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WATCH LIST: February 2018

By Observer Staff

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
(Random House)

In 2013, Kate Bowler published Blessed, about America’s embrace of the prosperity gospel. In 2015, at age 35, she was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. This dark and funny memoir by the Prairie-born historian explores what it means to be sick in a culture that views health and wealth as God’s reward — and mortality as a personal failing. Feb. 6

Sadness Is a White Bird
(Atria Books)

Recounted from an Israeli jail cell, Sadness Is a White Bird tells the story of Jonathan, a Jewish teenager who forms a close bond with Palestinian twins Nimreen and Laith. As his draft date for the Israeli army approaches, Jonathan grows increasingly conflicted between his loyalty to his family and heritage and his love for his Arab friends. Feb. 13

What Are We Doing Here?
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Beloved for her Gilead series of novels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson turns to non-fiction in her latest book, a collection of essays exploring faith and politics in contemporary America. With elegant prose and deep insight, she contrasts the country’s present “state of bewilderment” with a vision of a heroically generous society. Feb. 20

Living Biblically

Losing a close friend makes New York film critic Chip Curry question his priorities. The father-to-be decides to better himself by following the Bible to the letter. But his moral makeover runs into trouble when ancient dictums collide with modern life. This new TV comedy is based on A.J. Jacobs’ bestselling memoir, The Year of Living Biblically. Feb. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET

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