An invitation to an argument: ’25 Books Every Christian Should Read’


Renovaré has a new book out that seems designed to start an argument. It’s called 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics, and it’s just what it sounds like — an introduction to 25 classic works of Christian writing, with excerpts from each and short essays arguing for why [Read More...]

‘In American history, the monsters are real’

W. Scott Poole’s Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting is just exactly that — a history of monsters in America. We’ve got a lot of them — some came to the New World as immigrants, refugees or colonists, some were dragged here in chains, some were born here or [Read More...]

A History of Hell and a whiff of sulfur


Alice K. Turner’s The History of Hell is not a book of theology. The book draws on several disciplines, with art history, literature and folklore all playing a much larger role than any formal theology. And that’s only fitting, because our idea of “Hell” has been shaped over the centuries far more by art, literature [Read More...]

Refusing to bow before the Beast

Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation, by J. Nelson Kraybill, Brazos Press. The book of Revelation can be cryptic, but it’s not really as impenetrable or strange as we sometimes make it out to be. Much of what we portray as baffling in John of Patmos’ psychedelic visions would [Read More...]

That's how the light gets in

It’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Alisa Harris may seem a bit young to be publishing a memoir, but while she can’t look back on a long life, she can reflect on a long journey. Harris proves a lively and insightful guide to that journey, which begins with her childhood in the activist infantry [Read More...]

Christian Smith on biblicism

Books & Culture just posted a review of the latest from Christian Smith, a sociologist who has produced some of the most insightful and useful studies of American evangelical Christianity. Smith’s new book tackles a subject essentially important to evangelical culture and faith: biblicism, or biblical literalism. He’s against it, as is clear from his [Read More...]

'The Leftovers'

Caught Terry Gross’ interview Thursday with author Tom Perrotta on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Perrotta’s new novel, Gross says: … starts with this premise: What if suddenly millions of people instantaneously vanished around the world in a scenario similar to but definitely different from the Rapture? The novel is about those people left on Earth or, [Read More...]

The Quiet American

Revising and extending my remarks from an earlier comment – Graham Green was a cynical old bastard, but he was not only a cynic. In order for him to describe cynicism so well, he must have had a place to stand outside of it from which to make his deft observations. My favorite Green novel, [Read More...]