- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Mariner; 2005 ed. edition (October 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780618586431
- ISBN-13: 978-0618586431
- ASIN: 0618586431
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,486,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best American Spiritual Writing 2005 Paperback – October 5, 2005
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Forget about spiritual, this is some of the best recent American writing, period. Culling from everything from the Sun and American Soldier to the New Yorker and Christianity Today, Zaleski amasses a treasure trove demonstrating one of the most extraordinary things about American thought--that some of the best of it happens to be spiritual. Whether it's Brooks Haxton reflecting upon his maternal grandfather's morocco Bible, whose pages are "translucent with the oil and dark still with the dirt of his right hand," or Jean Bethke Elshtain recalling her thrifty childhood in "You Kill It, You Eat It," the act of honoring one's parents appears here as both profound and deeply spiritual. When entomologist Margaret Erhart anguishes over the dilemma of having to kill insects to study them, and self-admittedly nonreligious Todd Gitlin reports on cremations in the Indian city of Varanasi on the river Ganges, each spurs reflection on how powerfully spiritual thought can emerge in everything from the most mundane to the most uncommon of human experiences. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"The collection is a thought-provoking and often poignant read."
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This volume, like the other collections of spiritual writings from previous years, represents a wide variety of spiritual traditions and do not subscribe to any one set of religious values. Each piece does, in some way, challenge us to look within ourselves and at our world. While it is not a self improvement book, it doe shave the potential to challenge and change the reader. What I enjoy most about the pieces included in these collections is that many are true to a specific religious or spiritual tradition, yet they also have a way of transcending that tradition and speaking to all people. A piece that comes to mind in this collection that does this is David James Duncan's "The French Guy." The piece tells of the author being asked to give a talk about the ecological meaning of St. Francis of Assisi's life, which the author contends was never a part of his life even though he is considered so by many in the ecological movement. Johnson discusses Francis' life from a Catholic perspective, not taking him out of the context of his time, and presenting a figure who may be at home in the Catholic tradition, but has elements that can speak to people from a variety of traditions.
As in the past, there are some well known names in spiritual writing such as Harvey Cox, Brian Doyle, Kenneth Woodward, Richard John Neuhaus, and Heather King (what makes them well known? I own and have enjoyed copies of books they have written) as well as some whoa re emerging writers and the original writings were published in a variety of periodicals, some religious or spiritual and other secular. While I always rush through the volume as soon as I purchase it, I often find myself rereading favorite pieces throughout the year and find that so many of the pieces have a great deal to say.