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Books by Pat Conroy

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patconroy.compatconroy.comPerhaps you've read books by Pat Conroy, or, like me you are a newcomer to his works. While retrieving My Reading Life for a library user, I picked up another copy that was on the shelf. So began the second half of my serendipitous summer reading.

In My Reading Life, Conroy shares with us the books that have influenced him thus far — one was Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, whom he has referred to as his literary hero. I didn't quite get through Wolfe's book, as I was anxious to read Conroy's books, both fiction and non-fiction. I am thrilled to share the books I have read, those I am planning to read, the one I am reading now, and the one that he is not yet finished writing — The Death of Santini — which Conroy announced on his recently created blog. The prelude to the unfinished book, The Great Santini, is fictional and autobiographical, and is also a movie with the same name.


At least one reader commenting on Conroy's blog writes that while reading his books, she finds that they make her laugh out loud and can also bring tears to her eyes. I second that! Have you ever read a book, and as soon as you are finished reading it, you immediately want go back and read it again — not only to catch what you missed during the first reading, but also because you want to savor the powerful prose? After reading The Lords of Discipline , a work of fiction that to me reads like non-fiction, I immediately returned to the first pages of the book. In The Water is Wide, a work of non-fiction, Conroy recounts his days teaching elementary school on Daufuskie Island, off the southern tip of South Carolina. The story was also adapted for a made-for-TV movie. In this book, the humanity Conroy shows for the children he taught on Daufuskie Island is extraordinary.

outsidedaufuskie.comoutsidedaufuskie.comIf you are a young person and read the fiction work South of Broad, there is much to be learned about loyalty amongst friends. And if you are not so young, this work may stir up wonderful memories of your youth. I have never picked up a book about basketball, but because I cannot get enough of Conroy's books, I started reading My Losing Season and am enjoying it. It is not only about basketball, after all. 

The fiction books I have yet to read are Beach Music, The Boo, and The Prince of Tides, the latter of which was made into a movie. I may not read the non-fiction work The Pat Conroy Cookbook from beginning to end, but I will give a recipe or two a try.

Besides Conroy's website and blog, here are databases where you will find literary criticism, biographies, reviews, and more: Literature Resource Center and Biography in Context are available at all neighborhood libraries and offsite locations with an NYPL library card. Literature Criticism Online is available onsite at all neighborhood libraries, and JSTOR is available onsite at select NYPL locations.

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Pat Conroy: Powerful fiction and non-fiction

Before I read Ms. Persad's blog, I did not know that Pat Conroy was the author of the non-fiction work "The Water is Wide" about his days some years ago as a teacher in an extraordinary and extremely isolated set of islands off the coast of South Carolina where many of the African-Americans who lived there still spoke in a combination of African dialect and English and where much of late 20th century America had made - absolutely no impression whatsoever. Mr. Conroy's account of teaching there is a chronicle of an extraordinary experience - as lived by a perceptive individual with the gift of making his remarkable experiences there both accessible and compelling. I was then further surprised to learn that Pat Conroy was also the author of the novel - "The Great Santini." I had seen the film into which this novel was made in the early 1980's that starred Robert Duvall (who was marvelous in the leading role and is truly an undervalued actor with an enormous capacity to fully inhabit almost any character.) And I never forgot it. However, after reading Ms. Persad's blog, I now realize that many of the qualities of the film that I found so memorable owe a great debt to Pat Conroy. Conroy's portrayal of life in a tightly knit(and even more tightly run)Irish-Catholic family that at the same time must inhabit the socially and physically enclosed world of life in an isolated military base is one of the great expositions of this - very particular - strand of mid-20th century Irish-American family life in recent American literature. I fully agree with Ms. Persad that Pat Conroy's work in both non-fiction and fiction is compelling - and in many instances - unforgettable.

Pat Conroy's Works

Thank you, Matt. I hope you will take the time to read, The Great Santini and the Lords of Discipline.

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