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Review

One Night Two Souls Went Walking

In One Night Two Souls Went Walking, we follow a young interfaith chaplain as she carries out her nightly duties on a hospital ward, easing patients through their final moments and comforting loved ones in their newfound grief. She was drawn to the job through her fascination with the concept of ...

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Beyond the Book

Animal Assisted Therapy

Throughout Ellen Cooney's One Night Two Souls Went Walking, there are several key scenes in which our narrator – a hospital chaplain – observes therapy dogs at work. The book comments on the grace and importance of the service these animals provide for patients, from aiding recovery to ...

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Review

Truthtelling

The word "unsayable" can mean something is too vast to be put into words. Alternatively, it can refer to the things we can't say because they'd be hurtful or they'd make us look bad. In Lynne Sharon Schwartz's short story collection Truthtelling, the author communicates the unsayable — both ...

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Beyond the Book

The Apple in Religion and Myth

The unnamed mother in Lynne Sharon Schwartz's story 'Apples' rejoices when her picky daughter delights in a new kind of apple that makes her 'elated and energetic and enthusiastic.' The mother is so impressed she mentions to the pediatrician that the apple might be magical. This character is ...

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Review

The Book Collectors

About halfway through The Book Collectors, I was disappointed. I came into the book with a preconceived notion that this was going to be a life-and-death story about a library. A Schindler's List, of sorts, about saving books in war-torn Syria. Yet, I felt it was missing the mark.

It was not the...

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Beyond the Book

Libraries and Other Imagined Communities

In The Book Collectors, a band of Syrian resistance fighters work together to salvage and share books from their bombed-out suburb of Damascus. The book focuses on the protagonists' newfound passion for reading, which helps them cope with the hardships of everyday life during very dark times. ...

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Review

Blue Sky Kingdom

Who hasn't dreamed of escaping all of the trappings of today's modern life and finding a secluded, spiritually immersive oasis to reinvigorate the soul? Yet dreaming and doing are worlds apart. Not so for Bruce Kirkby, wife Christine, and sons Bodi and Taj. In Kirkby's travel memoir Blue Sky Kingdom...

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Beyond the Book

The Spirituality and Symbolism of Buddhist Art

In today's world, art therapy has become an increasingly popular option. According to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), this experiential treatment 'is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote ...

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Review

My Heart Underwater

Corazon — Cory — Tagubio is a Filipina-American teenager living with her family in California. She knows she could be a better daughter and a better student at her Catholic high school. But these ordinary concerns are set aside when a new AP World History substitute teacher, Ms. Holden, ...

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Beyond the Book

Books by Filipino Authors for Young Readers

Not that long ago, it would have been difficult to find many young adult or middle-grade novels featuring a Filipino or Filipino-American protagonist, let alone Filipino settings and customs as we see in My Heart Underwater. Fortunately, that is no longer the case.  In 2005, Melissa de la ...

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Review

Black Sun

Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it will leave them feeling a bit unsatisfied. After all, even if it's a remarkable read, as the book draws to a close, the characters' journeys are incomplete. They still have an unknown destiny out in ...

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Beyond the Book

Pre-Columbian Religion in the Americas

One of the most spectacular elements of Rebecca Roanhorse's Black Sun is its deep dive into pre-Columbian culture and beliefs. In a stark departure from the usual medieval European landscape used as a foundation in fantasy novels, Roanhorse instead uses the ancient landscape and religions of the ...

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    Seduced by her employer's son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious...

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