One book that made a difference to him, as told to O, The Oprah Magazine:
The Lord of the RingsRead about the other books that made a difference to the author.
by J.R.R. Tolkien
"I love books about treks and journeys into the unknown," Conroy says—books like Tolkien's famous high-fantasy epic about a dark lord determined to conquer a magical land. "I was on a quest to be a writer that mattered, and a friend told me that I must read and remember everything. 'You cannot call yourself educated or literate,' he said, 'if you do not know the secrets of Middle-earth, if you have not trekked with the Hobbits.' I mark the time I spent reading these splendid books among the richest days of my life. They are like the elevation of the host to me, their presence transformed, their effect indelible and everlasting. What is the loss of a job or a bad review when you've followed Gandalf the Grey through the mines of Moria?"
The Lord of the Rings also made Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs' list of ten classic SF books that were originally considered failures, Lev Grossman's list of the six greatest fantasy books of all time, and appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best towers in literature, ten of the best volcanoes in literature, ten of the best chases in literature, and ten of the best monsters in literature. It is one of Salman Rushdie's five best fantasy novels for all ages.
Also see: Pat Conroy's favorite contemporary Southern novelists.