Sometimes in reading a book you’re looking for lessons. Sometimes you’re looking for escape.

But according to Karen Swallow Prior, “Great books offer perspective.” The best literature, she says, “replicates the world of the concrete, where the experiential learning necessary for virtue occurs.” In her new book, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Brazos), Prior asks us to read books that make demands of us. And she shows us in 12 chapters how books such as The Great Gatsby, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Pilgrim’s Progress move us toward temperance, courage, and diligence.

Prior is professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and she’ll be speaking on this subject of “reading well” for a workshop at The Gospel Coalition’s 2019 National Conference, April 1 to 3 in Indianapolis. She joined me on The Gospel Coalition Podcast to discuss mortality and morality, on reading well and reading poorly.

You can listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast here.