A stack of unread magazines waiting on the coffee table or bedside nightstand illustrates the frustration of busy lives. That is why an anthology like The Best Spiritual Writing 1998, compiled by Philip Zaleski is the answer to a prayer. The pieces were published in magazines and journals, some well-known and some obscure, and include both prose and poetry. This anthology has such variety that there's sure to be something to suit everyone's taste and definition of spiritual writing. There is, for instance, a story about a woman's journey into the dark and cold of a Greenland winter, and there is a poem composed for the canonical hours. Also included are pieces on meditation and prayer from eastern, as well as Judeo-Christian, sources. The introduction by Patricia Hampl about the relationship between personal voice and spiritual quest sets the stage for readers to explore some of 1998's most meaningful spiritual writing. Some readers may want to turn first to the writers they know and love like David Steindl-Rast, Madeleine L'Engle, or Thomas Moore. Or readers may look first to the original publications, like Parabola, to explore which spiritual writings merited being included here. Perhaps readers will be drawn by titles like Listening Days or Dog Bite Enlightenment. The best thing about a book like this one is being able to pick it up, read one or two of the offerings, and come back to it in the future. In a world of busy lives and a search for meaning fed by spiritual writing, Zaleski's compilation is a treasure. Helen Stegall is a freelance writer in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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