Spiritual Living Reviews, March 1, 2012

starred review star The Illustrated Bible Story by Story. DK. Feb. 2012. c.512p. ed. by Michael Collins. illus. index. ISBN 9780756689629. $50. REL

Lavish illustrations are what we have come to expect from DK, and this latest volume, with its popping colors and layout, is essentially the coffee-table version of the Bible. Illustrated books on biblical themes, particularly books focusing, for example, on a single biblical story or art from a particular period, are in no short supply, but this one is notable in its size and scope. It is an excellent introduction to the narratives of the Bible and contains a smattering of sidebars and supplemental help. VERDICT A splendid confirmation gift or presentation book, a perfect addition to the pastor or priest’s waiting room, and a good choice for students and adults seeking to learn about the Bible for the first time.

starred review star Smith, Richard J. The I Ching: A Biography. Princeton Univ. (Lives of Great Religious Books). Apr. 2012. c.296p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780691145099. $25.95. REL

Smith (humanities, Rice Univ.; Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World) adds a welcome volume to Princeton’s ambitious series. Most writing on the hexagrams of the I Ching, however well intentioned, is either too abstruse or too enthusiastic for the Western or nonexpert reader. Smith approaches the I Ching from the perspective of its history, development, and interpretation, creating perhaps the most interesting book in English about this Chinese classic. VERDICT Essential for academic libraries, this also makes a first-rate introduction to Chinese spirituality for nonacademic readers.

starred review star Greer, John. Seeing, Knowing, Being: A Guide to Sacred Awakenings. True Compass Pr. Mar. 2012. c.264p. ISBN 9780615521831. pap. $14.95. REL

Greer (education, Univ. of Memphis) here offers a fine guide to Buddhist awareness. With a minimum of technical language and a controlled style, he shows how, from the Buddhist perspective, human beings torment themselves as well as how they can gain insight and move toward change. Perhaps most striking of all are the images Greer offers to illuminate various stages of the process, using such concepts as telescope, lost keys, arrow, and music; these metaphors, like poetry, convey more meaning than pages of argument or reasoning. VERDICT An intelligent and truly transformative book, Greer’s guide is well suited both for Buddhists and for anyone curious about Buddhism.

The following titles are reviewed in the March 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.

Engaging the traditions

Crossan, John Dominic. The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction About Jesus. HarperOne: HarperCollins. Mar. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780061875694. $25.99. REL

Kolb, Robert. Luther and the Stories of God: Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living. Baker Academic: Baker Bk. House. Mar. 2012. c.224p. bibliog. ISBN 9780801038914. pap. $21.99. REL

Metzger, Paul Louis. Connecting Christ: How To Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths. Thomas Nelson. May 2012. c.348p. ISBN 9780849947247. pap. $16.99. REL

The Poems of Jesus Christ. Norton. Apr. 2012. c.320p. tr. by Willis Barnstone. ISBN 9780393083576. $26.95. REL

Smith, Huston. The Huston Smith Reader. Univ. of California. Mar. 2012. c.278p. ed. by Jeffery Paine. bibliog. ISBN 9780520270220. $29.95. REL

Advice & self-help

Rockwell, Irini. Natural Brilliance: A Buddhist System for Uncovering Your Strengths and Letting Them Shine. Shambhala, dist. by Random. Mar. 2012. c.208p. ISBN 9781590309322. pap. $18.95. REL

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training the Body and the Mind. Harmony: Crown. Apr. 2012. c.198p. ISBN 9780307888167. $20. REL

Sleeth, Nancy. Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life. Tyndale House. Apr. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9781414326993. pap. $14.99. REL

Memoir & Biography

Giannone, Richard. Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire. Fordham Univ., dist. by Oxford Univ. May 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9780823241842. $27.95. REL

Kelley, Michael. Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God. B&H. Mar. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9781433671692. pap. $14.99. REL

Lamb, Amanda. I Love You to God and Back: A Mother and Child Can Find Faith and Love Through Bedtime Prayers. Thomas Nelson. Apr. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781400203918. pap. $16.99. REL

Ultimate Price: Testimonies of Christians Who Resisted the Third Reich. Orbis. Feb. 2012. c.208p. ed. by Annemarie S. Kidder. ISBN 9781570759550. pap. $22. REL


Pipher, Zeke. Man on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life. Howard: S. & S. Mar. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9781451617214. pap. $14.99. SELF-HELP