Monday, July 19, 2010

Books By Theme: Holy Lands

Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses
by Bruce S. Feiler

In this "genial travel-journal-turned-spiritual-exploration" (Kirkus Reviews), Jewish author Bruce Feiler teams up with Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren in an attempt to locate and visit some of the most famous places in the Pentateuch--the five Books of Moses that form the Hebrew Torah and the beginning of the Christian Old Testament. Beginning in Turkey, at the alleged site of Noah's Ark, Feiler and Goren explore the Sinai Peninsula, cross into Egypt, and travel through the Negev desert in Israel as well as throughout the West Bank. If you're interested in the geography of the Ancient World and the origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition, don't miss this fascinating book.

Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims Walk 
by Susan Tyler Hitchcock

Through the voices of real people, this detailed work explores the beliefs, practices, and history of five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Incorporating essays (including pieces by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama), compare-and-contrast sidebars, detailed maps, and over 200 photographs "stunning in their beauty and simplicity" (Publishers Weekly), The Geography of Religion not only provides information on the origin and development of some of the world's most popular religions, it also provides glimpses into the daily lives of people of faith all over the world.

Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam 
by Asra Q. Nomani

In 2003, Wall Street Journal reporter and American-raised Muslim Asra Nomani made a pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, for the Hajj (the 5th pillar of Islam, which is required of every able-bodied Muslim at least once in his or her lifetime). Yet by her own admission, Nomani is hardly a model Muslim woman: a single mother whose son was born out of wedlock, Nomani has led a campaign in her hometown mosque in West Virginia to allow women to enter and pray in the male-only main hall. As Nomani and her son complete the Hajj, she explores the historical roots of Islam and reflects on some of the major issues surrounding the faith today, as well as her own experiences as both a Muslim and a feminist.

Journey to the Vanished City: The Search for a Lost tribe of Israel
by Tudor Parfitt

While visiting South Africa, religion professor Tudor Parfitt encountered the Lemba, a group of Jews from Zimbabwe who believe themselves to be members of one of the legendary Lost Tribes of Israel and claim to be the direct descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Intrigued by their story, Parfitt, the author of The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500-Year-Old Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark, embarked on a quest to uncover the origins of the Lemba--using both oral history and DNA testing. Booklist, in a starred review, compares this religious history travelogue to the work of Paul Theroux.

~ For more themed book lists, check out Listless by One Librarian's Book Reviews and Listed by Once Upon a Bookshelf ~


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

These look like really good choices. I am seeing a couple titles here that I would like to read as well.

Zibilee said...

Standing Alone sounds really interesting, as do a couple of the others you mentioned. Thanks for putting together this list!

Rob said...

Someone left a copy of "Walking The Bible" on the free outdoor book shelf at my library. I grabbed it and hope to read it soon.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Really good list! Standing Alone looks like an especially great book.

SariJ said...

Walking the Bible is also a PBS special. Both the book and show are amazing. The books you offer sound wonderful. May I suggest my personal favorite? Karen Armstrong's The History of God is a fascinating look at how the idea of God has changed over time. The book covers many religions.

Veens said...

God I have not heard of any of these books! All of them sound good. And the cover of Seamstress is beautiful.

JaneGS said...

I have been wanting to read Walking the Bible for a while now. Looks great--thanks for the reminder.

claire said...

Walking the Bible is on my wishlist, but you've added two. I'd love to read the Geography of Religion and especially the Journey to the Vanished City.. I LOVE reading about the lost tribes of Israel! Thank you!

Suzanne Yester said...

I like gathering together books by themes and sorting through them. Looks like some interesting titles. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I rarely read this kind of books and I really love to try. Thanks for your honest sharing. I'm a new follower and I found out thaat your blog is great.
Here's an award for your blog. =)

Mystica said...

Like the sound of Standing Alone. Sounds really good.

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