*Believers have been writing about their spiritual journeys ever since St. Augustine invented the autobiography 16 centuries ago. Today, spiritual memoirs are enjoying a popular resurrection.

Exhibit A is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” which describes Gilbert’s midlife meltdown and her subsequent yearlong global quest for food, salvation and sex. Published in 2006, the book has sold some 8 million copies.

“I used to have this appetite for my life, and it is just gone,” says actress Julia Roberts, who plays Gilbert in the film adaptation. “I want to go somewhere where I can marvel at something.”

For her part, Gilbert isn’t sure why “Eat, Pray, Love” struck such a powerful spiritual chord.

“My questions, for some reason, about my life intersected, dovetailed, with questions that apparently a lot of other people, women in particular, at this moment in history, were asking about their lives,” she says in a video conversation on her website.

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