19 Apr High Tide And A Little Beach Music
One of my favorite books is Beach Music by Pat Conroy.
I read it well over fifteen years ago and it still remains a book close to my heart. Recently I recommended it to my friend (and next door neighbor) Frank.
As mentioned in previous posts, Frank is retired and an avid reader. He and I have been talking books for thirteen years.
He often goes to the used book store in town or other used book sales. If he reads of an upcoming book sale in our newspaper, it’s usually cut out and sent across the field (that we share) when one of my boys visits him and his wife, Karen.
With all that has been going on (I knew he had only been to the grocery store and back home), I thought I’d put together a book bag from my bookshelves and send them over. I stuck my copy of Beach Music inside. I also stuck post-its on all the book covers, with a short blurb as to why I chose it. I know the type of books Frank enjoys and although he is open to reading outside his favorites, I also know that some books will just not be up his alley or his cup of whisky 🥃, I mean, tea.
This is the cover of my copy of Beach Music. I feel like this screams: “1990 Romance,” which Frank would hate. So my note read, “This is NOT a romance and it’s SO good!” Since I judge covers, and I think all readers do to some extent, if I disliked romances, I’d want a note.
I think he read two others from the bag before starting Beach Music. And—so far, he loves it. He has mentioned it the last two times we have spoke. Beach Music is a longer book, coming in at over 700 pages. It’s also a mass market edition, which makes for a more difficult holding IMHO.
When we spoke the other day, I recommended some of Conroy’s other books. Conroy doesn’t have a ton of books and sadly he passed away last year so there won’t be anymore.
As we were speaking I told him I had The Prince of Tides, but I hadn’t read it. When I saw the movie years ago, I had no idea it was also a book. It’s hard for me to read a book when I have watched the movie first, but I still ended up picking up the book a few years back. Most likely because Beach Music was so incredible.
Before I forget, here is the Amazon Synopsis of Beach Music:
📌 A Southerner living abroad, Jack McCall is scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart. Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is a novel of lyric intensity and searing truth, another masterpiece among Pat Conroy’s legendary and beloved novels.
Anyway, the conversation with Frank stayed in my head.
Why had I not read The Prince of Tides by now? If I loved Beach Music so much, what was the hold up?
Early this morning after my first cup of coffee I walked to my bookshelves and grabbed The Prince of Tides. I refilled my cup and foolishly said to myself, “You just read the first page or two and then it can be placed on your ever-growing shortlist (meaning my nightstand, which has at least 20 books on it). I guess because we all are capable of pulling the wool over our own eyes best, I read the first two pages and then the sixty or seventy that followed them.
Yes, I’m still reading The Stand and yes, I’m halfway through May’s bookclub choice (which is on my Kindle and I had no idea it was over 400 pages when I started it).
So between the three, I’m just a little over 2000 pages committed. Oh I’m not complaining my dear bookworms, I’m just confessing that I always get in over my head when it comes to books.
The Prince of Tides is every bit as intoxicating as Beach Music. Pat Conroy’s stories all center around South Carolina and he has a way that is nothing less than marshy, lyrical magic that transports you to the very places he writes about. TPOT is a little shorter of the two, coming in at just over 500 pages. If that sounds like a lot, I promise it’s not. Reading seventy pages when only two were planned should be a strong indication of how quickly the pages fly by.
The only reason I stopped when I did was:
1. It was 11am and I had drank four cups of coffee.
2. The temp outside had finally made it to the 40s and I needed to walk my dog.
3. I thought getting my butt out of bed to change in to work out clothes (from pajamas) and brushing my teeth felt like I was *accomplishing something.
*Lets be clear, reading IS accomplishing something and it’s exercise for the brain. It’s just it’s so enjoyable, that I have to physically force myself to do something slightly less enjoyable to justify more reading time.
Here is the Amazon synopsis of The Prince of Tides:
📌 Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide again. At the behest of Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein, Tom reluctantly leaves his home in South Carolina to travel to New York City and aid in his sister’s therapy.
As Tom’s relationship with Susan deepens, he reveals to her the turbulent history of the Wingo family, and exposes the truth behind the fateful day that changed their lives forever.
The movie stars Nick Nolte and Barbara Streisand and is a favorite of mine. One of the reasons I decided to read the book even though I know the basic story line is this:
As good as any movie can be, the book is almost always better, plus movies leave things out (there just isn’t enough time allotted). As good as Beach Music is, I know The Prince of Tides will also be as good-I just know. Simple as that. Also it has been awhile since I watched the movie, so I’m sure I will have forgotten things along the way.
I don’t think my review and praise of Conroy’s books does them justice, so please, go and read anything of his. Anything. You will not be disappointed, but you will have found a new author to love.
PS. The cookies in the picture are Lemon Keto cookies. I found the recipe on Pinterest. They are definitely edible, but no wow factor (or I would’ve shared it with you).
“No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws.” —Pat Conroy, Beach Music
“You get a little moody sometimes, but I think that’s because you like to read. People that like to read are always a little fucked up.” -Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides