My Reading Life

Pat Conroy, Doubleday/Talese, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-53357-7
The strengths and weakness of Conroy's novels—both his beguiling narrative voice and his often overly emotional language—are present in this slim paean to the books and book people that have shaped his life. Conroy attributes his love of literature to his mother, who nurtured his passion for reading and at the same time educated herself by studying his school books. "I tremble with gratitude as I honor her name," he writes. Conroy's favorite novel was Gone with the Wind, which his mother read to him when he was five years old, and it made a novelist of him, he asserts. Conroy pays tribute to the men who were substitute father figures and mentors, among them a legendary book rep who chastised him for his "overcaffeinated prose." Breakneck contrasts exist throughout: on the one hand, Conroy sketches concisely the venom of Southern white bigotry; on the other hand, he allows humor to bubble up through dialogue, and riffs the English language. While some readers will not progress beyond the fustian prose, Conroy's legion of fans will doubtlessly bond with the author as he earnestly explores the role of books in providing him with inspiration and solace. (Nov. 2)
Reviewed on: 09/27/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-74923-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-74920-8
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-385-53384-3
Paperback - 331 pages - 978-0-7393-7784-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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