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First published in 2008, this lovely book is now out of print. But it's still readily findable—and worth seeking. Like the author, I was raised in churches in which the "liturgical year" was deeply alien, associated with the mummery of Catholicism. In The Circle of Seasons, Kimberlee Conway Ireton tells how she and her husband were introduced to the arc of the church calendar and reflects on the story it tells: "[P]aying attention to the circling of the seasons has deepened my faith, grounding my life with Christ in time, in Scripture and in community."

The Best American Essays 2012: Edited by David Brooks
Series Editor, David Atwan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


There are many fine essays in this collection. One of them, "My Father/My Husband," by David J. Lawless, first published in Prism, particularly stood out for me. Unlike much of what I've read about severe dementia—in Lawless's case, afflicting his wife of more than 50 years—this account rings true to my own experience. Note: Though at least a couple of the writers represented (Lawless included) are Christians, God and faith are almost entirely unmentioned in the 300+ pages of the book.

One for the Books
Joe Queenan (Viking)


A book about books and reading. Step 1: Open at random. Step 2: Read a sentence or two: "Several years back, literally overwhelmed by the flood of material unleashed each year by the publishing industry, I decided to establish a screening program, whereby I would only read books that at least one reviewer had described as 'astonishing.' Thus, I was overjoyed by the great news that Alice McDermott's new novel …" Step 3: Look up from the page, realizing that you have been reading steadily for an hour.

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December 2012

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