The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession

Leo Tolstoy (Translated by Peter Carson) (Norton / Liveright)

We're all dying, as N. D. Wilson reminds us in Death by Living, but I have a friend who is dying now, and I read Carson's fine new translation of Tolstoy's great story in light of that. Like many, I first read The Death of Ivan Ilyich in high school, and have read it a number of times since in various renderings, but it hasn't lost its power. This little volume also includes Tolstoy's self-examination, undertaken when he was at the height of his powers. Endnote: Carson died two days after he completed this translation.

Something Borrowed, Something Dead

M. C. Beaton (Minotaur Books)

The prolific Beaton doesn't have many (if any) of her books assigned in high school or college English classes, but people read them, and read them, and read them again. Beaton maintains two long-running series, one featuring Scottish policeman Hamish Macbeth, the other starring the absurdly named Agatha Raisin. That name is important: it punctures a reader's sense of self-importance. And to make matters worse, the covers of the books are shockingly bright. Death in Beaton's books is different from death in Tolstoy's, but there are many mansions in the house of fiction.

Christ Across the Disciplines: Past Present, Future

Edited by Roger Lundin (Eerdmans)

For this outstanding collection of essays, Wheaton College's Lundin assembled an all-star lineup: David Bebbington, John Schmalzbauer, David Livingstone, John Webster, Eleonore Stump, Stephen Barr, Jeremy Begbie, Katherine Clay Bassard, and Sujit Sivasundaram. In addition to representing different academic disciplines, they come from various traditions within the broad range of Christian conviction, and they speak in distinctive voices. The result is an energizing volume to keep at hand next to Mark Noll's Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind and Arthur Holmes's The Idea of a Christian College.

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