Religion Book Reviews (page 174)

THE BIBLE AS IT WAS by James L. Kugel
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Bible'' is really a series of texts filtered through the imaginative perceptions of its ancient exegetes. (24 illustrations, not seen) (History Book Club main selection)"
An extraordinary, pathbreaking scholarly achievement: an annotated anthology of interpretations of ancient (mostly 100 b.c.300 a.d.) interpretations of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) culled from hundreds of sources. ``Interpretation'' here often refers to the homiletical expansion of a biblical narrative—known in the Jewish tradition as midrash—particularly to fill in narrative gaps and vague allusions, or to resolve morally problematic passages. Read full book review >
JOYFUL NOISE by Rick Moody
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"In its narrow purview, this New Testament revisited is considerably less juicy than the original."
A bid to shed fresh light on the New Testament, weighed down by a disappointingly predictable party line: Jesus-as-radical-moral-teacher. Read full book review >

NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

The origins of humankind have inspired endless speculation in myth, religion, philosophy, and science. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Written in a refreshingly easygoing style, this new view of why Jesus' radical message spread so rapidly is clearly aimed at a mainstream audience."
An insightful portrayal of Jesus as a classical hero-martyr, by New Testament scholar Riley (School of Theology, Claremont). Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF DAVID by David Rosenberg
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Both Rosenbergs are so focused on pseudo-scholarly speculation, creative flights of fancy, and polemics, that for pages on end they almost entirely lose contact with the beguiling, ever-contemporary narrative that the author of the David story, whoever he was, offers."
Like The Book of J, on which Rosenberg collaborated with Harold Bloom, this is a highly speculative theory about a biblical author—here, of the novella-like section on King David in 2 Samuel—plus a very free adaptation of that biblical narrative. Read full book review >

NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

An unconvincing attempt to prove the existence of God in a postmodern culture. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Judaism's long history with unparalleled intellectual empathy and thoroughness."
A mixed bag of 23 essays, most previously unpublished in English, by the passionate German-born Zionist and master scholar of Jewish mysticism. Read full book review >
MY BROTHER by Jamaica Kincaid
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 20, 1997

"These are my thoughts on his dying,'' and reveals the book's flaw: My Brother is a tirade of depression and confusion that fails to make sense of the maelstrom. (First printing of 75,000; author tour)"
The death of Kincaid's brother from AIDS results in a book that is lyrically beautiful and emotionally forceful, but lacking a deep examination of its many themes. Read full book review >
THE DARK LADY FROM BELORUSSE by Jerome Charyn
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 17, 1997

"Youth was the magical place of Charyn's inspiration and it is captured here honestly and simply. (photos, not seen)"
Charyn's fascination with quirky New York crime stories (El Bronx, p. 21, etc.) takes its cue from his early childhood, as this brief, charming, idiosyncratic memoir shows. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 17, 1997

"Now that may be an authentic American Buddhism. (Author tour)"
A self-absorbed but still instructive trek through the many varieties of American Buddhism. Read full book review >
GOD AND THE AMERICAN WRITER by Alfred Kazin
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 16, 1997

"Often more ecstatic than analytic, still this is an intensely erudite rereading of American authors' varieties of religious experience."
Writing with his usual stylistic verve and penetration, Kazin examines our great authors' uneasy but self-sufficient sense of God. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 14, 1997

"There's much provocative, compelling material here, but the author's conclusions are too often contradictory or unpersuasive."
A richly informative, if highly problematic, overview of anti- Jewish bigotry and violence between the 1870s, when the term ``anti-Semitism'' was coined, and the Holocaust. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >