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  • My Reading Life

  • By: Pat Conroy
  • Narrated by: Pat Conroy
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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My Reading Life

By: Pat Conroy
Narrated by: Pat Conroy
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Summary

Best-selling 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 a voracious reader. Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed into a life-long companion, reading has been Conroy’s portal to the world, both to the farthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of the human soul. His interests range widely, from Milton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But for Conroy reading 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 reading through an array of wonderful and often surprising anecdotes: Sharing the pleasures of the local library’s vast cache with his mother when he was a boy, recounting his decades-long relationship with the English teacher who pointed him onto the path of letters, and describing a profoundly influential period he spent in Paris, as well as reflecting on other pivotal people, places, and experiences. His story is a moving and personal one, girded by wisdom and an undeniable honesty. Anyone who not only enjoys the pleasures of reading but also believes in the power of books to shape a life will find here the greatest defense of that credo.

©2010 Pat Conroy (P)2010 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel." ( Houston Chronicle)

What listeners say about My Reading Life

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  • Julie
  • 10-06-12

Simply Outstanding - Loved It, Over and Over Again

I have heard more than 240 books on Audible. Right now, this is my favorite.

This short, but rich and honest book is full with content. If you have ever wondered what inspires a modern writer to write than this is the book for you. By its end, you may want to be a writer or be a better writer.

This book should be required reading for all English students, lovers of literature, teachers, and parents. Yes—teachers and parents—because as Conroy beautifully explains, it is because of these people—because of the actions they took to enrich his reading life—that he is one of today's best storytellers. And why he is with us still (listen to the book to learn more).

And if you love rare book stores, then you’ll enjoy chapter six. But it is after chapter 12 that you’ll want to read War and Peace. At the very least by its end, perhaps you'll be like me and simply want to hear more of Conroy's work.

Please click YES if this review was helpful to you. Enjoy the read.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Howard
  • 17-11-10

Conroy shares his storytelling

This is one of Conroy's best works. My Reading Life breaks down Conroy's writing background and tells how his mentors had an inpact on him. Conroy tells much about what he felt about his many experiences reflected in his books. He also goes into wonderful detail about a great mentor, Gene Norris.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cathy
  • 07-06-11

Some sparkles

Mr. Conroy provides some moments that sparkle; most enjoyable were his moments of humor and honesty. I found the review of Gone with the Wind too lengthly. At the end he seemed to get caught in a net of melancholy metaphors; but overall I thank him for the insights. His voice told the story best.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 14-01-11

If you like Pat's novels this won't disappoint.

Well- read and passionately read. I loved listening to Mr. Conroy's voice. I don't think anyone else could have read this for h im.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 22-06-16

Mr Conroy describes the Reasons Why I Read.

Like Mr Conroy: I learned that I loved to solve mysteries as a child reading the stories of Trixie Belden. I made maple candy in the snow with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I withered under the scrutiny of the Nazis with Herman Wouk. I fell in love with a squeaky voiced boy who loved baseball and who was wiser than any adult I have ever known with John Irving. I obsessed over the Russian culture and soul with Anna Karenina, thanks to Leo Tolstoy.

I escaped a painful childhood with my "city of books". I learned to love and think and desire with my city of books. I feel the heat of the books which burn my palm. I want books to teach me, cut me, hurt me, enchant me! And, one thing that Mr Conroy may not know: HIS books do that for me. The Water is Wide has been on my to-read and just-finished lists at least 5 times. The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides have made my favorites list.

Mr Conroy writes good books that put me on my knees. I love how he describes books which have changed his life -- because he says exactly what I have felt over my 50 years of reading. I love books in the same way that he loves books. And I love HIS books in the way that he loves other books. It is a wondrous thing to read and it is a more wondrous thing to read Mr Conroy's books. His books are extraordinary and astonishing.

My Reading Life is worth your time. It will remind you why you love to read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Leslie by the sea
  • 20-10-11

What a Storyteller!

I became interested in the book after hearing Pat Conroy speak about it online somewhere. I really enjoyed this audiobook. I will never forget his story about his mom reading Gone With The Wind to him for the first time when he was 5, and how she made it come alive.

He's a dynamic person and a terrific storyteller, and I'm glad he narrated his stories himself. What a life! What passion for the books he's read and the people who have taught him! I still occasionally "flip through" this audiobook if I'm running around town and need something satisfying to listen to. Very satisfying.

5 people found this helpful

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  • M. M. Connor
  • 30-01-15

Time Spent with Pat Conroy

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Pat at a book signing event at The Citadel. Listening to him read felt like I was just sitting with Pat and hearing him tell of his love of the written word. The homage he gave to people in his life were moving and enlightening. He has done a great service to those books he praised as those I haven't yet read are high on my "to be read" list. So glad that Pat Conroy chose to read this himself!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn Cooper
  • 18-07-14

Don't chew the gravel in his voice, just listen.

Any additional comments?

As brilliant as Pat Conroy is, you will have to get past the struggles of his own narration. Having said that, there is must to embrace about this book. One person's view on how books laid the groundwork for their writing life might not be earth shattering, but, its Pat Conroy, and that makes the difference. Get past the grit in his voice and just bask in what he learned and why he learned it. It is inspiring and beautiful. Not the narration, did I mention that? Everything else.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-02-12

A Novelist's Reading Memoir

A very enjoyable tour of the literary influences that helped shape Pat Conroy as a writer. It is relatively short and very entertaining. Any reader will find useful perspectives on books familiar and unknown, as well as opinions with which to disagree. The fine, Southern-accenting reading by the author himself is a great bonus.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 26-12-11

A Literary Checklist for Southern Readers

If you could sum up My Reading Life in three words, what would they be?

Southen literary booklist.

What other book might you compare My Reading Life to and why?

The biography of Julia Peterkin. For its southern litlerary connection.

Which character – as performed by Pat Conroy – was your favorite?

His mother.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Pat Conroy, the Southern Consummate Student and Teacher.

Any additional comments?

Listening to the Audible edition is like a fireside chat with Conroy. I am now rereading the Southern great books he mentions. Fascinating!

3 people found this helpful