Some of my once favorite writers sometimes fall off my auto-buy list after awhile, but there always seems to be someone new making their way there, so it remains a rather long list. And some of those who have fallen off sometimes even make a come back. My addiction to books is just that. And since it doesn't hurt anyone - not even myself - it's one I'm quite content to live with. I've lived with it since I was a little girl and I'll live with it till the day I die.
How about you guys? Addicted to books? Do you have a favorite writer (or several) that you get impatient with if they miss that once a year release?
I'm picking one, and only one, very favorite writer who has a new book coming out this year.
Gloriosa, this man makes me nuts 'cause he takes so long between books. But. As soon as his newest comes out, all is forgiven.
It has been 14 years since his last novel.
Know who I'm talking about??
In my mind - he is The Master of Southern Literature.
His new, long awaited novel, "South of Broad" will be released in September. Hooray Hooray!
Since "Beach Music," he has written "My Losing Season," (From Fantastic Fiction - "In My Losing Season Pat Conroy has written an American classic about young men and the bonds they form, about losing and the lessons it imparts, about finding one's voice and one's self in the midst of defeat. And in his trademark language, we see the young Conroy walk from his life as an athlete to the writer the world knows him to be."), and "The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life" - NOT your typical cookbook, by any means. I loved both these books. I still keep the cookbook close at hand, because every once in awhile I want Mr. Conroy to tell me a story. Don't we all, at some point, love to be told a story? and who better at this than Pat Conroy? The man loves words, and language and is a storyteller extraordinaire.
One of my favorite blogs, Book Chase - by Sam Sattler, was where I first learned the news with this entry - New Pat Conroy novel expected.
Book Chase is also where I got to watch Mr. Conroy being interviewed by his lovely bride, author Cassandra King.
AND, through Book Chase, I learned even more news about the book from a friend and early reader of Mr. Conroy - Mr. Sean Scapellato, who writes the "Thoughts on Writing From a Cul-de-Sac" blogspot.
Don't you love the blogging community?! I swear - you can find just about anything you want if you search around long enough. There are the most interesting people out there writing about a world of stuff. Anything and everything. That's what makes the world go around, isn't it? That gift of curiosity. If you get a sudden hankering to read and learn a little about the most mundane, or the most arcane, or the most esoteric subject matter imaginable, you can find it.
But, enough of that - I meander.
I want to squeal about how excited I am about "South of Broad." It sounds to be just what we expect, and love, of Pat Conroy. Sweeping sagas that are so very southern, so emotional, and oh, so very "Pat Conroy." I don't think you could pick up anything this man has written, read more than a few words and not know pretty quickly who it was written by.
I have one little story.
When Donald and I were still living in Atlanta, Mr. Conroy did a signing of "Beach Music," and we, of course, went to Mr. Conroy's signing. My first edition personally inscribed and autographed copy of this marvelous book is one of my life's treasures. As is remembering the conversation we had regarding Fripp Island. While we waited in line, Donald kept saying things like "now you need to talk to him - don't freeze up, tell him how much you admire his work, tell him you love Fripp Island - say something!!" So, when it came time to hand this great man my book, I spurted out "I love Fripp Island. Wish I lived there." (brilliant, huh?! pfft). Mr. Conroy stood up, left his chair, came around the table, asked our names, shook our hands, leaned against the table and said "You know Fripp Island? Tell me how you know Fripp." I could have died. But I rambled on at some length about how a group of very close friends would go to Fripp every year for Memorial Day weekend. How we would always rent the same big old house at the very tippy end of the island and how we did that for several years and how those weekends were some of the loveliest of my life. Without missing a beat, he said - "I've heard of you! Weren't you and your friends told to leave the island and never return?!" And threw his head back and laughed a big booming, from the soul, laugh. And so did I. That, of course, never happened, but that he could even just say such an outrageous thing, made me just want to laugh with him, and kneel at his feet. He then proceeded to chat with us at length about Fripp, and his love for the island, acting as though we were the only people in the room with him at the time. I was honored by his attentiveness, and completely in awe of his graciousness. If I had not been a huge fan before, that did it. He's funny, ever so personable, I love him and he is one of my heroes. We all need heroes.
Photo David Spielman