Karen Swallow PriorTHE  BOOK: Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me.


THE AUTHOR: Karen Swallow Prior.

THE EDITOR: David K. Wheeler.

THE PUBLISHER: T.S. Poetry Press: an award-winning independent publisher of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

SUMMARY: A life of books. A life of soul. Booked poignantly and humorously weaves the two, until you can’t tell one life from the other. Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story. This is a book about how books shaped one person’s heart, mind, and soul.

THE BACK STORY: I have loved books since I first learned to read. Books were not merely an escape, but shaped my way of thinking and being. Once I became an English professor and tried to impart to my students this life-changing power of books, I realized it was something I wanted to write about.

WHY THIS BookedTITLE?: My working title was “How Literature Helped Save my Soul.” I think the publisher’s choice of a title is much more poetic and evocative. Much like the pear on the cover.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: When I was looking for a publisher for Booked, I had a hard time finding one because it didn’t fit into an existing category. Now there is a growing category of such books—the “shelfie.” In this increasingly digital age, one of short sound bites and even shorter attention spans, there is a growing recognition of how immersion in a book is formative in ways both personal and universal. I think that is the draw to this book for anyone who loves books. It’s also a kind of spiritual memoir, so I would encourage any fans of that genre to give Booked a try, too.


“Prior loves stories because she understands well their incarnational authority to teach us, to guide us into wisdom. She knows this power so well that she’s devoted her life to sharing her love of stories by teaching them to innumerable students. Booked is effective—moving—precisely because it is written by a teacher who is purposed with love for both her subject and the readers with whom she feels compelled to share it. Yet, Prior’s teacherly voice is also supplemented—sharpened—by a loving observance of the world around her, communicated in passages so literary that they are worthy of the literature that has formed her life and book.” —  Books and Culture

“Ever wished you’d had a teacher who made you want to read the classics? Your wish has come true in this beautifully-told book. Karen Swallow Prior movingly and honestly tells a compelling story of self-discovery and coming to faith through some of the greatest books ever written. Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

In a time when 140-character sound bytes rule the day, great works of literature often go undiscovered. We need to journey back through these works and mine their wisdom, and Karen Swallow Prior is the perfect tour guide. — Jonathan Merritt, columnist, Religion News Service

AUTHOR PROFILE: Karen Swallow Prior, Ph. D., is an award-winning Professor of English at Liberty University. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012) and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014). Prior is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, Think Christian, and The Atlantic. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a Distinguished Senior Fellow with Liberty University’s Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She and her husband live in rural Virginia with sundry dogs, horses, and chickens.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I wrote this book with different readers in mind. I wrote for those who already know and love the kinds of works I write about in Booked. But I also wrote for those who, perhaps, have never warmed up to classic literature or, perhaps, never had teachers to help cultivate their understanding and appreciation of these works. In other words, both novice and expert readers are welcomed in these pages!”


LOCAL OUTLETS: Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore, Liberty University; Hearts and Minds Books, Dallastown, PA

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble PRICE: $15.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Twitter: @LoveLifeLitGod or Facebook:

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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