This Week in Mormon Literature, May 13th 2010

The LDS Storymakers held their Whitney Award gala last weekend.  Congratulations to all the winners of Whitney Awards.  A ton of books were released this week, including a Novella by Orson Scott Card.  The Book of Mormon musical soundtrack is being streamed at NPR.  Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

News and Columns

Deseret News article on the Whitney AwardsMeridian Magazine article, by Jennie Hansen, on the awards.

Wrap ups of the LDStorymakers Conference by Heather Moore, Janette Rallison,and Annette Lyon.   

Jeff Savage of Six LDS Writers and A Frog announced the end of the five-year old blog, along with a recap of the LDStorymakers Conference.  Other members of the blog have been penning their own final posts.  Thanks for all your work, guys.

Cedar Fort Celebrates 25 years with a carnival to benefit literacy, in Springville, UT.

I try to avoid linking to other posts on this blog, you are already here, after all.  But Jana Reiss’s post on publication hurdles for Mormon authors should not be missed.

New Books

Hamlet’s Father, by Orson Scott Card.  Subterranean. Historical fiction/Horror. Novella (104 pages). A limited edition (only 1000 signed hardback copies), Card creates a backstory for the Hamlet story.  It originally appeared in an anthology of ghost stories called “The Ghost Quartet”.  For a Mormon connection, I seem to remember Card writing somewhere once that he liked Eugene England’s unorthodox theory that Shakespeare intended to portray the ghost of Hamlet’s father as an evil spirit who manipulates Hamlet to go on his killing spree, and that the play was essentially anti-revenge.     

One Magic Moment, by Lynn Kurland.  Jove. Romance/Fantasy.  14th Piaget family time-travel romance,  including One Enchanted Evening. Time travelers from a medieval past now in the present, or something like that. Her second national romance novel this year.

The Royal Treatment, by Lindsey Leavitt. Hyperion. Young Adult Fantasy. Princess for Hire, book 2.  Princess training and magic. Leavitt’s second novel in two months.  

Daughter of Helaman, by Misty Moncur. Cedar Fort. Book of Mormon Historical/Young Adult. Ammonite girl gets into Helaman’s army. First novel.

Shades of Gray, by Rachel Ann Nunes. Shadow Mountain. Romantic Suspense/Paranormal. The third novel featuring the Autumn Rain character. Autumn has the ability to receive impressions from objects that have special meaning to their owners, gets involved in a police investigation.

Beyond Foo: Geth and the Return of the Lithens, by Obert Skye. Shadow Mountain. Young Adult Fantasy. Book 1 in a new series based in the Foo universe by the pseudonymous Skye. The earlier Leven Thumps series had five books.  Geth and Clover leave Foo to release trapped dreams and allow freedom to reign.

The Alias, by Mandi Tucker Slack. Cedar Fort. Suspense. An LDS woman and her children go undercover after a difficult divorce.

The Perfect Token, by Cathryn Tew. Cedar Fort. Romance.  First novel.  

Foggy With a Chance of Murder, by G. G. Vandagriff.  Deseret Book. Romantic Suspense.  A depressed genre author gets pulled into a mystery/suspense, and struggles with the existence of God.

Book Reviews

Hamlet’s Father, by Orson Scott Card. Publisher’s Weekly. “Flimsy novella . . . When Hamlet is a boy, his father snubs him while doting on all his friends in a manner that the reader will immediately identify as perverse . . . The writing and pacing have the feel of a draft for a longer and more introspective work that might have fleshed out Hamlet’s indecision and brooding; instead, the focus is primarily on linking homosexuality with the life-destroying horrors of pedophilia, a focus most fans of possibly bisexual Shakespeare are unlikely to appreciate.”  Another more positive review at SFCrowsnest.

Shades of Gray, by Rachel Ann Nunes. Jennie Hansen at Meridian Magazine. Favorable, Hansen does not like the hippie main character, and Deseret Book’s leap into the paranormal, but she is impressed with Nunes’ writing.

The Royal Treatment, by Lindsey Leavitt. Kirkus Reviews. “Breezy sequel . . .  Leavitt keeps the story dancing along with breathless, wish-fulfillment glee. Desi’s character stands out with her unsinkable confidence, but adult characters often act more like middle schoolers than the kids do. It’s a lively if lightweight romp that will please many young girls with glamorous dreams.”  Also a favorable review from the Chicago Examiner.

One Magic Moment, by Lynn Kurland. Publisher’s Weekly.  “A solid and intriguing story . . . This entertaining tale will please Kurland’s fans with familiar characters, quirky and authentic details of castle living, and high-spirited banter.”

Beyond Foo: Geth and the Return of the Lithens, by Obert Skye. Squeaky Clean Reads, 4 out of 5 stars.

The Broken Road, by Shannon Guymon.  Mormon Times (Baird).  Favorable.

The Beyonders, by Brandon Mull. Hearing Voices (Emily).  Favorable.  Nice editor-type analysis.

The Rogue Shop, by Michael Knudsen. Mormon Times (Sturgil). Just a summary, no evaluation.

Hazzardous Universe, by Julie Wright and Kevin Wasden. Mormon Times (Loftus).  A feature article.


The soundtrack of The Book of Mormon musical is currently streaming as part of the NPR First Listen series. These First Listen sites usually last about two weeks. There is an interesting analysis of the content by Ditayman, a Mormon blogger at Improvement Era.  He gives a fine summary of the play, sans the profanity.  J. Max Wilson at The Millennial Star finds the musical to be “Anti-Mormon Dreck”, focusing less on the language and more on how it portrays missionaries changing/lying about the details of the gospel message in order to make them better fit the immediate needs of the Africans.  I am extremely hesitant to recommend listening the soundtrack to anyone, because of the frequent profanities from the African characters. As far as a gospel message, however, I was surprised how positive the play seems to be.  I think if one’s connection to Mormonism is tribal or nationalistic in nature, so that any “insult” or seemingly negative connotation makes one mad because one’s people have been slandered, then the play would make that person mad.  But I think that if one’s interest is how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help change and exalt a person, than at least parts of this play might have appeal.

If you want to hear some numbers, but avoid the profanities, here are a few. The first three numbers, set in the MTC (“Hello”, “Two By Two”, and “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”).  “Turn it Off” is a very funny and clean song about a missionary “turning off” homosexual desires (although the creators of course are mocking what they see as Mormon naïvete). “Man Up”, which ends the first act, is a fun song of a missionary telling himself to get to work.  It sounds like the 80s hard rock songs parodied in Team America (I thought most of the other songs sounded more like Avenue Q than the South Park or Team America songs). “I Believe”, is like “Turn it Off”, clean, but gently mocking Mormon naivete. The finale, “Tomorrow is A Latter Day”, has a couple of profanities, but includes a lovely final scene where the Africans converts revise the opening number of the missionary door approaches.


New York Times Bestseller lists, May 15th

Hardcover Fiction

#26  MILES TO GO, by Richard Paul Evans (4th week) ↓.  Down from #25.

Trade Fiction Paperback

#10. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (49th week) ↑. Up from #12 on the paperback list, but fell off the Combined Print list.

Mass Market Paperback

#2. SAVAGE NATURE, by Christine Feehan.  NEW.   Also #6 on the Combined Print Fiction list, #12 on the E-book Fiction list, and #8 on the Combined Print and E-book list.

Children’s Chapter Books


#10.  A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES, by Brandon Mull (7th week) ↓.Down from #6.


Deseret Book LDS Fiction Bestsellers this week

1 Blackberry Crumbleby Josi S. Kilpack  ↑

2 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 1: The Wanderer by Anita Stansfield

3 The Silence of God by Gale Sears

4 The Great and Terrible Six-Volume Set  by Chris Stewart

5The List by Melanie Jacobson  ↑

6  The Walk, Book 2: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans

7 Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes  ↓

8 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 2: A Far Horizon, by Anita Stansfield

9 The Undaunted: The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers  by Gerald N. Lund

10 Vengeance by Clair M. Poulson  ↔

11 Shades of Gray by Rachel Ann Nunes  NEW

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2 Responses to This Week in Mormon Literature, May 13th 2010

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Thanks again for your efforts with this. It’s great to see what’s going on across the universe of Mormon literature. (Galaxy of Mormon literature? Solar system of Mormon literature?)

  2. Wm Morris says:

    Here is the Publishers’s page for Hamlet’s Father. Subterranean puts out very nicely packaged books (priced at a permium, of course) — and they will actually publish novellas.

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