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My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

December 28, 2015

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Conroy is my mother’s favorite author. I have read and enjoyed The Prince of Tides, Beach Music and The Great Santini. In my mind, he has always been like a southern John Irving—stories driven by great characters and great family drama.

He is also a fanatical reader, devouring 200+ pages a day. Here he recounts how what he has read has impacted who he is as a writer. Gone With The Wind, War and Peace, Dickens and Dickey. He dedicates chapters to books and writers of significance, in other chapters he rattles off long lists of his favorites. I added a few titles to my already very long “To Read” list. He talks about his own habits as a writer, other writers he has known (some on good terms, some not so much). Both are interesting, often entertaining.

My only quibble is that the book is full of spoilers—in the first chapter he lists some of his favorites and their critical moments. I would have skipped that section if I’d known that shortly after adding the books to my list, I’d read about the hero’s fate. And an index or appendix of books he lists would be a helpful addition at the end of the book.

Regardless, My Reading Life is an enjoyable book for any avid reader, even more so if you happen to be a fan of Pat Conroy’s fiction too.

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