The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs by Marc David BaerWhat it is: a sweeping and richly detailed exploration of cultural and religious tolerance (and intolerance) during the centuries of Ottoman rule in the Middle East and parts of Europe.
Read it for: author Marc David Baer's efforts to encourage readers (and some Western historians) to stop treating the Ottomans as an "other" and minimizing their cultural and religious influence on Europe.
You might also like: Marc Mazower's examination of the Ottoman religious melting pot through the story of one city -- Salonica, City of Ghosts.
The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets by Janine Di GiovanniWhat it's about: the dwindling number of Christians in regions where the religion first took hold, such as Syria and Egypt, and the forces behind the disappearance of communities that have existed for centuries.
About the author: War correspondent Janine Di Giovanni is a fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Her previous work includes The Quick and the Dead (about the siege of Sarajevo) and The Morning They Came For Us (about the war in Syria).
The Jesus I Know: Honest Conversations and Diverse Opinions About Him by Kathie Lee GiffordWhat it is: a heartwarming and engaging collection of conversations about Jesus between television personality Kathie Lee Gifford and celebrities from a diverse group of religious traditions.
Featuring: Kris Jenner, Jimmie Allen, Megyn Kelly, and Kristen Chenowith, and many more.
For fans of: The God Factor by Cathleen Falsani.
Muhammad, the World-Changer: An Intimate Portrait by Mohamad JebaraWhat it is: an accessible and inspiring biography of the Prophet Muhammad, with a focus on the more personal aspects of his life story.
Read it for: the discussion of Muhammad's story in a wider historical context and as possible inspiration for readers to go on their own journeys to change the world.
Try these next: For more reflections on Muhammad try The First Muslim by Lesley Hazelton; for another intimate biography of a world-changing religious leader try Zealot by Reza Aslan or Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas.
Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult by Faith JonesWhat it is: a candid and thought-provoking memoir about author Faith Jones's childhood in and escape from the Children of God (now called The Family International).
Is it for you? Accounts of life within the Children of God regularly involve physical and/or sexual abuse, something potential readers may want to know in advance.
Reviewers say: "A must-read memoir of self-discovery and reinvention that readers will find impossible to put down" (Publishers Weekly).
Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness that Can Heal the World by Rev. Dr. Jacqui LewisWhat it's about: spiritual practices that will foster forgiveness and empathy in our communities, including for our own selves.
About the author: Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is a theologian and senior minister at the Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan also known for hosting the MSNBC show Just Faith and Faith and Justice on PBS.
You might also like: Sit Down and Rise Up by Shelly Tygielski; He Saw That It Was Good by Sho Baraka; Parable of the Brown Girl by Khristi Lauren Adams.
Twelve Tribes: Promise and Peril in the New Israel by Ethan MichaeliWhat it is: a compelling and descriptive portrait of the complex ethnic, political, and religious forces in modern Israel, with a focus on individual stories and everyday life.
Want a taste? “Neither a cautionary tale nor an international role model, Israel is a microcosm, a tiny domain that contains the truth of how the world really works."
Reviewers say: Author Ethan Michaeli's "diligently gathered series of personal stories" manage to reveal "aspects of the country’s character that historians and journalists have been unable to capture" (Kirkus Reviews).
Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat HanhWhat it's about: ways to practice mindfulness and find moments of peace amidst the struggle to mitigate the fallout of climate change and the social upheaval that follows in its wake.
About the author: One of the world's most revered spiritual leaders, Thich Naht Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village school of Engaged Buddhism.
High praise: Naht Hanh's "empowering voice and example will be valuable to those seeking wisdom in a frenetic, threatened world" (Publishers Weekly).
Shoutin' in the Fire: An American Epistle by Danté StewartWhat it is: a lyrical and thought-provoking blend of memoir and social meditation that delves into topics like anti-Blackness, identity, and the complex relationship that evangelical Christianity has with racism.
Don't miss: the moving interspersed stories author Danté Stewart gathered from his grandmother about her personal experiences with prejudice.
You might also like: Faith After Ferguson by Leah Gunning Francis; If God Still Breathes, Why Can't I? by Angela N. Parker.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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