Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice University, interviewed natural scientists and social scientists at élite American research universities to probe their attitudes toward religion and the relationship between science and religion. Instead of sweeping generalizations, she gives us individualized voices representing a broad spectrum of convictions. Her moderately optimistic findings suggest that "boundary pioneers" like Francis Collins—who seek to "translate science for a broader believing public"—will have an increasingly important role to play. In evangelical circles, we still have a long way to go, but there are hopeful signs—including the appearance of a book such as this.

Silk Parachute
by John McPhee (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


"The massive chalk of Europe lies below the English Channel, under much of France, under bits of Germany and Scandinavia …." I was hardly aware of the existence of the "massive chalk of Europe," but with John McPhee as guide, I happily followed for more than 30 pages. Later in this delightful collection of essays I read about lacrosse and even (against all my instincts) golf, saving as a treat a piece on fact-checking in The New Yorker. I start each new McPhee book hoping for signs of an improbable turning toward faith.

Thereby Hangs a Tail A Chet and Bernie Mystery
by Spencer Quinn (Atria)


In the gallery of great characters in detective fiction, from Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown to Precious Ramotswe, we need to make room for a newcomer: Chet, the canine narrator of a light-hearted series in which this book is the second installment. With his partner, private investigator Bernie Little, Chet is so palpably real that I cannot believe he exists only in marks on a page ...

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May 2010

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