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 2013: Spirituality/Religion

Cool, Michel. Francis: A New World Pope. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802871008. pap. $14.

The book for Catholic and non-Catholic readers alike not only to learn about Jorge Maria Bergoglio, the Argentine-born Pope Francis, but to gain from Cool’s shrewd insights into vexing issues facing this new papacy and the church at large. Will Francis prove to be a progressive or a retrencher? Only time will tell. (LJ 11/15/13)




Nouwen, Henri with Michael J. Christensen & Rebecca J. Laird. Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life. HarperOne. ISBN 9780061686153. $25.99.

This posthumously assembled volume of pieces from one of our era’s most popular spiritual writers takes up the topic of discernment, which meant to Nouwen not only finding spiritual direction but recognizing the need for profound attentiveness to others and to self for the glimmerings of divine wisdom. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 8/16/13)




Ourvan, Jeff. The Star Spangled Buddhist: Zen, Tibetan, and Soka Gakkai Buddhism and the Quest for Enlightenment in America. Skyhorse. ISBN 9781620876398. $24.95.

There are many books now on the more technical aspects of Buddhist doctrine and practice, but this field guide to the most prominent U.S. Buddhist sects is a piquant combination of autobiography, anecdote, illustration, and history. (LJ 8/13)




Watson, Francis. Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802840547. pap. $48.

UK biblical scholar Watson’s latest may intimidate some with its intellectual heft, but it is an outstanding examination of the four canonical Gospels, a book for our time, recognizing ambiguities. Don’t miss the excellent side study of the “four creatures of the Apocalypse” in early Christian art. A deeply significant work.




Wilkie, David. Coffee with Jesus. InterVarsity. 2013. ISBN 9780830836628. pap. $16.

This collection of strip cartoons, originally seen online, uses the simplest means—clip art—to the richest ends: disarmingly funny reflections on human failings and faith, featuring stock characters in conversation with an amusing and amused Jesus. Revelatory.