Glorybound, by Jessie van Eerden. WordFarm. A luminous debut novel that features two sisters shaped by family estrangement and holiness faith in a hard-scrabble West Virginia mining town.
Hold It 'Til It Hurts, by T. Geronimo Johnson. Coffee House Press. This debut novel and 2013 PEN/Faulkner-award nominee follows an African-American combat vet in his search for his missing sibling, a journey tangled with the fallout of war and race.
The Mirrored World, by Debra Dean. Harper. A reimagining of the life of an 18th century Russian saint, Xenia of St. Petersburg, set against the excesses of the royal court.
Benediction, by Kent Haruf. Knopf. An elderly man in a small Colorado town receives a terminal diagnosis, and the intricacies of human community are revealed in the stories of the people who gather around him.
Pastors' Wives, by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. Plume/Penguin. Inspired by reporting the author did as a former Time writer, this debut novel explores the stories of three women whose lives converge at a Southern megachurch.
Good Kings Bad Kings, by Susan Nussbaum. Algonquin. This winner of the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction is a look at life in a Chicago institution for adolescents with disabilities.
—Compiled by Julie Polter
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At church on a recent Sunday we were encouraged to find ways to see the world differently this week. Change our routine and change our perspective to help us get out of the rut of going through life without actually seeing the world. To that end we were asked to draw a slip of paper out of a basket on which was written some sort of paradigm destabilizer.