Looking Before And After: Testimony and the Christian Life
Alan Jacobs

"Testimony." If you are an evangelical of a certain age, that word will have a powerful resonance for you. It's fallen out of fashion a bit, in part because we have seen a necessary correction to an excessive emphasis on individual Christian experience. Without dismissing this "ecclesiocentric" turn, Alan Jacobs wants to rehabilitate testimony. "What is my story? And how can I tell it?" That's the burden of this superb book, a slim volume based on the 2006 Stob Lectures at Calvin College.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
Haruki Murakami

I'm a walker, not a runner. The two are as different as cats and dogs, with a long history of mutual suspicion. (Runners tend to be rather snooty about their slow-footed cousins, alas.) But I'm not going to let such petty concerns stand between me and a good book. Haruki Murakami, the most widely translated contemporary Jap-anese novelist, is also a dedicated runner (he has even done ultramarathons). His memoir touches not only on that pursuit but also on writing ("writing novels," he says, "is a kind of manual labor"). On both subjects Murakami is a charming guide, and yet I finished his book with a sense of emptiness. We see the world differently.

Paradise Lost
John Milton
Edited by William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon

Here's an idea for your book group. In this, the 400th anniversary of John Milton's birth, why not take up Paradise Lost? Don't be daunted. This new edition, now available in paperback, is well annotated. I'll admit that I've never found Milton congenial. Reading him is a chore for me. But this great poem—one of the indispensable products of the Christian imagination—will repay every minute you give to it.

John Wilson is editor of Books & Culture.

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