My Losing Season by Pat Conroy:
For the first time since I was nine years old, I awoke as an ex-basketball player. The most I could hope for now was to ripen into a knowledgeable fan. Because I couldn’t sleep well, and my leg throbbed with pain, I finished rereading Absalom, Absalom! sometime in the middle of the night, taking careful notes for my senior essay. I still felt humiliated by Moates but William Faulkner tamed and mesmerized me. I loved the way he could pack the whole world into a single sentence. Faulkner could inhabit a line the way God loomed over the universe.
In the next bed over, Root slept happily after playing his last wonderfully accomplished game. Because of the incandescent joy I take in reading, a secret alchemy worked without my knowledge, and I ceased to be the boy who has just given up thirty-nine points to Johnny Moates and felt myself transformed into the word-stung boy who let himself be taken on the floor by the flashy, unapologetic, grandstanding prose style of Faulkner, the agonizing descent into madness of Quentin Compson. From that troubled, long-ago night, I have forgotten neither Compson nor Moates.