Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry

Edited by Jay Hopler & Kimberly Johnson (Yale University Press)

This anthology extends all the way from the Psalms to the 21st century. Most of the poems are Christian; others are written from another religious tradition, or from skepticism, or from an indeterminate space. "Devotional," the editors explain, here suggests "addresses to the unknown, conversations (albeit one-sided) with the divine, in whatever way the authors have interpreted that term." Consider reading Hopler and Johnson's expansive selection alongside Luke Hankins's Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets and David Impastato's 1996 volume, Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry.

The Skeptical Believer: Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist

Daniel Taylor (Bog Walk Press)

Longtime readers of CT may know Taylor from his pieces in the magazine; others will have become acquainted with him through one or more of his many books, including The Myth of Certainty and Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our Stories. Others still, without knowing his name, have profited from his work as a Bible translation consultant. Taylor's new book, The Skeptical Believer, is at once an episodic spiritual autobiography and a brilliant exercise in comic theology (a genre that we could use a lot more of).

The Sound and the Furry: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

Spencer Quinn (Atria Books)

It seems like just a year or two ago that the first Chet and Bernie adventure appeared—but in fact, Dog On It was published in 2009, and the latest installment, The Sound and the Furry, is the sixth in the series. How exactly the superb suspense novelist Peter Abrahams reinvented himself as a comic genius called Spencer Quinn is a tale that hasn't yet been told, but never mind: Here we have a case that takes the detective team to the bayous of Louisiana. Not even the environmental-threat twist to the plot (again?!) could diminish the pleasure of Chet the Dog's narration and his friendship with Bernie.

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