RaveChicago TribuneMuhammad: Forty Introductions is part gonzo devotional, part Muslim primer, and, ultimately, a soul-stirring portal into a personal vision of Muhammad ... a decidedly contemporary collection, reaching into queer theology, feminist commentary and core Islamic teachings. Something of a crash course in Muhammad, Knight’s intellectually charged collection of fragments makes for a multi-textured, many hued mosaic ... Alternating between the professorial and the personal, Knight hits his highest notes when he pushes away from the seminar table and bares his own soul ... While the introductions he’s chosen cover a full range and complexity—from Muhammad’s physical appearance to his family life, infallibility, legal authority and mystical nature—and while Knight boldly puts one interpretation or argument up against another (a seamless synthesis is hardly the point here), it seems particularly telling that he chooses as his closing introduction Islam’s parallel to the Golden Rule ... Knight reminds why this, of all teachings in all religions and world views, matters most in the end.
Yossi Klein Halevi
PositiveChicago TribuneThe argument of critics, though, is that the series of 10 letters addressed to an imagined Palestinian, all written by Yossi Klein Halevi...boils down to a one-sided correspondence ... Halevi, an American-born emigre to Israel, writes with a profound and palpable empathy ... His keen observations — deeply human in scale — ache with a longing to reach across \'the wall between us.\'
RaveThe Chicago Tribune\"Only in the steadiest of hands could the chronicle of a young mother’s stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis and its harrowing aftermath find you chuckling one sentence and wiping away tears the next. It’s with good reason that Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason has grabbed national attention ... Bowler wields one sharp pen, one that flows seamlessly through comic terrain, pausing for laugh-out-loud one-liners, as it probes death and dying young with aching poignancy. Her fluency in both moods and the effortlessness of her reach make this a page-turner of lasting force.\
RaveChicago Tribune...it doesn’t take long to get lulled into the front-porch-rocking-chair rhythms and cadences of small-town Southern gentility ... It’s easy to forget that you’re not just reading the reflections of a gentleman farmer with his mules and peanut crops ... Carter begins this bedrock retracing of a life of faith by recounting, in down-to-earth vernacular, a boyhood steeped in Sunday school and church suppers ... Yet in the next sentence, the 39th American president is reaching for his mainstay philosopher, Reinhold Niebuhr, then quoting activist, preacher and friend William Sloane Coffin, just as seamlessly as he draws from the writings of theologian and Nazi-resistor Dietrich Bonhoeffer ... Carter’s book is necessary tonic — and prescriptive — for these fraught times.
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneLamott is among the religion writers for whom the bleep button is required, which is but one of her considerable charms. As she's proved over and over again, in a shelf packed with books surveying the soul, it's her capacity to firmly situate herself among the certified sinners that draws us deep into her wisdom and teaching. She's us at our worst, or at least us as we sneer at ourselves in the bathroom mirror, pinching back our double chins, wondering why we even dare to leave the house in the morning. And yet, triumphantly, she declares the improbable: It's at the core of our spiritual DNA, this bottomless well of mercy, and each one of us is equipped to dispense it — liberally and without measure.
Robin Lane Fox
PositiveThe Chicago Tribune“A page-turner that might last the whole winter long, come spring you'll be all the
more enlightened. It's a subtle meditation to the end, one that seeps through
painstaking history and mindful analysis.”