I was thrilled to read a feature online on Alan Jacobs, one of my favorite professors during my studies at Wheaton College, and also one of the few contemporary authors who I read nearly everything they write.
While studying English literature as undergrads, my wife, Kelly, and I (as of then only dating) traveled to Oxford as part of a study program with two of our professors from Wheaton. One of those was Wayne Martindale and the other was Alan Jacobs. We studied hard, visited historic literary sites around England, played a lot of ultimate frisbee (Alan dubbed “Dr. J” as part of the frisbee teams), and enjoyed building relationships with our professors and their families. Alan taught my senior seminar and it was simultaneously probably the hardest and most enjoyable class I ever took. He made me think deeply and want to think deeply about everything we read, even if I didn’t at first care about it or understand it. Just a short time later, after graduating, I later worked with Teri, Alan’s wife, at World Relief, but that is another story.
Alan writes with some of the deepest perception I have encountered about contemporary culture, technology, literature, and faith. While I thoroughly enjoy his collections of essays, such as Wayfaring and A Visit to Vanity Fair, his recent book-length works have made the most lasting impact upon me.
His literary biography of the Book of Common Prayer is outstanding, both historically and theologically. His book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction is probing, thoughtful and delightful at the same. And his most recent book, How to Think, should be, in my opinion, required reading for…well, everyone.
Take a moment to read the feature on this remarkable man here.