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American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell (Simon & Schuster)

In a sweeping analysis, Harvard political scientist Putnam and his colleague Campbell measure America's religious landscape. Among their findings: America is a religiously diverse and-contra the currently popular perception-religiously tolerant nation.

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Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith

Stephanie Saldaña (Doubleday)

This gorgeously memoir set in Damascus combines political tension, passion, and spiritual seeking, a timeless blend that offers spiritual sustenance.

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Hillel: If Not Now, When?

Joseph Telushkin (Nextbook-Schocken)

The multitalented Telushkin is the right author to convey the wisdom of the man who could distill the ethical wisdom of the Torah in a single maxim.

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Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference

Desmond M. Tutu and Mpho A. Tutu (HarperOne)

The South African religious leader retired from public life this year, and this book, written with his daughter, is a lovely swan song in a life of faith that has prevailed in the face of the enormity of evil, faith learned as a child and strengthened through love, sacrifice, and failure.

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Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Gregory Boyle (Free Press)

In this surprisingly jubilant and spiritually acute memoir, Boyle writes about difficult social and spiritual work on the streets of Los Angeles that has changed, and saved, the lives of gang members.

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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

William Dalrymple (Knopf)

Through keen observation and adroit focus, Dalrymple conveys the contradictions of modern India, where deeply rooted and diverse religious practice is of a piece with modern economic life.

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Fishers of Men: The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest

Adam Elenbaas (Penguin/Tarcher)

Elenbaas writes with bravery, candor, and humility about mistakes, redemption, and growing up, sounding familiar and universal themes of families and striving and shortsightedness woven into a narrative about an exotic and unfamiliar quest.

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The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam

Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Griswold's on-the-ground reporting ranges from Africa to Asia as she offers poetic and closely observed portraits of people who coexist in varied ways in the geographic area of the world where Christianity and Islam make headlines when they collide.

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Hannah's Child

Stanley Hauerwas (Eerdmans)

The provocative theologian casts a characteristically thoughtful look back in an uncharacteristically self-revelatory way in a memoir that fulfills his mother's powerfully formative intention for her child to do service to God.

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Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

Diarmaid McCulloch (Viking)

Historian McCulloch's ambitious book covers the historic length and geographical and theological breadth of the multiple-millennia-old Christian waterfront in an elegantly written way.

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