To my mother’s chagrin and in spite of her relentless efforts, I did not read books as a child. I read only baseball box scores. Then Edvart Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth captivated me in high school, and I’ve been reading books ever since.
I loved Marilynne Robinson’s novels Gilead and Home, with their wise and sensitive portrayals of faith, church, family and aging clergy. Usually when religion appears in fiction and particularly when that religion is Christianity, it is presented as simplistic, treated as a cliché and dismissed. Many best-selling works suggest that religion is a waste of time at best and toxic, anti-intellectual and violent at worst. When I saw that Robinson had published a new collection of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books, I immediately ordered it.