Countless academic books have been written about how to interpret literary texts. From reader response criticism to Marxist hermeneutics and beyond, the scholarship on interpretive methods is vast. Yet all these books fail to address a more fundamental question: Why should we read in the first place? Or, to put it another way, why is reading an important thing to do? In order to answer these questions, Thomas J. Millay turns to the wisdom of Danish philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard. In this the first book to be written on Kierkegaard's philosophy of reading, Millay finds that reading does have a specific purpose: it is supposed to change your life. With lucid, nontechnical prose, Millay both establishes the definitive interpretation of Kierkegaard's philosophy of reading and explores the various concrete practices Kierkegaard recommended for its implementation.
Thomas J. Millay is a Lecturer at Baylor University, a Senior Research Fellow at the Hong Kierkegaard Library, St. Olaf College, and a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, where he reviews contemporary fiction.