Greg Garrett and Sabrina Fountain
WJK Press, 376 pages
How I love this new book! Let me count the ways. I could be begin with the luminous essay by Sabrina Fountain in the foreword that sets the deep purpose for this collection. There she describes her own love for books that provide more than solace and more than inspiration. They are more like the ground on which we stand. Fountain says something I understand: “I have a deep reverence for books and still find them profoundly comforting as physical objects.”
This book is about the content within great literature that sustains the mind and heart throughout a lifetime. That, too, is what I love. She and co-author Greg Garrett have gathered a wide array of voices from literature across the centuries. It’s obvious the care that has gone into the selection. The title itself comes from a line said by preacher John Ames in “Gilead,” the now classic by Marilynne Robinson.
As if literature were not enough, the authors have accompanied each reading from literature with one from the Bible. The juxtaposition provokes its own wonderment. Where else can you find an observation from “Crime and Punishment” next to counsel from the First Letter of Peter? Frederick Douglass in conversation with Galatians? The “Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin is set down next to Prophet Isaiah. All one can do is listen. Listen and pray. Which brings me to another love of this book: prayer. The feast of literature and Scripture is accompanied by prayer. This is a rare book. It may save you from much despair, and in doing so, bring you much hope.