Bearing the Mystery: Twenty Years of Image
Edited by Gregory Wolfe (Paraclete)

Since issue number 1 in 1989, Image has been a leader in the renascence of robust Christianity in the public square. Edited from the outset by Gregory Wolfe, and based for some years now at Seattle Pacific University, the journal combines literary intelligence, catholic taste in the visual arts, and ecumenical faith. Where to begin in this alphabetically ordered feast? I would start tasting on page 245 with A. G. Mojtabai's story "Signs and Wonders." But if you close your eyes and open the book at random, you're sure to stumble upon something good.

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Manhood for Amateurs:The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband
By Michael Chabon (Harper)

Swashbuckling fictioneer, screenwriter, and anthologist, Chabon now turns his hand to another genre. If you are a husband, father, or son (or a curious wife, mother, or daughter), you will find these essays worth exploring. A self-described "liberal agnostic empiricist, proud to be a semi-observant, bacon-eating Jew," Chabon says this about Christmas: "Unless we hear the story, the lie, in all its power, we will never understand the truth of it. Nor how far short all of us—including those who most fervently profess that truth—fall."

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The Lost Art of Gratitude
By Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)

McCall Smith is best known for his series featuring Mma Ramotswe, intrepid founder of Botswana's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. But he keeps a lot of literary pots boiling, and I'm also a great fan of the series centering on Isabel Dalhousie of Edinburgh, editor of The Review of Applied Ethics. (How many books, after all, feature an editor in the starring role?) The latest installment of Isabel's adventures includes, as usual, philosophical reflections on everyday life (some triggered by her toddler son, Charlie) and the reappearance of the odious Professor Dove.

Related Elsewhere:

Bearing the Mystery, Manhood for Amateurs, and The Lost Art of Gratitude are available at,, and other book retailers.

John Wilson is editor of Books & Culture, a Christianity Today sister publication.

Other Bookmarks and reviews are in our books section.

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