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Friday, November 29, 2019

Books Update: Faith and Reasons

Golden Cosmos
Dear Reader,
We’re entering holiday season for adherents of many faiths, which felt like the right moment to consider three new books about religion. On our cover this week, Nicholas Kristof reviews the latest by the religious scholar Karen Armstrong, “The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts.” And the religious historian Elaine Pagels looks at two new books, “Religion as We Know It: An Origin Story,” by Jack Miles, and “Believers: Faith in Human Nature,” by Melvin Konner.
Back here on earth, things look somewhat less celestial, with books like “The Politics of Pain,” about England’s rising nationalism, and “To Begin the World Over Again,” which argues that the American Revolution had a destructive impact on the rest of the world.
For a dose of cheer, check out this week’s special edition of the podcast, which was recorded live at The Times Center, and covers our 10 Best Books of 2019. My fellow editors and I talked about the 10 excellent books that made our final list as well as some personal favorites that didn’t quite make the cut. That’s democracy, alas.
Please stay in touch and let us know what you think – whether it’s about this newsletter, our reviews, our podcast, our literary calendar, our Instagram or what you’re reading. We read and ponder all of it. I even write back, albeit belatedly. You can email me at
Pamela Paul
Editor of The New York Times Book Review

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