Praying with Jane Eyre: Reflections on Reading as a Sacred Practice (Hardcover)
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"In these soaring, open-hearted essays, Vanessa Zoltan writes with fierce brilliance about suffering, survival, and the kind of meaning in life that can withstand real scrutiny."--John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and The Anthropocene Reviewed
A deeply felt celebration of a classic novel--and a reflection on the ways our favorite books can shape and heal us. Our favorite books keep us company, give us hope, and help us find meaning in a chaotic world. In this fresh and relatable work, atheist chaplain Vanessa Zoltan blends memoir and personal growth as she grapples with the notions of family legacy and identity through the lens of her favorite novel, Jane Eyre. Informed by the reading practices of medieval monks and rabbinic scholars from her training at the Harvard Divinity School and filtered through the pages of Jane Eyre as well as Little Women, Harry Potter, and The Great Gatsby, Zoltan explores topics ranging from the trauma she has inherited as the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors to finding hope, meaning, and even magic in our deeply fractured times. Brimming with a lifelong love of classic literature and the tenderness of self-reflection, the book also reveals simple techniques for reading any work as a sacred text--from Virginia Woolf to Anne of Green Gables to baseball scorecards. Whether you're an avowed Eyrehead or simply a curious reader looking for a richer connection with the written word, this deeply felt and inspiring book will light the way to a more intimate appreciation for whatever books you love to read.
About the Author
Vanessa Zoltan has a B.A. in English literature and creative writing from Washington University in Saint Louis, an M.S. in nonprofit management from the University of Pennsylvania, and a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. She is the CEO and founder of Not Sorry Productions, which produces the podcasts Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Twilight in Quarantine, and Hot & Bothered. She also runs pilgrimages and walking tours that explore sacred reading and writing.