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Columbia's Reading Life

Here's your chance to recognize your favorite book or favorite author.

Pat Conroy's love letter to good books, good writers, and the people who introduced him to both, My Reading Life, has been chosen as the One Book, One Columbia selection for 2014, with public programs to be held throughout February. The best-selling South Carolina author writes about how he developed his love of books and about some of the people and books that have most impacted his life.

In keeping with that theme in February, Free Times plans to publish a selection of brief reflections from people in our community about a book or a writer that has greatly influenced their lives, attitudes or ideas. Send us your praising prose -- up to 50 words -- on your favorite book or writer as if the author had asked you to write a few sentences to be quoted on the dust jacket of his or her book.

How to Enter?

  • Email your entry to ReadingLife@free-times.com
  • Put "Reading Life" as the subject line
  • Deadline: Friday, January 17th

    Submissions will be printed in the Free Times starting with the February 3rd issue and continuing throughout February.

    Below are some of the books and authors that have influenced Conroy. Is your favorite among them?

    Join us on Thursday, February 27th at 7 p.m. at the Township Auditorium for Live with Pat Conroy - an author talk and book signing with Pat Conroy, author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides and this year's One Book, One Columbia selection, My Reading Life. Conroy will be interviewed by notable South Carolina historian Dr. Walter Edgar. This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available now at all library locations, and will also be available at the Township on the night of the event.


    My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
    Amazon Says: Bestselling 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 Amer more...
    Amazon Says: Bestselling 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. less...
    Amazon

    Amazon Says: Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhe more...
    Amazon Says: Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel. Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years. less...
    Amazon

    Amazon Says: “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend more...
    Amazon Says: “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” —from The Sound and the Fury   The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. less...
    Amazon

    Great Expectations by Charles / Weintraub, Stanley (INT) / Davis-Goff, Annabel (AFT) Dickens
    Amazon Says: Presents the classic story of the orphan Pip, the convict Magwitch, the beautiful Estella, and her guardian, the embittered Miss Havisham Title: Great Expectations A more...
    Amazon Says: Presents the classic story of the orphan Pip, the convict Magwitch, the beautiful Estella, and her guardian, the embittered Miss Havisham Title: Great Expectations Author: Dickens, Charles/ Weintraub, Stanley (INT)/ Davis-Goff, Annabel (AFT) Publisher: New Amer Library Classics Publication Date: 2009/02/03 Number of Pages: 508 Binding Type: PAPERBACK Library of Congress: bl 98002067 less...
    Amazon
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