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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Year-end Book Review

   Booked is an unlikely title I picked up in the non-fiction section of my church library this month. Its simple title and the shadowy image of a pear on the cover did not seem especially promising. However, it brought me back to my love of English literature, both its poetry and prose, that I studied voraciously at university.  Like its author, Karen Swallow Prior, I had particular plans to go into a certain field of study (for me, political science), but the encouragement of an English professor and a recognition of the value of English as a subject led me to change those plans.
   In this work Ms. Prior traces out the real-life lessons that came to her via great works of literature, whether written for children or adults.  In the process, readers find out a good deal about how Prior's interesting life story, the literature she has studied and her Christian faith have intersected.  They will have opportunity to reflect upon the way in which key books have also influenced them.
   Even though I have read just over half of the works that Prior deals with (Charlotte's Web, Jane Eyre, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Death of a Salesman, and all of the poets), she made the other chapters just as compelling.  On my "to read" list for 2015 I have now added Madame Bovary, Great Expectations and Gulliver's Travels.
   By understanding that old books deal with universal topics, we can continue to be enriched by them.

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