Thirty-two prominent writers share the Bible passages most meaningful to them in this “Sunday School class you’ve been waiting for” (Garrison Keillor).
The Good Book, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik, is “a rich tapestry of reflections” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) by writers from many different faiths, including literary fiction writers (Colm Tóibín, Edwidge Danticat, Tobias Wolff, Rick Moody); bestselling nonfiction writers (A.J. Jacobs, Ian Frazier, Thomas Lynch); notable figures in the media (Charles McGrath, Cokie Roberts, Steven V. Roberts); and social activists (Al Sharpton, Kerry Kennedy). While these contributors are not primarily known as religious thinkers, they write intelligently and movingly about specific passages in the Bible that inform the way they live, think about past experiences, and see society today. Excerpted in The New Yorker and other prestigious publications, some pieces are close readings of specific passages, some are anecdotes from everyday life, and all will inspire, provoke, or illuminate.
Showcasing some of the best-known and best-loved characters and stories from Genesis to Revelation, The Good Book is “often inspiring and always interesting” (Booklist, starred review). This beautiful, enlightening gift “really does justice to the richness and complexity of the texts and how they resonate in our lives” (Krista Tippett, host of NPR’s On Being). “These writers raise questions that are age-old, yet utterly contemporary, pressing, thoughtful, eternal” (Edward Hirsch). “This collection has something for everyone who appreciates good writing” (Library Journal).
This collection of essays from 24 eminent authors and journalists offers the reader a rich tapestry of reflections on the impact the Bible has had on the writers' lives. Familiar names such as Cokie Roberts, Lydia Davis, Lois Lowry, Colm T ib n, and Al Sharpton are represented; others will be new to most readers. New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik provides a fine introduction to what he considers the four major modes of engaging a biblical text: aesthetic, moral-metaphorical, anthropological, and antagonist. Little room is given to literalist thinking. Some entries are short and perfunctory, but many delve deep into theological considerations, usually surrounding personal hardship. Andre Aciman writes beautifully about loss and blessings in "Deuterogeniture, or How I Killed My Grandmother." Lowry, in "The Book of Ruth," relates the gut-wrenching yet affirming story of coping with her son's death just a few years after he was married. There is humor in the collection as well, with writers such as Tobias Wolff, A.J. Jacobs, and James Parker providing a discerning eye and a cutting wit to their biblical experiences. Poet and oblate Kathleen Norris provides an outstanding piece in "Desert Stories," which sums the collection up nicely: " is meant to keep reaching out to us and, despite our inattention and indifference and infernal self-absorption, every now and then hit us in the gut."