The Church and Literature
Edited by Peter Clarke and Charlotte Methuen (Boydell & Brewer)

The range of this collection of essays is much wider than you might suspect from the rather bland title, encompassing not only "Gregory the Great: Reader, Writer, Read" and "Was Anyone Listening? Christian Apologetics Against Islam as a Literary Genre," but also "A Novel Resistance: Mission Narrative as the Anti-Novel in the Evangelical Assault on British Culture" and "Jesuit Pulp Fiction: The Serial Novels of Antonio Bresciani in La Civiltà Cattolica." This feast of a book takes us outside familiar conversations and offers much needed historical perspective, so that we can see current debates afresh.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln A Novel
Stephen L. Carter (KNOPF)

Election Day 2012 is imminent. I can't think of a better book, for this particular moment, than Stephen Carter's counterfactual novel. It's a spy story, a legal thriller, and a meditation on race. But along with all this, it is one of the wisest accounts of American political life I have seen in a long time. No matter how you plan to cast your vote, you will profit from Carter's thought experiment.

Arlo Needs Glasses
Barney Saltzberg (Workman)

If you wear glasses, you probably remember getting your first pair, wearing them reluctantly. This ingeniously designed and supremely witty pop-up, pull-out book is for you—and for your kids, who will probably need glasses too. Arlo is a nearsighted dog. The glasses-wearing boy who loves him takes Arlo to the eye doctor, where his vision is tested and glasses are prescribed. The final spread ("Arlo loves to read!!") features a pop-up array of books (Virginia Woof, for instance). Irresistible.

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