Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Novelist Conroy (The Prince of Tides) is first and foremost a storyteller, but the foundation of his storytelling ability is his love of reading. Here, he tells the story of how reading shaped his life and made him who he is today. His memoir is partially a love letter to those who introduced him to life-changing works. While books about the power of reading abound, Conroy's stands apart because he simply tells a good story, one of a Southern boy whose mind was molded by mentors and great authors, and whose life was transformed accordingly. Economical prose is, Conroy admits, not prevalent in his work. His writing is lush, hyperbolic, and supremely Southern; to anyone not acquainted with the style, it can seem bombastic, but when he overreaches with language, he does it purposefully. VERDICT Readers who enjoy Conroy's work, Southern literature, contemporary memoirs, or books about reading will like this personable and accessible book, which will surely get a boost from good word of mouth and would make a good book club pick.-Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The strengths and weakness of Conroy's novels-both his beguiling narrative voice and his often overly emotional language-are present in this slim paean to the books and book people that have shaped his life. Conroy attributes his love of literature to his mother, who nurtured his passion for reading and at the same time educated herself by studying his school books. "I tremble with gratitude as I honor her name," he writes. Conroy's favorite novel was Gone with the Wind, which his mother read to him when he was five years old, and it made a novelist of him, he asserts. Conroy pays tribute to the men who were substitute father figures and mentors, among them a legendary book rep who chastised him for his "overcaffeinated prose." Breakneck contrasts exist throughout: on the one hand, Conroy sketches concisely the venom of Southern white bigotry; on the other hand, he allows humor to bubble up through dialogue, and riffs the English language. While some readers will not progress beyond the fustian prose, Conroy's legion of fans will doubtlessly bond with the author as he earnestly explores the role of books in providing him with inspiration and solace. (Nov. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author Pat Conroy vividly describes the impact of books on his life. He outlines his childhood as a military brat, the son of a brutally abusive father, and how moving from city to city affected him. He talks of his mother and the great love of reading (and libraries) she instilled in him. With insightful commentary and a style that makes one want to pick up the titles he is discussing, Conroy reflects on the books that were major influences on his life, his love of poetry, his relationship with author James Dickey, and his wide-ranging friendships in the literary world. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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! HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The many author appearances the publisher has planned for the charming Conroy will spark reader interest.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist