Virginia's Ring

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by NAS, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Has anyone read "Virginia's Ring" yet? Although I hear it's Pat Conroy influenced, I've heard some good reviews and I'm thinking about getting it. Reviews anyone?
     
  2. ELCID1995

    ELCID1995 Member

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    Good read so far. And yes, it influenced by one of the greatest authors of our time.
     
  3. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Thanks for the heads-up. As for "one of the greatest authors of our time", you need to get out more...
     
  4. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Looks like a good read, liked the review on Amazon.
     
  5. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Sounds good--think I'll get it.:thumb:
     
  6. glen

    glen Member

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    NAS on Pat Conroy

    Geez NAS, I would have thought that at such a distinguished college as VMI, you would have been required to read the works of great American contemporary authors in English Literature class - or is reading not required at VMI? Your comment on Pat Conroy - one of the acknowledged greatest contemporary American authors - just because he happened to graduate from The Citadel - shows your comments on this forum should be ignored. To help you with your continuing education in American literature - here are just some of Conroy's awards as an author (which do not include the fact he is a millionaire several times over, or that works derived from his books have made millions at the movies):

    Pat Conroy's Awards and Achievements:
    2010 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts,
    2006 Southeast Library Association, Outstanding Author Award
    2005 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award
    2004 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
    2003 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book of the Year Award
    2003 Thomas Wolfe Prize awarded by the Department of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    1995 The Thomas Cooper Medal for Distinction in the Arts
    1993 American Academy of Achievement, Golden Plate Award
    1974 National Education Association, special citation

    Regards as always - http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    You know folks really- now you are quarreling and baiting each other over the definition of a "Great Writer"? Give it a rest guys.

    Samuel Clemens is a great American writer. Faulkner is a great writer. Hemingway is a great writer. JD Salinger was a great writer. Ayn Rand was an influential writer if not a great one. Pat Conroy is a good writer- whether he is a great one is certainly up for debate- (whether or not he is a millionaire -and some of the biggest jackasses out there are millionaires- doesn't make em great- just wealthy). About Conroy's major works to date: "The Great Santini" is a great and poignant book, in which most sons at least can recognize some aspects of their own relationship with their fathers. In my opinion- it's a classic. "The Prince of Tides" was a good book made into a good movie- a good airplane read. "My Losing Season" didn't sell well but really resonated with me. "The Lords of Discipline" was BS in my humble opinion- an opinion which was and I suspect still is shared by many Citadel grads, which is why he wasn't back on campus for about 25 years after he wrote it. I look forward to reading "The Death of Santini"- I've heard very good things about it.

    I have yet to hear anyone say that "Virginia's Ring" is going to change lives or influence much of anything-not many novels do and I don't expect this one to do so-however, I am curious to hear if it is a good read?
     
  8. glen

    glen Member

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    Conroy - Lords of Discipline

    Bruno,

    Agree - this forum is for imparting of honest information to help high school students and their parents make good decisions on which college is best for the student.

    This said, Conroy was a senior during my Fourth Class year, and the academic year he wrote about in this book was 1966/67. The story line of course was BS. There was and is no "Ten." However, the reason this book is required reading in so many Honors English Classes around the country is for the quality and depth of its story telling - and I have to say, reading the book even today recalls for me some of the "impactful events" Fourth Classmen experienced in those days. Regards
     
  9. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Two Thumbs up! As I wrote earlier, some folks should definitely expand their reading horizons (or travel outside S Carolina)... Have to admit, I found Glen's post very humorous and entertaining. Almost as good as works by America's best writer!
     
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Since this clearly no longer has anything to do with a book about a school and is just as clearly not going to help any prospective cadets make a decision about attending one of the SMCs, I've moved it here to the off-topic forum . I am also giving you all fair warning- do not post about each other while you present your erudite opinions about the literary value of various books and authors.
     
  11. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    I'm about halfway through it. I think there's probably a good story there and I'm going to keep reading but the writing is honestly a little bit flat to me. Sometimes you hear people give the advice to writers "show, don't tell" -- although it can be taken to excess, this book would, I think, benefit from a little more showing a little less telling. Rather than saying that upperclassmen "could get very creative with their screamed words," why not dramatize it with an extended scene showing this? Surviving Rat year becomes fairly matter of fact in the author's treatment. He may be doing this on purpose -- trying to focus on relationships and not make it "another basic training novel" but as I said it feels a little flat to me. Interesting, the voice of the author (who appears to be a travel writer) comes alive most when he is writing about food! If he wrote about sweat parties with the intensity and detail that he wrote about steaks or hamburgers (I'm not kidding) the book would be stronger.

    I think this will be a real treat for those with some knowledge of VMI but it's just okay as a "read" aside from that. (In my humble opinion, of course!)
     
  12. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I have added this book to my list to read. I have read all of Mr. Conroy's work and am a big fan. Some are better than others definitely. My Losing Season wasn't his best work, but as a basketball player it definitely hit home. South of Broad and The Water is Wide are by far my favorites. The Death of Santini is a great a read and really puts his work, life and perspective into view for all us. It really shows where he was in life and what was going on how they impacted his writing. I have even read The Boo. Sure Conroy isn't loved by the Citadel, mostly because he opened the curtain for others to see. I am sure there are parts that are blown out of proportion, last time I checked this book was found in the Fiction section. Heck James Webb was "banned" from Navy for how long when he ruffled feathers too? I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Conroy recently, great guy. Enjoyed discussing his books and alot of basketball!

    Yeah each school has those we hold parades for and others we wish not to mention again. It happens, part of life. None of the schools are perfect.
     
  14. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Since we're OT, this reminds me of a chapter from a book called "Growing Up Catholic." The chapter lists people "we wish were Catholic but aren't" such as Billy Graham, and those "who are Catholic but we wish they weren't," such as Adolf Hitler.

    Same is true of SAs and of Harvard and Stanford and Oxford and the Boy Scouts and probably your business/profession and almost every other institution out there.
     
  15. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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  16. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    I'm jealous! I'd love to meet Pat Conroy -- what a story teller. One thing I loved about his books was how intensely his love of playing sports came through. As someone with a modicum of athletic talent who managed to parlay it into a college athletic career based on hustle and aggressiveness, yet knew I was, by definition, limited, I loved his writing about basketball in particular. I read "Lords of Discipline" in high school and can still remember being transported by the raw intensity of much of the writing -- not sure anyone has ever written a better fictional account of a sports event than of his account of a VMI/Citadel ("Institute") triple OT basketball thriller. And during USMC "pick up" during PLC about 100 years ago (still probably the highest my blood pressure has ever spiked), I can consciously remember thinking "let the athlete take over" like the protagonist in "Lords of Discipline." (I probably should have written him a thank you note -- it was good advice!)

    I really enjoyed the chance to read "My Losing Season" and see what was real and what was fiction (yes licking shoes of cadre, no "the Ten"). At my most critical, I do think Pat Conroy tends to overwrite somewhat. He's never met an adjective relating to royalty that he didn't like (look up "lordly" and "princely" if you get a word-searchable form of his books). But I think he has written some classics -- Great Santini and My Losing Season I think may stand the test of time -- and there are few books I remember better than Lords of Discipline. I understand why Citadel grads saw it as a betrayal but from the point of view of a "consumer" of art, Conroy's bitterness and anger were, by the alchemy of literature, transformed into something special from a purely artistic standpoint.

    But . . . I would never try to convince someone who didn't like his work -- de gustibus non est disputandum!
     
  17. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Did get the book--so far it's a good read.
     
  18. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Very well said indeed. Definitely a flat read--great effort for a 1st novel but just "ok" in the end.
     

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