Nephi Anderson is back on people’s minds, a literary reminder of some regrettable Mormon racial ideas in the 1950s, and three new books are reviewed in Kirkus Reviews. Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.
Correct Me If I’m Wrong: A Review of Ally Condie’s “Matched” (and a Certain Kind of Mormon Criticism). Scott Hales, The Low-Tech World. A positive review of Matched, then a criticism of literary critics who try to find evidence of Mormon themes in Mormon-authored works, without bothering to significantly understand Mormonism.
Mormon Expression Podcast: Book Club, “Added Upon”. Three panel members discuss the popular 1898 Nephi Anderson novel Added Upon. An interesting discussion of how the book reflects changing Mormon beliefs about romance and marriage at the time. Although they have plenty of criticisms, the panel is surprisingly positive about the book, especially about the science fiction-like closing section set in the Millennium. Note that Mormon Expression is a podcast run by former or at least disaffected Mormons. The panels, however, often include active believing Mormons, and while the tone of the podcasts are sometimes critical, they are rarely if ever hostile towards Mormonism.
This comes the same week Theric Jepsen suggests Nephi Anderson’s 1921 novel Dorian should have been included in The Best Books for LDS Homes set. “It is, in my opinion, Jane Austen good. I’m convinced that anyone who loved these eight books will love Dorian. Here’s my Deseret Book-friendly pitch: It’s less upsetting than Jane Eyre! It’s less violent than The Scarlet Pimpernel! It’s hero is as good as Mr Bingley and mentored by a more spiritual Matthew Cuthbert! It’s really nice!”
And, while on the topic of Theric, he outlined the history and future of his imprint Peculiar Pages here at the Publishers Corner section of Dawning of a Brighter Day.
Mormon young adult fiction: Preserving Racial Purity edition! Good Reason blog, by Daniel Midgley. The author discusses racism in a 1956 didactic Mormon novel, Choose Ye This Day, by Emma Marr Petersen. Petersen was the wife of Apostle Mark E. Petersen. She writes a scene where a Mormon university student explains to his friends the then commonly held Mormon view of the correct place of Negroes in society, and the importance of maintaining social separation. The blog author is a former Mormon, antagonistic towards the faith, so I am wary about giving it a link. But I had never heard of this book before, and I think the long passage the blogger quotes is (depressingly) fascinating.
Michael Otterson, the Head of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, blogs “Why I won’t be seeing the Book of Mormon musical” at the Washington Post.
The 2010 AML Award citations are now available for reading.
BYU Students win another animation student Emmy for “DreamGiver”. These awards have almost become routine.
Trist Pinkston reports and posts pictures on the Write Here in Ephraim event.
Writing Excuses podcast 5:31—Writing Romance. Sarah Eden and Robinson Wells join Dan and Howard at LTUE to talk about writing romance.
Writing Excuses podcast 5:32—Urban Fantasy. Dan Wells and the rest of the gang.
Ben Crowder’s Mormon Artist magazine is featured in the BYU Universe.
My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison. Walker Books for Young Readers. YA humorous fantasy. Sequel to My Fair Godmother. Troubled girl gets a godmother, becomes part of the Robin Hood and Rumpelstiltskin stories.
Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series, by Richard Paul Evans. Simon & Schuster. Inspirational. Second in a five book series. An adman seeking redemption, walks around the country, touching lives. Second chances and foster care problems.
Captive Heart, by Michele Paige Holmes. Covenant. Historical romance. A 19th century Black Hills outlaw kidnaps and brings back to South Dakota an Eastern teacher to work in his frontier town, romance ensues.
Orson Scott Card’s Intergalatic Medicine Show is print and on-line speculative fiction magazine published by Orson Scott Card. Issue 22, April 2011, contains a story by a Mormon author, Exiles of Eden, by Brad R. Torgersen.
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books. B-. “An intense, action-paced thrill ride that just doesn’t stop. Ever. . . . I almost didn’t realize how little the overall plot advances . . . which left me a mite disappointed in a novel I otherwise really enjoyed.”
Imprints, by Rachel Ann Nunes. Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books. C. “Nunes’ hippie chick medium insufferable, but intriguing . . . Although I didn’t like Imprints as much as I wanted to, I did like it a lot more than I expected to.”
Blink of an Eye, by Gregg Luke. Shelah, Shelah Books It. Unfavorable. “I know Luke has the chops to write a good thriller, but this time . . . it felt like the action never really got off the ground.”
Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me, by Kristen Chandler. Shelah, Shelah Books It. Very favorable. “It was easily my favorite of the 18 [Whitney finalist] books I read and I hope it sweeps all of the categories in which it’s eligible.”
Faith Behind the Fences, by Kelly Dispirito Taylor. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. Favorable review of a biography/fiction fusion about a woman’s experiences in a Japanese concentration camp on Sumatra during World War II.
The List, by Melanie Jacobson. Kathy, Book Worm Nation. 4 out of 5.
Variant, by Robinson Wells. Kirkus Reviews. Favorable. “Hard to put down from the very first page, this fast-paced novel with Stepford overtones answers only some of the questions it poses, holding some of the most tantalizing open for the next installment in a series that is anything but ordinary.”
Blackberry Crumble, by Josi K. Kilpack. Sharon Haddock, Mormon Times. Favorable.
Wrong Number, by Rachelle J. Christensen. Mindy, LDSWBR. 4 out of 5 stars.
My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison. Kirkus Reviews, positive. “Rallison’s pull-out-all-the-stops latest strains reader credulity (again!), but it’s so determined to be likable and warmhearted and press all the right buttons that readers will surely be rooting for Chrissy and Tansy anyway.”
My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison. VOYA, positive. “The mixture of fantasy and reality should not work, but Rallison makes the unbelievable work right alongside the contemporary problems, creating a fast-paced, humorous, and entertaining story.”
My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison. Kathy, Book Worm Nation. 5 out of 5.
Miles to Go, by Richard Paul Evans. Kirkus Reviews, mildly positive. “This leg of the Walk series is brisker and, thankfully, less didactic than the last.”
Provo Orem Word. April 2011, Issue No. 15. Includes “What’s For Lunch”, a short-short story by Bruce Jorgensen, a poem by Michael Bourn, the final installment of “Rough Stone, Rolling Watters,” Marden Clark’s epic poem investigating the life of Joseph Smith, and a review of Eric Samuelsen’s play, “The Plan”, by Shelly Graham.
A detailed review of Eric Samuelsen’s The Plan, at the Utah Theater Bloggers Association. His other play, Boarderlands, completes its extended run at the Rose Wagner Theater on April 17.
New York Times Bestseller lists, April 10th
Trade Fiction Paperback
#9. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (45th week). ↔ Up one spot on the paperback list. Fell of the Combined Hardcover and Paperback Fiction list.
Children’s Chapter Books
#1. A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES, by Brandon Mull (2nd week). ↑ Back up to #1 after a week at #2.
#10. MATCHED, by Ally Condie (15th week). ↑ Back on the list after missing last week.
#10 THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephanie Meyer (190th). ↑ Back on the list after missing a week, I knew she would be back.
Deseret Book LDS Fiction Bestsellers this week