To give

I found Gilead such a complete experience that I didn’t feel a need to know more about Lila, a secondary character in the book. But in Marilynne Robinson’s new book, Lila, her occupation of this young woman’s thoughts and experience is so musical and convincing that I’ve read the novel twice and recommend it far and wide. 

BK Loren won the Colorado Book Award this year for Animal, Mineral, Radical: Es­says on Wildlife, Fam­ily, and Food. In these personal essays on environment, friendship, language, and family, the language is rich, deep, and careful, and Loren’s illumination of the ordinary is rewarding.

Glorybound includes snake handlers, foot washing, and vows of silence and chastity. Jessie van Eerden takes the reader into the lives of two sisters in a dying West Vir­ginia coal-mining town. The book is graceful and hopeful and strange.

Christian Wiman’s relentless pursuit of a viable and living language for faith continues in Once in the West, his first collection of poems since moving from Poetry magazine to a position at Yale Divinity School. I will read and reread these poems.

To receive

Nominated for the National Book Award in poetry, Fanny Howe fascinates me with her strange imagery and religious engagement. Second Childhood is a meditation on aging.

Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry is a doorstop of a book. Editors Jay Hop­ler and Kimber­ly John­son cover the personal lyric from its most ancient origins in Western civilization to the present moment.

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 is called “the Holy Grail” for fans of Bob Dylan. The series gathers together all his poetry and music in one place. The music shows the singer-songwriter in process at perhaps the most creative moment of his life.

Veronica Mary Rolf’s book Julian’s Gos­pel: Illuminating the Life and Revela­tions of Julian of Norwich has won several awards for its meditation on both her life and her theology.


Amy Frykholm

The Century contributing editor is the author of five books, including Wild Woman: A Footnote, the Desert, and my Quest for an Elusive Saint.

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