Category: Book Reviews

“Mormonism”: A Perfect Storm

Library Journal this month ran an interesting article offering a big-picture perspective on the world of LDS and LDS-related publishing, highlighting close to 40 books on doctrine, history, sociology, comparative theology and devotional topics, as well as periodicals, video, and internet resources. The article’s aim is to help librarians choose recent, reliable books about Mormonism, whether they work in a public or small academic library.

Meet Your Inner Fish

I recently read Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon Books, 2008) by Neil Shubin, a paleotologist and professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago. By coincidence, Jared at LDS Science Review had posted the same book in his “Currently Reading” list. Here is our conversation about this interesting book.

Book Review: The Host

by Stephenie Meyers (Little, Brown, 2008). 617 pp. WARNING: major spoilers Stephenie Meyer’s foray into science fiction is a well-deserved best seller, and a great piece of Mormon literature. The romantic interaction between Bella and Edward and Jacob—wait, I mean between Jared and Melanie/Wanderer and Ian—uh, hold on a second…

Book Review: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

I have a friend –I know her through the homeschooling community–with an interest in the Church. She told me that one of the books that she read about the church was Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. Now, she’s not stupid–she didn’t expect it to be unbiased–but she did want to know my reaction to it. So I read it and then sent her this email:

A Letter to Emma Ray

While David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism is nearly perfect in every way, one thing it doesn’t do is provide an intimate portrait of President McKay. That lacuna is partially filled by Heart Petals: The Personal Correspondence of David Oman McKay to Emma Ray McKay.

Book Review: David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet

I have mixed feelings about the very presence of Woodger’s David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet. On the one hand, as someone who wants to read biographies of all of the prophets of this dispensation, I’m always happy to see a new addition to the fold. While there are other biographies of President McKay, the pickings are pretty slim–and expensive (but see post below).

Book Review: David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism

Yes, I’m reviewing two books on David O. McKay. My original intention was to review them together (and explore the larger issue of writing faith-promoting as opposed to warts-and-all history), but I decided that wouldn’t be fair. It didn’t seem fair because David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet is a credible entry in the well-established subgenre of LDS biography. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. But David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism is a category killer.

Book Review: Back to the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels

This statement from The Blog of Happiest Fun got a lot of links from other female bloggernaclites: I would like to spend more time discussing the lives of strong women in the scriptures. Women like Hannah, Deborah, Jael, or Anna the prophetess. There are so many women that I find interesting, and I don’t hear about them enough. I’d like to study their lives some more.

Book Review: City Saints

The interaction of the LDS church and its members with New York City is a fascinating topic. Someday, that story will doubtless be the focus of one or more great works of Mormon regional history which will have truly broad appeal to members. And those works will in turn acknowledge City Saints: Mormons in the New York Metropolis (edited by Scott Tiffany) as an important step in the examination of church members in New York City. However, City Saints itself, while interesting, informative, and quite readable, suffers from conceptual flaws that undermine its impact and ultimately result in a whole that is less than the sum of its more impressive parts.

Book Review: Black and Mormon

Any etiquette book will tell you: there are certain topics you just don’t bring up in polite society. Any Mormon will tell you: we have a few topics of our own to add to that list. And one of them is the issue of blacks and the priesthood.