On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior

KSP 2018

I’m so excited to be able to walk with the readers of Literary Life through On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books! I have always loved books (as you know if you participated here in our earlier discussion about my first book, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me).

When I set out to write another book about books, I wasn’t sure what framework or theme I would use to hold it all together. When I thought about centering the books around the classical virtues, I realized that I actually didn’t know that much about the virtues. They’ve always intrigued me, but I had never studied them. So study them I did! I found in my research that we need the virtues as much today as ever! But first we need to know what they are. So, I tried to glean the best definitions and teachings of the virtues and then show how some of the best books in the world illustrate what they consist of as well as how we can fall short of them.

You don’t have to have read the books I write about before reading On Reading Well. I tried to write about them in a way that would reveal a little but not too much for anyone new to them. And if you have read the books, then I hope my analysis offers just a little bit more light on them, the kind of works that yield new insights with every re-reading.

Of course, there are lots and lots of good books in the world, and settling on just a dozen or so was hard. I hope, though, that the way I write about these books will encourage and assist you in other great books that you choose to read.

Most of all, I hope this book helps you to read better and to read more! Thanks for reading with me!

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Karen Swallow Prior (PhD, SUNY Buffalo) is an award-winning professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Meand Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More–Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist. Prior has written for Christianity Today, the Atlantic, the Washington PostFirst Things, VoxThink Christian, and The Gospel Coalition. She is a research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a senior fellow with Liberty University’s Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, a senior fellow with the Trinity Forum, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.