LJ Best Books 2017

It's time again for LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry and literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.   SEE WHO MADE THE LIST

Best Books 2012: Spiritual Living

Abdul, Rauf F. Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America. Free Pr: S. & S. ISBN 9781451656008. $24; eISBN 9781451656022.
Moving the Mountain
belongs to the class of spirituality titles that are not only growthful for the individual soul but a necessity for the body politic. Abdul, named one of Time magazine’s ”100 most influential people” last year, shows how Islam, rightly applied, can support the rights of women, as well as a full life in contemporary America. (LJ 5/1/12)

All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim. White Cloud. (I Speak for Myself). ed. by Wajahat Ali & Zahra T. Suratwala. ISBN 9781935952596. pap. $16.95; eISBN 9781935952626.
This remarkable anthology offers 45 brief testimonies from American men who are Muslim—gay and straight, convert and birthright, immigrant and native, conservative and radical. It’s an eye-opening glimpse into not only contemporary Muslim life in this country but also the still-hidden inner experiences, secular and spiritual, of American men as a whole. (LJ 7/12)

Barth, Kelly. My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus: A Memoir. Arktoi: Red Hen. ISBN 9780980040753. pap. $17.95.
As more states permit same-sex unions and marriages, American faith communities will continue to scrutinize and reexamine their positions. Barth’s frank, funny, and touching memoir of her struggle for self-acceptance as a lesbian from a conservative background may give readers the personal angle they need to make sense of the issues. (LJ 5/1/12)

Bolsta, Hyla. The Illuminated Kaddish: Interpretations of the Mourner’s Prayer. KTAV.
ISBN 9781602801912. $27.50.
Art is the chosen spirituality of many, and it’s hard to imagine a more splendid choice than this visual poem in tribute to the funerary prayer known as the Kaddish. Bolsta’s words and images, however, are anything but doleful: the motif of the Tree of Life runs through all of these jewel-toned pictures. (LJ 5/1/12)

McCarthy, David Matzko. Sharing God’s Good Company: A Theology of the Communion of Saints. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802867094. pap. $28.
Theologian and writer McCarthy addresses the Christian community’s ongoing relationship with departed saints with remarkable deftness and skill, rendering the subject, otherwise in danger of quaintness, with moving power. His eloquent book goes a long way toward enlarging contemporary Christians’ relationship to both the saints and the Divine. (LJ 7/12)

Reed, Wendy & Jennifer Horne. Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality. Univ. of Alabama. ISBN 9780817317676. $29.95.
Some notable names are contributors here, including novelist Alice Walker and poet/memoirist Mary Karr, but the delight of this collection is its range. It touches on many aspects of women’s religious experiences in the American South, including Susan Cushman on Presbyterianism and Eastern Orthodoxy and Brenda Osbey, discreetly indiscreet on the hidden traditions of New Orleans voodoo. (LJ 5/1/12)



  1. I like this spiritual living book.It meditates my mind and made me realize how humanity works.