The title of this collection of essays is something of a misnomer. References to Marilynne Robinson's childhood library are scant, providing only fleeting glimpses of her preferences for the works of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe. What this collection does contain in abundance, though, are intelligent discourses on contemporary intellectual culture.
Robinson's vast and observant analyses span both anthropological and theological readings of the many themes pervasive in modern thinking - and specifically the conflicting paradigms of faith versus fact.
Though solely concerned with American culture and politics, Robinson also explores the universal concept of human nature as she re-evaluates the impetuses that drove her to writing as a teenager growing up in Idaho.
"As a writer," she tells the reader, "I continuously attempt to make inroads on the vast terrain of what cannot be said - or said by me, at least." For the most part, Robinson fulfils her goal as she illuminates the cobwebbed corners of her mind. The effort required to relish the collected works presented here will be worth it.