This Bi-week in Mormon Literature, July 29 2011

Sorry to miss last week, the summer whirlwind is blowing. I will be traveling in the United States for much of the next month, so the column will be bi-weekly for the next little while.  Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

News and Blog Posts

I heard a bit more about Granite Publishing going out of business.  It happened around May 20th.  Authors were given the opportunity to purchase the inventory of their books and have copyrights of books released back to them.  

MikeInWeHo provides “The Only True and Living Review of the Book of Mormon Musical” at By Common Consent, and Margaret Blair Young starts a series, The REAL Elder Price and the Mormon Boys, at Meridian Magazine, which comments on the musical (which she also saw), and talks about the real Mormon missionaries who have served in Africa.

The 5 Books Every Modern Mormon Man Should Read, by Scott Hales, at Modern Mormon Men.

The Appendix Podcast, Episode #25, Persistence and Revising with Brodi Ashton. Ashton’s debut YA novel Everneath will be published by HarperCollins in January 2012.

The Children’s Literature Association of Utah announced its Beehive Book Awards for 2011.  The winners include Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (young adult category winner), My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison (young adult category nominee), The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (young adult category nominee), and Just What Mama Needs by Sharlee Glen (picture category nominee).

Mothers, Mormons and Monsters”, a one-act musical by Sam Salmond, opened this week in Pittsfield, Mass, to mixed reviews.

Karen Gowen posts about WiDo Publishing, at Thoughts in Progress.

Kent Larson writes about Mormon Fan Fiction at A Motley Vision.

Peluca, Jared Hess’s BYU student short film which was an early draft of Napoleon Dynamite (with Jon Herder in the lead), is now available to watch online (HT: Theric).

Ardis E. Parshall at Keepapitchinin completed posting “The Merry-Go Round” a serialized story by Alice Morrey Bailey, published in the Relief Society Magazine in 1941 and 1942. A fun look at mid-century home literature.

Short Stories

Eric Freeze is an LDS writer and academic who currently teaches at Wabash College in Indiana.  He says, “I completed a PhD at Ohio University where I studied under Darrell Spencer.  I’ve had my stories published in a variety of periodicals including The Southern Review, New Ohio Review, and North Dakota Quarterly.  My story “Seven Little Stories about Sex” was chosen last year for publication in Boston Review and it has since been anthologized in Chamber Four’s 2010 Best of the Web anthology.  My first short story collection Dominant Traits is coming out this fall with Oberon Press, a reputable Canadian literary publisher (I’m Canadian).   Although my work doesn’t always have explicitly Mormon content, it does often have Mormon characters or themes.”

New books

Julie Gardner Berry, The Trouble with Squids. Grosset & Dunlap (Penguin Group).  Middle Grade graphic novel.  The fourth in Berry’s “Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys” series, illustrated by Berry’s sister, Sally Faye Gardner.

Larry Correia. Monster Hunter Alpha. Baen. Fantasy, mass-market paperback. The third novel in the NYT Bestselling series.

Lisa Dayley. The Frozen Trail. WiDo Publishing. Historical fiction. A handcart company pioneer novel.

Kiersten White. Supernaturally. Harper Teen. YA Fantasy. Sequel to Paranormalacy.


In the Company of Angels, by David Farland. Lisa Torcasso Downing, AML-List. “The characterization of James Willie is, in my eyes, the most remarkable and memorable, the element that exalts this book above the traditional fare of faithful Mormon novels. It is also the characterization which is most likely to put off some devout LDS readers . . . For a reason I cannot fathom, Farland chose not to write this story to an appropriate conclusion. In fact, he leaves both the survivors (literally) and the readers (figuratively) out in the cold by not taking the Willie Handcart Company into the Salt Lake Valley. . . . (it) is more than unsatisfying. It’s disastrous . . . This is a novel that bravely sets out to paint a harshly realistic picture of events. Punches are not pulled for the sake of delicate Mormon sensibilities. It is well worth a reader’s time and deserves its status as a Whitney Best Book of the Year. Certainly, the novel’s glitches do not cancel out its triumphs, and I encourage Farland to continue bringing his edgy side to Mormon fiction. I consider it a must-read in Mormon historical fiction.”

The Evolution of Thomas Hall, by Kieth Merrill. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. 5 stars. “Merrill’s use of words is impressive.  His vocabulary extends from modern slang to actual three and four syllable words. At times his writing is literary and musical, then switches suddenly to the rougher style of popular genres”

Ribbon of Darkness, by Julie Coulter Bellon. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. 4 stars. “Bellon is a rapid fire plot strategist who keeps the reader jumping from crisis to crisis.  She brings the background elements; rivers, bar, bathroom, refugee camp, thirst, blood, etc. into her scenes rather than setting them up as background.  If a character is thirsty, the reader may very well suffer a similar need to find a drink.  She’s more minimalist concerning her characters, only providing enough background or character sketch to carry the story.  Character growth in her main characters is satisfying however . . . I don’t hesitate to recommend this exciting read to anyone who enjoys a good adventure. 

Supernaturally, by Kiersten White. Kirkus Reviews. “Characters and plot will make more sense to readers who are familiar with the story than to newcomers, but it’s a goofy, amusing ride for anyone. As in the previous book, Evie’s voice is the best part of the story, as she balances her supernatural abilities against typical teen concerns and obsessions. A tasty bonbon for those who like their romance mixed with supernatural adventures.”

Watched, by Cindy Hogan. Shanda at LDSWBR.

Sleight of Hand, by Deanne Blackhurst.  Sheila at LDSWBR. 3 stars (out of 5).

Count Down to Love, by Julie Ford. Sheila at LDSWBR. 5 stars.

All That Was Promised, by Vickie Hall. Mindi at LDSWBR.  4 stars.  

Voice Across Time, by Linda Todd Bush. Sheila at LDSWBR. 3 stars.

Hard Magic, by Larry Correia. William Morris. 3 stars.


It has been announced that Ron Howard will make a movie version of Jon Krakhauer’s book Under the Banner of Heaven. Ex-Mormon screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Big Love, Milk) will write the screenplay.  The book tells the story of violence among Mormon fundamentalists, and links that violence with general Mormon history.  Two of his previous books were made into successful movies, but still, I cannot help but think that the decision to make this movie was made in part to embarrass the two Mormon presidential candidates.

Chris Heimerdinger on 17 Miracles. Very positive review.

New York Times Bestseller lists, July 24th, 31st      

Trade Fiction Paperback

#23, #22 HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (60th week)  Mormon Literature’s Dark Side of the Moon shows no sign of leaving.

Mass Market Paperback

#25, #17 ENDER’S GAME, by Orson Scott Card (1st week).   On the extended list for the third week in a row, and by going above #20, it makes it onto the main list, and now gets to be officially counted.

Children’s Paperback

#10, x THE MAZE RUNNER, by James Dashner (17th week). Briefly back on the list.

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5 Responses to This Bi-week in Mormon Literature, July 29 2011

  1. Katya says:

    As always, thank you for posting these.

  2. Would the Krakauer movie even come out in time to affect the 2012 election?

  3. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    For any who might be interested, I’ve got a Discussion for Writers on my blog, based on a paragraph from the Farland book. Its a look at Show v Tell.

    There is another Discussion for Writers about Perspective. The blog is a new undertaking for me. Feed back is always welcome.

  4. Thank you for that notification, Lisa. I’ve put a link to it in the Hatrack River Writers Workshop forum, where there happens to be a discussion on show and tell right now. I also put it in the Nauvoo Workshop for LDS Writers forum.

    Impressive insights into the topic, and I think it will really help writers.

    • Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

      Well, that’s nice, Kathleen. Thanks. Its on my agenda to post about when to use Tell, particularly when writing the faith culture for non-believers.

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