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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 pr...

Title : On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books
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ISBN : 1587433966
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Number of Pages : 272 pages
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On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books Reviews

  • 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

  • Jay

    In her introduction to her latest book, On Reading Well (Brazos Press, 2018), Karen Swallow Prior writes: “Reading well adds to our life . . . in the same way a friendship adds to our life, changing it forever.” Just as we cultivate our circle of friends and acquaintances (with an unfriend, unfollow, block, or mute), so too ought we to cultivate that other great shaper of character: our reading list, known to many as the TBR.

    In an age when our worth - or at least the value of our words - is ofte

  • 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

  • Dorothy Greco

    Karen Swallow Prior is one of the preeminent thinkers and writers of our time. Her wit, wisdom, and insight always make for a good read. In her third book, Prior chooses 12 literature classics (including The Great Gatsby, Pilgrim’s Progress, and A Tale of Two Cities) and mines them for the virtues that they embody. Swallow Prior has an amazing ability to pull deep truths out of a text and then offer them back to her readers as invitations to grow. In chapter five, which explores faith via the no ...more

  • 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)


    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


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

  • Nathaniel Martin

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

  • Jan

    Dec 3, 2018 3 to 3.5 stars (I think, I'm finding it hard to rate). Loved parts (and especially liked the introduction & chapters on Jane Austen, Pilgrim's Progress, and Flannery O'Connor), but other parts fell flat for me and didn't persuade me to read the book she was discussing. Except possibly George Saunders. Even though I've heard others rave about Lincoln in the Bardo it never interested me. KSP's discussion of his short story The Tenth of December makes me think maybe I should try rea ...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...