Feb 23, 2014 — Leah Vincent grew up an ultra-Orthodox Jew. Her family cut her off when she was 16, after she was caught sending letters to a boy. Vincent shares her journey outside the faith in her memoir.
Feb 19, 2014 — The whole debate between science and religion is hitched to the wrong tree, says commentator Marcelo Gleiser. Common ground exists: each is a manifestation of humanity's attraction to the mysterious.
Feb 4, 2014 — In softcover fiction, Colm Toibin imagines Mary's life after Jesus' crucifixion, Anthony Marra chronicles a child's fate in war-torn Chechnya and Jamaica Kincaid meditates on the unraveling of a marriage. In softcover nonfiction, Lesley Hazelton brings Islam's chief prophet to life and James Lasdun recounts being stalked on- and offline.
Feb 2, 2014 — American Muslim author Haroon Moghul was bound and determined to go to his high school prom — and he wrote about it for the new essay collection, Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex and Intimacy. Moghul tells NPR's Rachel Martin that he thought the experience might help him understand himself better.
Jan 28, 2014 — In softcover nonfiction, the four-star general describes a culture gap between the military and civilian worlds, and Bridges explains how The Dude - of The Big Lebowski - is a kind of Zen master. In fiction, James Salter chronicles betrayal, Taiye Selasi looks at a grieving Ghanaian family and Philipp Meyer delivers a multigenerational family saga.
Jan 27, 2014 — It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But in The Pope and Mussolini, historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime.
Dec 21, 2013 — Saturday is the winter solstice — which means it will be the longest night of the year. For many artists and poets, that thought is far from depressing: instead, night's darkness is invigorating. Filmmaker Phil Cousineau has edited a new collection on the allure of the night, and Jeff Dowd — the inspiration for "The Dude" — wrote the foreword.
Dec 15, 2013 — Each Lenten season, Christians travel to Rome to visit a different martyr's shrine each day. The pilgrim-worn path, which dates back to the dawn of Christianity, includes some of the city's most striking churches and historic art. Theologian George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage, says the journey grounded his faith in real places and people.
Nov 29, 2013 — Earlier this week, international negotiators agreed on a deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program temporarily. Author Ariel Dorfman offers context to the reactions that have followed. He suggests a book of poetry by the Sufi master Rumi, a fascinating glimpse into the lives and ideas that shape Persian identity.
Nov 27, 2013 — Contrary to what some Americans believe, Hanukkah traditionally isn't one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. Host Michel Martin speaks with Dianne Ashton, author of the book Hanukkah in America, about how and why the holiday has gained more importance in this country over the decades.