The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy

What are you reading?

The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy. It was made into a movie with Barbra Streisand. I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve read great things about the book.”

Tell me about it.

“It’s about a man from South Carolina, and his sister is going through depression, and so he has to go visit her in New York. It goes into the Southern way of living.”

Tell me about that Southern aspect.

“It’s all about the way they talk, and the author writes it beautifully. There’s one really funny scene — they don’t see homosexuals a lot, but they run into one. And the main character says, ‘Well, you should have told me he was a homo; I would have liked him a lot more!’ It’s something we wouldn’t say; but in the South, they’re so used to it.”

Who is your favorite author?

“Well, I just finished The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s a romance about a man who travels through time but has no control over it, and the woman who loves him throughout. It was made into a movie with Rachel McAdams. This guy has been a part of her life forever; he time-travels back to her at a point where she doesn’t know who he is. He’s been married to her for years, but he travels back to her. She’s written other books, too.”

What do you like about her?

“She paints pictures with her words. She’s very visual in her language.”

What book has been most life-changing for you?

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. It makes you value life, value your friendships. Morrie is giving advice to the author, and the author is presenting it word-for-word. The author was at a time in his life, middle age, when he was letting his marriage slip away, putting work first. He never had kids because he and his wife couldn’t find time. I’m not at that age yet, but I think we all get to a point where we let people slip by. We think, I have to focus on me, do what’s best for me. But if people live for money and fame, then when they die, that’s all they leave behind. There’s no one to stand up and say they were great and upstanding people. From the author’s perspective, it was enriching, and you glean onto that. It’s meaningful because it’s coming from a guy who has experience. The guy is in his 80s. I have pages of notes from it — quotes. Gosh, even thinking about it...it’s not a book you can just sit down and plow through. You have to take it a chapter at a time, let it soak in. It goes into marriages, into relationships. He says that if you don’t respect the other person, you’re going to have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re going to have a lot of trouble.”

Do you read any magazines or newspapers?

“No, I get my news online.”

Do you talk to your friends about what you read?

“I work in retail, and we’re all avid readers. We’re always sharing books. I have lists — my friends will say, ‘Oh, read this next!’”

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