Book Review & Giveaway – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior


A while back, my former college professor and friend, Karen Swallow Prior, sent me a copy of her new book to read and review. She also gave me a copy to giveaway on my blog. I’m excited to finally share this with you as Karen is very dear to me.

Review – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me 

In Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me author and beloved friend Karen Swallow Prior writes a beautiful and insightful memoir connecting her love for literature to her own life experiences and personal faith in God. From a very young age, books (and animals) have been an integral part of Karen’s life so it’s only natural that her first published book is titled Booked.

In each chapter, Karen skillfully weaves a great literature classic (Charlotte’s Web, Great Expectations, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Gulliver’s Travel and Jane Eyre to name a few) and relates the main and subtle themes of the novel to her life. Karen helps you see these classics through a biblical lens, ultimately leading you to a greater discovery of self and ultimately God.


Whether you’re familiar with classic literature or not, you’ll fall in love with Karen’s humor, intellect, story-telling, authenticity, depth, and ability to “show” rather than tell a life story. It’s as if you were there with her in every emotion and experience. It’s difficult not to read on to the next chapter.

Having sat under Karen’s teaching for four years as a college student, Booked brought me back to my undergraduate years in Liberty University’s English Department where I fondly remember her contagious passion for the written word and for students to truly grasp just how much words have the power to change a life.

When you finish reading Booked you’ll be encouraged by the truth that God will meet you anywhere at anytime. As Karen writes, “He met me where I was. In the books.” And He reveals Himself in such a way for the purpose of redemption and life transformation.

priorAbout the author: Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She and her husband live on a 100-year old homestead in central Virginia with horses, dogs, and chickens. And lots of books.

** To enter to win a free copy of Booked, please leave a comment on this post. The winner will be chosen using and announced on Monday. 

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  • danielle

    Oh I soooo want to win! I’ve wanted this book for a while, so I’m glad to read your review!

  • Jimmy

    While I have just begun reading classic literature, many of Karen’s articles have been influential in my life. Can’t wait to read this book, whether I win it or buy it.

  • Jessica Ponder

    What a great review of the book. I also took classes with Dr. Prior, and I remember her contagious passion for both reading and truth. I’m excited to read this book. I’m putting it on my Christmas wishlist.

    • samanthakrieger

      Thank you Jessica! Love that.

  • Nancy Mackensen

    Well, with such a great review and the below comments, sounds like a wonderful book to read, and hopefully win! Thanks Samantha!

    • samanthakrieger


  • Cara Strickland

    I read this book this year and it has stayed with me. So many wonderful images and stories. (But I got it at the library, so I’d love to win a copy!)

  • Mark Allman

    My daughter Jessi attended Liberty before graduating from Radford. We liked the school and it is only a couple of hours away. It is nice to know people who went there as well.

    • samanthakrieger

      that’s great Mark.

  • Christine

    What a cool idea! I rarely think about God meeting me in the literature I read unless it is literature specifically written for that purpose. I like that she was touched by many of the books that touched me (Charlotte’s Web etc.). I’d love to read that book! *Pick me Pick me*

  • Brandy

    Awesome. Go Dr. Prior! I remember her passion for literature during my English Novel class! Good memories for me.

  • Dorcas Lam

    I sat through one of Dr. Prior’s class at Liberty. Changed my life and challenged my faith.

  • Debi

    I’ve heard good things about this book!

  • arh717

    I loved this book! I wish I could take Karen’s classes to even learn more!

  • Lindsay

    The literature degree in me is geeking out over this book. I had never heard about it before today, but now that I have, I’d love to win it and read it over my Christmas vacation. :)

    • samanthakrieger


  • Ellen Mandeville

    I already own it, but would love to give a copy to my pastor and his wife.

  • rh001

    I would love to read this book!