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Short reviews of God in the Gallery, Hitler's Private Library, and The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday.

God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art
Daniel A. Siedell | Baker Academic

What do you think of when you hear the words modern art or contemporary art? Few subjects have generated as much obtuse commentary, and the blame for that failure can be found on every hand—starting with artists themselves, and not excluding those whose job is writing about art—but Christians have contributed more than their share to the general muddle. How refreshing, then, to have this book by an evangelical scholar equally conversant with Mark Noll and Marcel Duchamp, one whose fundamental attitude toward creation and the Creator is gratitude.

Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life
Timothy W. Ryback | Knopf

Okay, you resolved never to read another book about Hitler. You might want to reconsider, for two reasons. First, approaching Hitler from an unexpected angle, Timothy Ryback isn't adding a gimmicky volume to the vast bibliography: he's shedding more light on the man than I have found in many full-dress studies. Second, if you are interested—as I am—both in the power of books as carriers of ideas and in books as physical objects, you will find Ryback's own book irresistible.

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
Alexander McCall Smith | Pantheon

The charming and prolific Scotsman follows the latest installment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series with the new Isabel Dalhousie novel, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday. McCall Smith's light touch maddens his critics and delights his far more numerous fans. But these are also novels in which ethical reflection is highlighted—after all, Isabel is the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics—and in which we are implicitly challenged ...
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November 2008

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