Life
Author: Pat Conroy
Publisher: Doubleday, a division of Random House
ISBN: 978-0-385-53357-7
Pages: 337
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review of the book.

Synopsis from the book:
Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is a voracious reader. Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed inot a lifelong companion, reading has been Conroy's portal to the world, both to the farthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of hte human soul. HIs interests range widely, from MIlton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But for Conroy reading 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 may have saved his life-and if not his life, then surely his sanity.

In My Reading Life, Conroy recisits a life of reading through an array of wonderful and often surprising anecdotes: sharing the pleasures of the local library's vast cache with his morhter when he was a boy, recounting his decades-long relationship with the English teacher who pointed him onto the path o fletters, and describing a profoundly influential period he spent in Paris, as well as reflecting on other pivotal people, places, and experiences. His story is a moving and personal one, girded by wisdom, and an undeniable honesty. Anyone who not only enjoys the pleasures of reading but believes in the power of books to shape a life will find here the greatest defense of that credo.

About the Author:
Pat Conroy is the bestselling author of nine previous books: The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Price of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and South of Broad. Several of his books have been made into successful films. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina.

My review:
I love books. I love the feel of them in my hands, the smell of the ink printed pages, and I love devouring all of those words on the pages. I also love to read books about books. I just finished My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, about ten minutes ago and I want to start at the first page of it again. I have to admit that I have never read one of Conroy's novels and now I know that I must. His language and writing make me want to read and read as much as I can take in and never stop. I love hearing how people started reading and what keeps them enthralled with books and Conroy's book delves into his life long love and how it started and kept going. It is easy to see that Conroy writes with a passion for words and language and wants every reader to grab a bit of that passion for themselves. Towards the end of the book, there was a passage that I have to share:

"Each day of my life begins with a poem that will unloose the avalanche of words inside me, that secret ore that, once polished, will sit before me disguised as the earth's jewelry. I'll select from its garnets, its milky-eyed opals, its insect-killing amber-it's the language I revere above all. I cheer when a writer stops me in my tracks, forces me to go back and read a sentence again and again, and I find myself thunderstruck, grateful the way readers always are when a writer takes the time to put them on the floor. That's what a good book does-it puts readers on their knees. It makes you want to believe in a world you just read about-the one that will make you feel different about the world you thought you lived in, the world that will never be the same."

In the words of Conroy, I was "thunderstruck" by this book and once again my love of literature has been conjured up from within where it is always hiding in wait for that next great story to make it explode and remind me of why I started reading voraciously in the first place.

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