Walking a Literary Labryinth: A Spirituality of Reading

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Riverhead Books, Jun 25, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
9 Reviews
Who of us doesn’t have a list of books that changed our life? Reflecting on her own reading life, Nancy Malone examines the influence of reading in how we define ourselves. Throughout, she likens the experience of reading to walking a labyrinth, itself a metaphor for our spiritual journey through life. The paths within the labyrinth are not straight, but winding, and in the end, it is not the small circle in the center that defines the self, but the whole grand design of the labyrinth—every experience, every person we meet, and every book we read—that makes us who we are.

Malone draws from diverse sources, both spiritual and secular—Virginia Woolf, Saint Augustine, E. E. Cummings, Paul Tillich, Nadine Gordimer, George Herbert, Sue Grafton, Henry James, George Eliot, James Joyce, Patrick O’Brien, E. M. Forster, Franz Kafka, Elie Wiesel, Margaret Atwood, and Tom Wolfe, to name a few. Her thoughtful and beautifully articulated examination of influential books takes in a broad range of subjects, including childhood reading; books as sacred objects; reading and social responsibility; “dangerous” reading, which challenges us to examine our prejudices and beliefs; poetry; and erotic literature. And Malone has compiled a recommended reading list to inspire readers to seek out the unfamiliar or return to old favorites.

In Walking a Literary Labyrinth, Malone invites all us readers, of every religious tradition, or none, to consider the influence of reading in our own lives—how and why particular books stay with us, how they shape us, and how they enlarge our humanity.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thornton37814 - LibraryThing

Malone enjoys reading and views it as a spiritual act. She shares some of her thoughts on how reading is used for spiritual reflection, even sharing thoughts on how erotic literature (not pornographic ... Read full review

Review: Walking a Literary Labryinth

User Review  - Dave Schumacher - Goodreads

I agree with another reviewer who commented that it had a few parts that were good, but that the author seemed too intent on making it a memoir Read full review


Take and Read
Spiritual Reading in a Literary Desert
The Circle Widens

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About the author (2004)

Nancy M. Malone, O.S.U., is an Ursuline nun with a degree in theology from Harvard Divinity School. She was an editor at Religion and Intellectual Life and a coeditor of Cross Currents.

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