You are invited to a special Trinity Forum on-line conversation with Karen Swallow Prior – Friday, May 21, 1:30 EST

We’re sending out this quick BookNotes newsletter not with any brand new titles or big sales, but with a great invitation for you to join, if your schedule permits, an online conversation tomorrow, Friday, May 21st at 1:30 ET.

Please register for this free online Zoom event HERE.

Mark it down so you don’t forget. It’s going to be good.

Do any of you recall when we had Karen Swallow Prior at our Hearts & Mind shop in Dallastown talking about her then brand new book On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life by Reading Great Books? What a fun and edifying evening it was. She was still hurting from her severe accident – her parents drove her here from Virginia, a charming bit of somewhat famous author book tour trivia that might win you some points in some circles but which struck us as wonderfully generous. She was great, and I was nervous with the crowd and her prestige and, to be honest, wanting to make sure the event wasn’t too weighed down with seriousness. We had an impressive display of all the classic books mentioned in On Reading Well. Some folks were there who do not naturally gravitate to the Great Books (let alone Christian reflections on Aristotelian virtue ethics) and we wanted the evening to make sense to all. It’s a fine line for me to be my goofy self, try to offer some authentic dignity to a dignified guest, and yet keep the event upbeat and light.

Karen was marvelous to chat with and a great teacher, presenter, interviewee. She read from the book, took questions, and we all gushed. I reminded folks of her marvelous first memoir – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T.S. Poetry Press; $14.99) – and her very interesting and I think important work on the writer and abolitionist Hannah More, Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson; $24.99.) She was one of the playwrights and poets who worked with William Wilbefroce and the Clapham sect, using the arts and literature to help reform the moral imaginations of the people so that actual legislative change to end slavery might actually stand a chance.

In more recent years Dr. Prior has collaborated with Joshua D. Chatraw to edite a volume called Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (Zondervan Academic; $29.99) which I liked very much (and reviewed at BookNotes HERE.) It covers all manner of contemporary topics and issues, often with a few different perspectives offered. What a good resource it is! You’ll have to scroll down a bit through other good ones to find my BooksNotes celebration of Cultural Engagement, but I hope you check it out. And it is still on sale!)

Some of you may recall that I had the privilege of hosting another conversation with Karen Prior – this time on facebook live, presented by the good folks at Plough Publishing. The honoree of the evening was writer was Gina Dalfonzo, author of The Gospel in Dickens: Selections from His Works, for which Karen wrote a fabulous foreword. (Plough Publishing; $18.00. It’s still on sale at our 20% off as we described here.) Again, I was nervous, tried to keep it light, but the conversation, fun and fascinating as it was, was necessarily serious. These women authors are thoughtful and care about things that matter.

Can great literature, like Dickens (in that case) make a difference in our lives? In our world? To talk about virtue in these hard times is no small thing and to find inspiration from the gospel portrayed or hinted at in great literature is a major gift. Prior spoke a bit about that and she invited, nicely, Ms Dalfonzo to tell us more.

THIS IS MUCH OF WHAT WE ARE ABOUT.  I say all this to again illustrate some of what Hearts & Minds is about – reading, talking about books, encouraging conversations, trying to change the world for the better, learning to see how books of various sorts can transform our worldviews and our characters, and somehow – please God! – allow us to become the sorts of people that can bear witness to the very good news of Christ’s Kingdom a-coming. When you shop with us you are supporting a family-run, indie bookstore that is trying in our own small way to reform some of what faith-based bookstores are about.

We are inspired in our work by so many these days, not least of which is The Trinity Forum.

The Trinity Forum is an organization founded by Os Guinness (who, by the way, has a brand new book out that I will write about later called The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom (IVP; $25.00.) They sponsor remarkable, important speakers and live conversations and they arrange reading groups for those throughout the country who are will to read solid excepts of classic writing. They offer a lot of great content and we appreciate them a lot. You should join!

Their usual host of their Forums is the very sharp, delightfully eloquent, always charming, Cherie Harder. To hear her interview scholars, writers, public intellectuals, artists, and theologians is always a great blessing, and to watch her offer intellectual hospitality to so many is breathtaking to me.

Over the years The Trinity Forum has hosted events live (mostly in a stately hall in DC) but they now serve us all by doing their programs on line. Ms Harder has hosted thoughtful and stimulating speakers as diverse as  modern artist Makoto Fujimura to Ruth Haley Barton on the spirituality of solitude; from political pundit and legal thinker David French to hip-hop artist and activist Sho Baraka. She has interviewed philosopher James K. A. Smith, Dr. Lydia Dugdale, journalist David Brooks and — twice, I believe — a feisty and wonderfully friendly conversation between conservative Catholic philosopher Robert George and radical black leader Cornel West, dear friends with very different views of things. The moderated Trinity Forum conversations – questions and replies – are usually astute and a great part of the evening.

I say all this to remind you that The Trinity Forum is a great resource (and many of their conversations are archived) and to remind you that this Friday, at 12:30 EST, Cherie Harder will again be talking with Professor and writer Karen Swallow Prior.

They will be discussing the relevance of reading Jane Austen.

As the good folks at Trinity Forum put it:

Austen offers a trove of wisdom to anyone who desires to live and love more fully and truthfully. As Prior writes in a recent Trinity Forum Reading, Austen is a “clever satirist, an insightful moral philosopher, and a deeply Christian thinker.” Her humorous writing, complex characters, and insightful observations on human behavior disarm our defenses and demonstrate the power of the virtues of humility and prudence, and the balance of reason and passion, perception and perspective.

Speaking of Austen’s Christian faith, Prior says,

Hers was the restrained, quiet, and personal faith of her Anglican tradition. Her novels are less altar calls than liturgies of ordinary life.

Austen’s world may feel quite removed from ours, but her focus on such everyday liturgies illustrates the importance of the seemingly mundane and illuminates the path towards repaired and rightly ordered relationships. We hope you will join us!


By the way, to further illustrate Dr. Karen Swallow Prior’s interest in helping us appreciate some great literature, she has annotated and introduced a few classic novels in special editions, nicely created by B+H Publishers. We’ve got them, of course. See her editions that they are calling “A Guide to Reading and Reflecting.” such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and, of course, Austen’s Sense and Sensibilities, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic Frankenstein. Each sell for $17.99 but at our BookNotes 20% OFF each are only $14.39. (Rumor has it she is working on two more for 2022.) Nice, huh?

It is very helpful if you would tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders. Although we can’t say here exactly what your order would cost since the weight and destination varies, you can use this as a thumbnail, general guide.

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, or, we use UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. We’re at your service.

  • USPS has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but slow and may be delayed. For one book, usually, it’s about $3.75.
  • USPS has another option called “Priority Mail” which is about $8.00 for one or two books and that gets more attention than does “Media Mail.”
  • UPS is more reliable but about $9.00 for one book or two to most places.



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Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313

We are still not allowing in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health and the common good (not to mention the safety of our staff and customers.) We are doing outdoor, backyard service, curb-side delivery, and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the ongoing pandemic. Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere.

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 Monday – Saturday; closed on Sunday. Thanks for your support.