On Reading Well

Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Eleven

Tenth of December

By George Saunders


Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 

~Job 6:14

Chapter Eleven of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of Kindness with examples drawn from George Saunders’ Tenth of December.

As Karen wrote

The connection between kindness and kinship helps make sense of the reason for envy being the vice that opposes kindness. Aquinas calls envy “sorrow for another’s good.” Unless the relationship is marred by some dysfunction, it is natural for us to celebrate a family member’s happiness or success. When something good happens to someone in our family, it is like it has happened to us. We share in that good rather than envy it. To seek and celebrate the good for others is then to treat them as family in this way. This is what it means to be kind.

If kindness is so easy and simple, why is it so lacking around us?

On Reading Well


Published by

Rick Wilcox

Editor in Chief | Literary Life