One of the joys of having so many friends and family members who are writers is living in a house bursting with books. They arrive in waves from publishers seeking reviews; as gifts from their authors; they grow like mushrooms—and I love mushrooms!—in the corners of every room. Tempted as I am to recommend those I give as presents year after year (such as Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, Robert Ellsberg’s All Saints, Ronald Rolheiser’s The Holy Longing), I’ll offer...
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