…reading a good book won’t make you a more moral person, but it will help you understand others better. Got it. But what else does reading great literature do? My friend Karen Swallow Prior””who is a professor of English at Liberty University””gave an intriguing answer recently in The Atlantic Monthly. Reading a good book and reading it well makes us more human.
Prior says that “What good literature can do and does do””far greater than any importation of morality””is to touch the human soul. “Reading,” she continues, “is one of the few distinctively human activities that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.” Reading does not come naturally to us, like language does. We must be taught how to read. And, she says, there’s something decidedly spiritual about considering a bunch of words and symbols, understanding them, analyzing them, interpreting them, and especially finding meaning in them.