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  • Beautifully written memoir recounts lives of Syrians, nation in peril

    "The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria" by Alia Malek. Nation Books (New York, 2017). 334 pp., $27.99. "The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria" is as much an account of Syria as it is a beautifully crafted narrative of a Syrian family and an independent first-generation Syrian-American woman.

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  • Authors guide readers toward healing of hurts caused by churches

    "Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics" by Father Thomas Berg. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Indiana, 2017). 208 pp., $15.95. "Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting With a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church" by Carol Howard Merritt. HarperOne (New York, 2017). 232 pp., $25.95.

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  • Author's take on why church matters seems like time travel to 1950s

    "All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters" by Pat Gohn. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2017). 181 pp., $13.95. "All In" begins with author Pat Gohn describing how her commitment to the Catholic Church is like her gradual appreciation of her husband's enthusiasm for tinkering with old MGBs. Her husband's passion for cars became hers because she learned to love what he loves.

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  • Translator's expertise brings readers to new appreciation of Bible

    "The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible" by Sarah Ruden. Penguin Random House (New York, 2017). 229 pp., $26.95. Throughout "The Face of Water," Sarah Ruden brings her translator's expertise in the languages and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world to discuss the Bible. She shows how for ancient literature "form and content are inseparable, and equally important."

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  • Senator proposes unconventional approaches to character building

    "The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis -- and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance" by Ben Sasse. St. Martin's Press (New York, 2017). 306 pp., $27.99. There are two subjects U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, deems off-limits while analyzing what he calls "America's coming-of-age crisis:" sex and politics.

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  • Enjoyable bio looks at McDonald's businessman, his philanthropist wife

    "Ray and Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away" by Lisa Napoli. Dutton Books (New York, 2016). 353 pp., $27. Ray Kroc was driven to succeed. The first 50 years of his life he hustled to sell paper cups and then milkshake machines. He supported his wife and daughter in a little house in the Chicago area but never hit the big time. But he never gave up on his dreams, and he continually looked for opportunities to prosper.

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