patconroy.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.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.