Pat Conroy’s incredible books, The Great Santini, Beach Music, Prince of Tides, and My Reading Life (among others), provided many readers with strong emotional experiences and often led readers to examine their own lives. Mr. Conroy explained it this way: “The reason I write is to explain my life to myself. I’ve also discovered that when I do, I’m explaining other people’s lives to them.”
Mr. Conroy’s own life of growing up in an unstable and abusive life provided him with considerable strength or “grit.” But one of his earliest strength-giving experiences was when he was a student in Mr. Norris’ high school English class. As Pat Conroy said, “In 1961, I entered the classroom of the great Eugene Norris, who set about in a thousand ways to change my life. It was the year I read The Catcher in the Rye, under Gene’s careful tutelage, and I adore that book to this very day. Later, a parent complained to the school board, and Gene Norris was called before the board to defend his teaching of this book. He asked me to write an essay describing the book’s galvanic effect on me, which I did. But Gene’s defense of The Catcher in the Rye was so brilliant and convincing in its sheer power that it carried the day. I stayed close to Gene Norris till the day he died. I delivered a eulogy at his memorial service and was one of the executors of his will. Few in the world have ever loved English teachers as I have, and I loathe it when they are bullied by know-nothing parents or cowardly school boards.”
Another one of Pat Conroy’s mentors was the novelist James Dickey (1923-1997), his professor at the University of South Carolina. In reacting to some less than supportive reviews of his book, Prince of Tides, Mr. Conroy recalled the advice of his professor: “He told me to write everything I did with all the passion and all the power you could muster. Don’t worry about how long it takes or how long it is when you’re done. You know, he was right.”
Author, researcher, and entrepreneur, Dr. Emoto’s passion was teaching his “Messages in Water.” He trained over 350 instructors from around the world to teach new generations about the truth and sacredness of water as he outlined in his book, Hidden Messages from Water and the Universe.
His followers and those he mentored believe their lives were changed personally and collectively by his pioneering research which they believe resulted in a wave of transformation, awakening and shift in collective consciousness around the planet.
Those he mentored believe he gave them a greater sense of themselves and an ability to create positive change by shifting their thoughts, words, emotions and intentions. Louise Hay said his work “gave me a new respect for water. I began blessing with love every glass of water I drank. Labels with positive words and affirmations soon appeared on my faucets, showerhead, garden watering cans, the toilets, every other water source I had, and all the many bottles of water I carried everywhere.”
His last words were “Arigatou”. (“Thank you” in Japanese), which in Japanese means to be grateful for our own existence.
Summer is a time to catch up on all the books I’ve put on hold. Mostly they are my fiction sources of inspiration, entertainment, and enlightenment. Here’s my current list (in no particular order) along with links to an Amazon source to learn more about or purchase the book. (The asterisk* indicates a Canadian author.)
- Sunnyside by Glen David Gold (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)*
- Which Lie Did I Tell? by William Goldman (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)*
- Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)*
- Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind & Spirit by Daniel Quinn (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- The Winter Palace: A Novel about Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)*
- 419 by Will Ferguson (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)*
- Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- 11.22.63 by Stephen King (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)
- The Raid by Ken Merkley (www.merkleybooks.ca)*
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk)