cover image Nine Essential Things I've Learned About Life

Nine Essential Things I've Learned About Life

Harold S. Kushner. Knopf, $23.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-35409-7

As he enters his eighth decade, Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People) offers a capstone volume to his decades as a congregational rabbi and popular writer. In sharply intelligent yet friendly prose, Kushner provides a thoughtful living guide for doubters and the faithful alike. There are pointed but gracious admonitions for those claiming that a self-developed religion is all they need. Your daily paper, spring flowers, and gratitude are not enough, Kushner says: when facing serious illness or other disasters, you need the support of a faith tradition and a community that has "learned to find God in the shadows as readily as in the sunshine." Kushner braids together stories from his professional and personal life%E2%80%94longtime readers will remember that his son died at age 14 of a rare rapid-aging disease%E2%80%94alongside wisdom from biblical and theological texts and commentary on events related to science, culture, and literature. This book is a provocation and a balm for the skeptical and the religious, offering persuasive evidence that belief, forgiveness, hope, altruism, and joy are all possible, even in the face of death. (Sept.)