I just completed a book entitled, “BOOKED: Literature in the Soul of Me,” written by Karen Swallow Prior. When I write that I just got done with reading it, I do mean that literally because I finished it about two minutes before 2015 went from future to present. I had been intending to wrap this book up for a while because I do believe that it is that good, but unfortunately I am a terribly slow reader and watch entirely too much television.
The idea behind the book is actually written in the subtitle: “Literature in the Soul of Me.” Dr. Prior, chapter by chapter, reflects on the life that she has lived so far, and gives examples of how she has connected with different books, poems, and writers along the way; all the while displaying “life lessons” that she has gathered from different novels. The author shows the connection with how she learned something, like grace and/or purity (in Chapter 6, which had a profound impact on me), by reading “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” and gained insight into how grace weaves in and around lives by looking at the character of Tess Durbeyfield.
Now, as I was writing the above paragraph, the thought hit me: I do not want to give off the idea that Dr. Prior has written one of those books that some may write after having gone through an increased amount of drama in their life due to their own foolishness and bad decisions. No, no, no! This book is beneficial to anyone who will read it because it is applicable to daily living. Dr. Prior is a bookworm, whose soul has been captivated by the books that she has read. The great thing is she sheds light on how wisdom was gained in different areas of her life, from marriage and one’s teenaged ideas of sex and love to understanding some things as deep as metaphysics. Yeah! That’s right! She gathered her thoughts on metaphysics through the writings and life of John Donne.
I could go on about other chapters in her book, but I will bring it home by stating that any person who can get their hands on this book should do so immediately. In the style that it was written in, this book could be used in any high school or college-level English class. Dr. Prior‘s vocation as a literature professor makes sense of her beautiful command of the English language. It is beneficial and clever that she includes “Discussion Questions” at the end of the book because it may encourage personal reflection for other readers. This book is for anyone, not just those individuals who, like Dr. Prior, possess a deep love of reading and are capable of grabbing hold to the themes of a novel with ease.
Socrates once stated: “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Well, from reading this book, I gather that Dr. Prior has a life worth living and the reader can gain some value in their own life by reading this book and undergoing their own personal and spiritual examination.
(Originally posted on my old and now defunct “Watch Your Theology” website back on January 1, 2015.)