Tonight, South Carolina author Pat Conroy will be in Columbia to discuss, and read from, his memoir, “My Reading Life,” at the Township Auditorium.
Noted author and historian Dr. Walter Edgar will lead the discussion. The book is the 2014 pick of One Book, One Columbia, the Richland County Library’s community reading initiative, which started in 2011 and features a monthlong array of discussions, workshops and other programs informed by each year’s choice.
“ ‘My Reading Life’ isn’t Pat Conroy’s most recent book, but we thought the themes were particularly relevant,” says the library’s marketing and communications manager Padgett Mozingo. “Pat Conroy has had such an impact on so many people, it’s fascinating to see what inspired him.”
For book club members, having the author on hand to discuss the book is the gold standard. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to gain from discussion.
As a professional librarian, educator and reader advocate for One Book, One Columbia, Lisa Arkell has been both a leader and member of several book clubs. “I love to hear other people’s take on a book,” she says. “Plus, as a book club member, I read books I might not have normally chosen, so it expands my horizons.”
Arkell particularly enjoyed the Jasper Magazine book club’s discussion of “My Reading Life,” which was one of several events leading up to tonight’s discussion. “In ‘My Reading Life,’ Pat Conroy discusses books and people who have influenced his life and his reading,” she explains. “At the end of our discussion, we went around the room and shared with the group books that had affected each of us. It was fascinating, and I’m looking forward to reading some of their choices.”