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San Francisco Chronicle - December 12, 2010
"If you relish the literary equivalent of a gospel shout-out, it's tough to
trump "My Reading Life," Pat Conroy's charming chronicle of his lifelong
devotion to language, writing and books. The much-loved author of "The
Prince of Tides," "Beach Music" and "The Great Santini" floods these pages
with memories both painful and sweet: his mother's furious quest to educate
herself by (omnivorous) reading, his violently abusive military father and,
despite a boyhood "lonely as an earthworm," Conroy's hell-bent determination
Booklist - October 1, 2010
Conroy has given us many hours of reading pleasure with such popular novels
as The Great Santini (1976) and The Prince of Tides (1986), and now it’s
time for him to tell us what books have given him particular reading
pleasure over the years of his reading life. And what a delightful little
book this turns out to be, with a punch far sturdier than its compact size
might suggest. It won’t come as a surprise that Conroy identifies himself as
having been a “word-haunted boy.” And he goes on in that chapter (the book
is divided into thematic chapters), which is about his school librarian, to
insist that “from my earliest memories, I felt impelled to form a unique
relationship with the English language.” As readers can tell from those
words, Conroy’s southern upbringing informs the eloquent flow of his prose.
His school librarian’s personality—“Her disposition was troll-like and her
demeanor combative”—is counterposed by his mother’s both challenging and
cultivating nature: “The world of books was set for me by the intellectual
hunger of my mother.” Read, especially, the chapter on Gone with the Wind,
and try to resist rereading it!
-- Brad Hooper
Kirkus - September 15, 2010
"Truly affecting. From time's bookshelf, Conroy selects some arresting
volumes. The best-selling author offers remembrances and ruminations about
favorite books, writers, and inspirations."