Books Uncommon and Offbeat

Short reviews of The Divine Commodity, Something's Rising, and The Reason For Crows.
2009This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

This book is both irritating and appealing, the sort of book that leaves me eager to see what the author will do the next time around. Irritating because it takes on "consumerism," that tempting but elusive target. (Jethani's book itself is a handsomely presented, skillfully marketed consumer product.) The predictable lament about the suburbs comes on pages 142-45. Oh, dear. Appealing because Jethani is no dealer in quick fixes: he writes with wisdom, humility, and a sense of all that lies beyond our grasp. The book includes color plates of Van Gogh's art. Try it for your small group.

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Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal
Silas House and Jason Howard


My economist friends will scold me and talk behind my back, but I'm sorry: I think mountaintop removal is objectively wrong. This is a collection of profiles and interviews intended to inform and persuade. Some of the voices are familiar (folk singer Jean Ritchie and novelist Denise Giardina, for example); many aren't known outside their local circles. A number of them explain how their involvement in this cause grows out of their Christian faith; others indict the church; some do both.

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The Reason For Crows:A Story of Kateri Tekakwitha
Diane Glancy


The crows are Jesuit missionaries to North America, so called because of their garb. (You may have read Brian Moore's novel Black Robe or seen the film based on it.) Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was born in colonial New York, the daughter of a Mohawk father and an Algonquin mother, a Catholic convert, who taught her about God. Orphaned after her parents died of smallpox, which left her with scars and much-reduced eyesight, Kateri practiced her faith despite opposition from her community. Glancy's brief, ...
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