Jericho's Fall
Stephen L. Carter

Carter's fourth novel is bracketed by an epigraph from the Book of Joshua and an author's note with this wonderfully deadpan sentence: "The problem of mental illness among intelligence professionals is often said to be endemic." A departure from Carter's usual fictional territory—the world of the black élite—Jericho's Fall is a smooth confection, a witty thriller with a touch of gothic that probes timely moral issues even as it keeps you turning the pages.

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Religion in the National Agenda: What We Mean by Religious, Spiritual, Secular
C. John Sommerville

Sommerville (How the News Makes Us Dumb) is a principled contrarian, as opposed to the showoffs, and his latest exercise in thinking against the crowd is one of the most useful books in years on an important subject that generates a lot of blather. To what extent can we speak meaningfully about "religion" generically? Is Hinduism a religion? Confucianism? Satanism? Secularism? Sommerville's approach is to examine carefully how we use the words religion, spiritual, secular, and the like. Whatever your own angle on religion, I expect that you will profit from Sommerville's book, as I have.

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Naming Infinity: A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity
Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor

Fifty years ago, C. P. Snow gave a soon-to-be famous lecture on the "Two Cultures" of modern society, the culture of the humanities and the culture of science, and the need to bridge the gap between them. Today we are more likely to hear debates about the alleged gulf between science and religion. Both divides are bridged in this superb book, which takes us from French rationalism at the turn of the 20th century to a thriving center of world-class mathematics in Moscow, where the presiding figures were also devout Russian Orthodox believers of a mystical bent.

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