Glimpses of Another Land: Political Hopes, Spiritual Longing
Eric Miller (Cascade Books)
Many readers of Christianity Today will know Eric Miller from his pieces in the magazine, several of which are included in this splendid essay collection. You could open the book and start anywhere, but ct readers in particular might want to begin with the essay entitled "Elusive Unity" (first published in Touchstone), which uses the life and work of Carl F. H. Henry to consider the vicissitudes of modern evangelicalism and the hope for Christian unity—"a unity always beyond our reach," Miller writes, "yet necessary all the same."
Essays: A Fully Annotated Edition
Henry D. Thoreau
Edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer (Yale University Press)
Henry Thoreau is one of those figures so towering, so encrusted with legend, so overly familiar, that we must rediscover him to see him at all. This well-conceived selection of 15 of his essays—the latest in a series of annotated Thoreau volumes from Yale—is an invitation to do just that. Don't be put off by the word annotated. This is a book intended for the general reader. You can dip into the notes—placed in capacious margins—whenever you want, or ignore them altogether. One of my favorites is the essay "Walking," which includes this classic Thoreau sentence: "Any sportiveness in cattle is unexpected."
The Whiteness of the Whale: A Novel
David Poyer (St. Martin's Press)
As the title suggests, this novel is a tribute to Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. It's both a novel of ideas and a nonstop story of the kind that gets you in its grip on the first page and doesn't let go. The protagonist, Sara Pollard, is a scientist who joins a small, eccentric crew for a voyage in Antarctic waters. Their vessel, Black Anemone, is a state-of-the-art sailboat, "all white fiberglass and curves." Their mission, sponsored by the Cetacean Protection League, is to document and interfere with brazen incursions by Japanese whalers into protected areas. Best read in one sitting.