10 March 2011

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

Audio CD, 7 disks (8 hours)
Published November 2nd 2010 by Random House Audi0

ISBN: 0307749207 (ISBN13: 9780307749208)
primary language: English
5 stars overall / 5 stars audio narration

Goodreads Synopsis:
Bestselling author Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him and celebrates the profound effect reading has had on his life. Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is also a vora­cious reader. He has for years kept a notebook in which he notes words or phrases, just from a love of language. But read­ing for him 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 has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity. In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of passionate reading. He includes wonderful anecdotes from his school days, mov­ing accounts of how reading pulled him through dark times, and even lists of books that particularly influenced him at vari­ous stages of his life, including grammar school, high school, and college. Readers will be enchanted with his ruminations on reading and books, and want to own and share this perfect gift book for the holidays. And, come graduation time, My Reading Life will establish itself as a perennial favorite, as did Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! From the Hardcover edition.

I got this (audio) book from the library, and concluded as I approached the end that I MUST OWN THIS BOOK! Not only must I own it, but I want it in audio & hardback format. It's that good. I LOVE that Pat Conroy narrated this particular book himself, because it is so very personal. There is nothing in the world like hearing an author narrate his own life. Under any other reading circumstance, Pat Conroy should (and does) avoid reading his own work, as he does not have the voice to do any novel justice, but with this one he positively shines. The reason, I believe, is its intensely personal and emotional nature. It was so easy to hear how affected he was - and still is - about the experiences he relates, how passionate he is about books and words, and how grateful he is that he has had the opportunity to make a living doing what he loves to do. He does not see his life through rose-colored glasses, either. It's clear that he is not an easy person with whom to share a life, and it's clear that the traumas of his childhood, as well as the sweetest of moments, affected him in ways that made him both a superb writer and a emotional train wreck. He is candid about this frailty, and his writing about his experiences - even in fictional form - is clearly cathartic and healing for him. This book touched me completely, and I have more respect for him as a writer now as a result of being given this gift of his personal story.

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