I'm writing this article in January, just as I return to classes after the winter break. It was a wonderful respite, in part because I had time to do some uninterrupted reading, to lie on the couch and really get into a book, and then another, and another. Fortunately, I received several great books as Christmas gifts –– and I augmented this stack with a few gifts to myself. There was no real rhyme or reason to the selection, but as I look back over my reading spree, I notice that a couple of themes weave the books together, and I'd like to examine them here.

I began the holidays with Sara Maitland's (2008) The Book of Silence, which describes her exploration over a number of years of silence and solitude. They go together. It's difficult to have true silence in...

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