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On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books

Reading great literature well has the power to cultivate virtue. Great literature increases knowledge of and desire for the good life by showing readers what virtue looks like and where vice leads. It is not just what one reads but how one reads that cultivates virtue. Reading good literature well requires one to practice numerous virtues, such as patience, diligence, and prudence. And learning to judge wisely a character in a book, in turn, forms the reader's own character.Acclaimed author Karen Swallow Prior takes readers on a guided tour through works of great literature both ancient and modern, exploring twelve virtues that philosophers and theologians throughout history have identified as most essential for good character and the good life. In reintroducing ancient virtues that are as relevant and essential today as ever, Prior draws on the best classical and Christian thinkers, including Aristotle, Aquinas, and Augustine. Covering authors from Henry Fielding to Cormac McCarthy, J...

Title : On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books
Author :
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ISBN : 9781587433962
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books Reviews

  • Samuel James

    On the one hand are rote worldview tests that strip stories and art down to their "good vs bad" parts. On the other hand is a cottage industry of "engaging culture" that usually translates into consuming whatever we like indiscriminately and calling it a Christian exercise. What I love most about this book is how Prior offers a roadmap for something better: Truly seeing reality along the light beams of great books with the aim of attaining Christian virtue. The sections that discuss virtue itsel ...more

  • Ned Bustard

    This was an excellent book—it had great insights into classic works of literature and inspired me to want to read several great books that I have never gotten around to picking up. And, of course, I like the artwork on the cover and at the opening of each chapter...

  • Jeremy

    I received an ARC paperback and read the forward and introduction on June 17–18, 2018. Promotional video here. Commendation here. Claremont review here. Patheos review here. Tony Reinke liked it.

    Forward (Ryken) (pp. 9–11)

    Context

    tradition of appreciating the moral dimensions of literature

    Aristotle and Sidney ("winning the mind")

    Enlightenment/modernity: decline in moral unity

    Leavis's The Great Tradition

    Content

    literary criticism: example theory (return to the great tradition) <— this is only one
    ...more

  • Laura

    Review originally appeared at Servants of Grace.

    Only four pages in to Karen Swallow Prior’s masterpiece On Reading Well, I knew I was in trouble. I love reading in lots of genres, but books about the act of reading are my weakness. I love them. I’ve already read Prior’s first book, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and immediately wanted to be friends with her. I got a big kick out of reading The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs and Lit! by Tony Reinke. I’ve enjoye
    ...more

  • Kirk

    I've only read the Persuasion chapter. Of which, I will try to comment on in the future.

    "Of all Austen's characters, Anne Elliot is the one who is most lovable and most admirable. Elizabeth Bennet is lovable, but until she overcomes her pride, she is not entirely admirable. Fanny Price and Elinor Dashwood are perhaps Austen's two most admirable characters, but they are too passionless to be greatly lovable. Anne Elliot is both of these. She is so because she is self-possessed. In her patience, s
    ...more

  • Amy

    The introduction to this book is worth the purchase price. I finally understand what the word "aesthetics" means...even though it is often thrown around with the assumption that people know what it is (I mean, where was I supposed to learn that?). And that's the great thing about Karen Swallow Prior's writing: it's accessible and instructional at the same time. You're going to wish she was your English teacher, but just reading this book will give you good insight into the practice of reading. I ...more

  • Seth Woodley

    I really enjoyed this book. The variety of great works and virtues examined provides freshness with each chapter. The introduction is well worth the price of the whole book on its own. In addition, there are great thoughts on virtues and works of literature, and I will likely benefit from revisiting some of these chapters in the future. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on faith (Silence), hope (The Road), and diligence (The Pilgrim's Progress). I have read several of the books, but some of th ...more

  • Nathaniel Martin

    I honestly can’t give you a good reason not to read this book.