The "None" Zone

In surveys about religious affiliation, the Pacific Northwest boasts the highest percentage of people checking the "none" box. In Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The "None" Zone, edited by Patricia O'Connell Killen and Mark Silk, religion scholars attempt to define why the Northwest appears to be the nation's most secular region. Those who are involved in religious organizations "are divided among many different groups," and sometimes casually switch affiliations. With detailed information about the religious adherence and voting habits of people in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, this book will be of use to students, journalists and the region's residents. (Rowman & Littlefield/Altamira, $19.95 paper 200p ISBN 0-7591-0625-8; Apr.)

Rumi's Old Man

If book sales are any indication, the most popular poet in America in the last decade has been Jalal al-Din Rumi, a Sufi mystic who died over 700 years ago. In The Drowned Book: Ecstatic and Earthy Reflections of Bahauddin, Father of Rumi, Coleman Barks (who edited Rumi's poetry in the popular edition The Essential Rumi 10 years ago) explores one of the formative influences on the spiritual poet: his father, Bahauddin. In the book, Barks joins with John Moyne, an expert in Islamic Persian, in translating Bahauddin's "The Drowned Book" into English for the first time. (Harper San Francisco, $19.95 192p ISBN 0-06-059194-3; Apr. 13)