A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, video and music. Categories include theology and spirituality, creative nonfiction, fiction, history and current events, children's literature, TV on DVD, choral Christmas music and popular music.
The colonial Puritans did a lot of good things, but banning Christmas was not one of their better ideas.
A record number of Americans are poor. And by any measure, the poverty rate is rising.
The older and more tattered my Bible becomes, the more it becomes part of me.
We owe our homeland patriotism, but not just any kind of patriotism—because just as we don't choose our parents, neither do we choose our country of origin.
Amy Waldman's debut novel asks us to take a long look at our post-9/11 selves and be disappointed.
The architecture of Naked Spirituality is a bit complicated. But if you can bear with it, you'll find that Brian McLaren offers countless insights.
With his imagination in overdrive, Bruce Fisk has created a fictional character to guide readers through the Holy Land and the thickets of New Testament scholarship.
Craig Brewer, the extraordinary young director of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, brings his sharp ear for southern culture's tone and rhythms to this remake of a 1998 pop musical (itself a remake of a 1984 film) set in a small Georgia town. The problem is that the material is still Footloose.
50/50 is a balancing act: a comedy-drama about a man who learns he has a tumor and a 50 percent chance of surviving. Writer Will Reiser and director Jonathan Levine pull off twin feats: they sustain a tone midway between ironic and poignant, and they touch the audience without pushing pathos at us.
The Harrow and the Harvest pushes Gillian Welch's winning formula further. On Mockingbird Time, the Jayhawks' sweet harmonies and gritty edges are finally back. There's a hefty dose of early Paul Simon on Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues. "Soul" is as good a word as any for Liz Janes's groovy little record Say Goodbye. Tom Waits's Bad As Me is accessible enough to convert some skeptics. And The Head and the Heart's self-titled debut is the feel-good record of the year.