This Week in Mormon Literature, June 23, 2012

Several new books have appeared in the three weeks since my last column, including S. P. Bailey’s missionary thriller for Zarahemla Books and a middle grade fantasy by Steven L. Peck for Cedar Fort. Also, Deseret Book tries out an “ebook-only” novel, and filmmaker Greg Whitley (New York Doll) is working on “an all-access, behind-the scenes look at the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.”  Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

News and blog posts

Winners of Wilderness Interface Zone’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Announced. James Goldberg won “Most Popular Poem” with “Since he was weaned”. It nosed out several popular poems by William Reger. Mark Penny’s sonnet “I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring” won the Administrators Award.

Of Sleepy Places: A Look at Lance Larsen (Wilderness Interface Zone). An introduction to the work of Lance Larson, who was recently named Utah’s Poet Laureate.

On Poetry And The Joys Of Language. Brad Kramer at By Common Consent. Brad glories in the “fruitful combination of literary prowess and theological creativity” in the recent work of two Mormon authors, novelist Steven Peck and essayist Adam Miller.

Shannon Hale on The self-publishing paradox; or, why I love my editor. Hale talks about the pros and mostly cons about self-publishing, and gets a ton of comments.

Orson Scott Card on Ray Bradbury.

JournalStone Publishing announced the hiring of Author-Scholar Dr. Michael Collings as Senior Publications Editor. A Collings blog post about the position. JournalStone Publishing is a small press publishing company, focusing in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genres in both the adult and young adult markets.

The audio book of Larry Correia’s Hard Magic, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, won an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association for best paranormal (it was also a finalist in the solo narration—male category). His book Monster Hunter International, narrated by Oliver Wyman, was a finalist in the paranormal category.

A new website for The Leading Edge, the BYU-affiliated speculative fiction magazine. Also, its latest issue, #62, is now available.

Mahonri Stewart lectures at the Springville Library about C. S. Lewis (Daily Herald). Mahonri posted the full text of his presentation at his blog.

At Everyday Mormon Writer: Another Testament, poem by Emily Harris Adams, art by Nick Stephens. Afterlife, story by Jonathon Penny, art by Vilo Elisabeth Westwood.

Situating Sonosophy: De/Constructing Alex Caldiero’s Poetarium, by Tyler Chadwick (A Motley Vision). Poetry criticism.

New books and their reviews

Christine Anderson. Rouge Wave. Self, June 1. YA paranormal.

Susan Auten. Becoming Bayley. Deseret Book, May 9 (ebook only). Young adult. High school senior soccer player finds love, discovers she has a skin disease, and takes a journey of self-discovery. First novel.  This is Deseret Book’s first time to publish an “ebook-only” novel.

Mindy, LDSWBR: 4 stars. “This book is a perfect example of how we need our Heavenly Father’s strength and guidance through our lives. There were so many parts of the book where there was a big smile on my face. Especially when Matt and Bayley are at the South field at BYU. Many times there were tears also. The author does a great job of character development. Each character was important and was written well. Very enjoyable read, and make sure a kleenex is handy too.”

Bloggin’ ‘bout Books: C+. “There’s a lot to love . . . It deals with a unique subject, a disease I’ve never heard of, let alone read about before. And it does it in a way that’s both sensitive and believable. While I initially thought, “What’s the big deal? It’s just hair,” Auten helped me understand how dealing with alopecia can be a very big deal, especially for a teenage girl. Then, there’s Bayley herself. I don’t see a lot of confident, athletic heroines in modern literature, so it’s always refreshing when I do encounter one. In addition, Becoming Bayley is a clean, uplifting novel, the kind that’s appropriate for teenagers, even though it’s geared toward a slightly older audience. All of these things are major plusses in my book . . . it takes a while for the plot to get going, which makes the story feel a little clumsy and unfocused. Also, because it covers over two years of time, the novel jumps around, giving too much detail in some places and not enough in others. My biggest issue, though, is with Bayley. While I liked her initial confidence, the all-consuming self-pity that plagues her throughout the rest of the story drove me crazy. I sympathized at first because I thought her “Why me?” rants were realistic, but (and maybe this is totally insensitive of me), they got old. Fast . . . I know disease novels are notoriously difficult to pull off and, really, I think Auten performed well for a newbie. While there are definitely things that irritate me about Becoming Bayley, overall it’s a nice, heartwarming story about a girl overcoming the hardships in her life . . . Even better, the book’s got a freshness to it that convinces me Auten is a writer to watch—one of those authors who has the ability to pen LDS novels I actually want to read.”

S. P. Bailey. Millstone City. Zarahemla, June 10. Missionary thriller. A missionary in Brazil goes out alone on a Carnaval night, gets in trouble, becomes wrapped up in a murder.

Theric Jepson (A Motley Vision). “I think Bailey’s story of Brazilian gangsters has more in common with Le Carré’s Cold War spies than City of God or anything else I’ve read or seen recently. The missionaries fill the roles of Le Carré’s British “heroes” while the gangsters are hyperviolent versions of the East Germans and Russians (while still retaining their humanity) . . . This contrast between their holy desires and the unholy world creates much of the story’s tension (besides offering up endless symbolic potential), but the reason you’ll want to read this book today is its nonstop acceleration, constant switchbacks, and overall edge-of-your-seatiness. It’s a thrilling read and nearly impossible to put down once you stop. And while I haven’t read some of the most heralded books in the missionary genre . . . , no question Bailey has caught the rhythms and mores of missionary life with exquisite accuracy. In short, this book is great.”

William Morris (blurb): “In Millstone City, the LDS mission novel and the thriller collide to create something new: an intense, gritty story that is nevertheless shot through with resilience, honesty, optimism, and, yes, that certain willful naïveté that missionaries possess. Call it Mormon neo-noir. Or full-throttle faithful realism.”

Frank L. Cole. The Guardians of Elijah’s Fire. Cedar Fort, June 14. Middle grade fantasy.  Second in the “Guardians of the Hidden Scepter” series. The kids from the first book travel through enemy territory to protect a deadly ancient weapon that could cause the earth’s utter destruction

Heather (Six Mixed Reviews). 5 stars. “I love the character development in this book, especially compared to the first in the series. In the first book I felt like the characters were introduced, but in this book they were able to grow and change a bit and we were able to see different sides of them which was great! And I especially loved the questions of loyalty and trust that were brought up throughout the book. I was finding myself wondering, just like Amber, who were the good guys and who were bad. I loved the ending of the book and, without giving anything away, it was exactly perfect . . . And I loved the biblical themes that ran through the book, specifically with the story of Elijah.”

Mindy (LDSWBR). 4 stars.      Rosemarie Howard (Deseret News).

Chad Daybell. Evading Babylon. Spring Creek Books, June 15. Last days speculative fiction. First of the “Times of Turmoil” series. It follows new characters living in the same timeframe as “The Great Gathering” series but they’ll be “maintenance missionaries” who the Church has asked to stay behind in the valleys of Utah to observe conditions there after the Saints have gathered.

Mandi Ellsworth. Uneasy Fortunes. Cedar Fort/Sweetwater, June 12. Historical romance. Rural romance set in post-Civil War South. First novel.

Betsy Bannon Green. Murder By the Way. Covenant, June 5. Mystery. The third book in the Kennedy Killingsworth/Midway series, started with Murder by the Book.

Tamara Hart Heiner; Altercation. Wido, June 5.  YA suspense. Sequel to Perilous. Two friends on the run from kidnappers.

Sonja Herbert. Carnival Girl. Cedar Fort, May 31. Memoir/historical novel. A German girl travels with her family around post-World War II Germany. Joins the Church.

(Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 4 stars. “The story covers the growing up years of Sonja and is told in two time periods. A visit by Mutti to Sonja’s home in America years later brings back memories of those years when she was a child . . . The split time period of the telling of this story is a little awkward, but it’s a satisfying read and one I recommend to readers interested in family dynamics or history. The earlier time period is fascinating and well written. The current time period shows an interesting contrast. Even years later, long after the carnival is behind them, Mutti sees herself in a far more positive light than her daughter does, and she still sees herself as more victim than abuser.”

Deseret News feature article.

Heather Horrocks. No Sudden Moves. Word Garden Press (self), June 5. Romantic Suspense. A women tries to escape with her children from an abusive husband, but she winds up being accused of murder.

Scott M. Hurst. Open Fire: J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South. Cedar Fort, June 12. Historical. Based on Kimball’s stories of his mission in the South. First novel.

Jenni James. Beauty and the Beast. Stonehouse Ink (Walnut Springs), June 7. YA fantasy. First in the “Faerie Tale Collection” series. Ebook only.

Elana Johnson. Surrender. Simon Pulse, June 5. YA dystopian. Sequel to Possession.  Girl is torn between her powerful father and a group of rebels.

(Teri Harman, Deseret News). “Her quick, no-nonsense writing, with snarky narrators and great action, pulls the story along at a thrilling pace. Her characters and her dystopian world are sharper and more engaging than in the first installment. Different from most series, Johnson introduces new main characters and new perspectives that are refreshing and interesting.”

(Jessica, Cracking the Cover). “Surrender is not what she would classify as a sequel, but rather a companion to Possession. The world is the same, but the main players are different. At least for a while… I found Surrender to be a lighter read than Possession, which I found surprising in its darker tone. There’s a better balance with Surrender that’s hard to put your finger on. The ideas of torture and brainwashing are still here, but it doesn’t feel as quite so heavy. Surrender is a fast-moving read, which can be attributed to Elana’s maturing writing style. The novel feels more polished and streamlined than its predecessor.

Adam S. Miller. Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology. Greg Kofford Books, June. Essays.

(Harlow Clark, AML). “When I was reading Adam S. Miller’s “Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology” in the dentist’s office the office manager asked what it was about. “Mormon theology.” “Pro or anti?” she asked. That was also my first reaction when I saw the title, but where she probably meant pro or anti-Mormon, I wondered if it might be a critique of Mormon philosophers and their failings, something akin to John Gardner’s “On Moral Fiction.” So it was refreshing to see this sentence from James Faulconer’s blurb, “Successful Rube Goldberg Machines do ordinary work, but they do it in complicated, funny, beautiful ways.” And like the metaphysical poets, Goldberg’s devices witness that even simple things are part of a great complex of connections and examples, and if we had to create machines to do things we consider very simple they might not be so simple . . . I found “A Manifesto for Mormon Theology” particularly moving in its declaration that doing theology is an act of charity. Miller expands on this in the last third of the book, talking about the weakness of the word, the word proclaimed without argument, but nonetheless able to deliver Ether and others who follow him in time but precede him in narrative from prison. And just as each chapter works as a Rube Goldberg device, moving from the elaborate to the simple, so does the book, beginning with a hamster turning a page, and ending with a word on the page, and a reader reading the word, and another reader reading over the shoulder.What you are reading, and who is reading with you, I’ll leave you to discover. It’s easy. Just plant this seed and watch it grow into a tree. Watch the squirrel pick the nut and toss it to another squirrel. Watch the nut pop the balloon in passing, and the hamster run in the hamster run past Eve and Adam’s from swerve of shore to bend of page.”

Heather Ostler. The Shapeshifter’s Secret. Cedar Fort/Sweetwater, June 12. YA Paranormal. 16 year-old girl discovers she is an animal shape-shifter.  First novel.

(Melissa DeMoux, Deseret News). “This dynamic young adult tale is woven around fantastical creatures like werecats and water nymphs and delves into unknown worlds through hidden portals and magical powers. Ostler threads her pages with powerful curses, vigorous sword fights, teenage angst, romantic encounters and conniving friends turned foes. The story moves quickly and is adventure-packed. The main characters pull together and support each other, creating a web of almost family-like bonding that pulls the reader into the action. The premise of this book is intriguing and very creative, but the phrasing and dialogue sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable. Some of the characters seem underdeveloped and will hopefully be better understood in Ostler’s coming works. However, the story is overall very entertaining and extremely fun.”

Andrea Pearson. August Fortress. Self, June 11. YA Fantasy. 3rd in the Kilenya series.

Steven L. Peck. Quickend Chronicles: The Rifts of Rime. Cedar Fort, June 12. Middle Grade Fantasy.

Blair Hodges, By Common Consent (where Peck also blogs). “It succeeds in precisely C. S. Lewis’s prescribed way: it’s a “good story” first and foremost, even while weaving theological ideas from Mormonism into a tale of moral ambiguity, death, doubt, and the hope of redemption. Peck actually wrote it over twenty years ago . . . [it] is a rawer Peck, it lacks the precision of his more recent works (The Scholar of Moab and A Short Stay in Hell). At times his story excels his actual execution . . . This is precisely the sort of fiction I’d like to read with my own kids someday, far from the “namby-pamby” stuff C.S. Lewis criticized. At the same time, it isn’t dominated by religion, and it isn’t a Christian allegory like Lewis’s Narnia series was. Religion is just one element within the overall culture imagined by Peck . . . Peck . . . pays close attention to nature throughout the story. His squirrels rub their little hands together and squint with anxiety, his wolves are slyly feminist with the women leading the pack, his ants bid farewell with a blessing only an ant would offer: “Tunnel deeply before the rains and may the path you follow smell strongly until you return”. . . . Perhaps the book’s most interesting theological component is these reflections on death and the problem of suffering . . . Other Mormon elements are scattered throughout, including the corruption of scripture, the importance of agency, a male and female couple deity, eternal marriage, the difficulty of recognizing personal revelation, and the culture-bound nature of revelation . . . As I mentioned above, Peck’s good story itself works not because of or in spite of, but alongside these theological injections.”

So Simply Sara. “The message behind this story is quite powerful and very smart. Steven Peck is very creative, and writes a tale that I feel most middle school students could relate to on some level. In sharing some of the story with my students, many perked up and were asking questions – I think it would make an awesome read-aloud, not only to middle grade students, but to upper elementary as well.”

Fire and Ice. 4 stars. “Honestly my first thought about this book was, squirrels, really??? But the more that I got into the book and learned about the characters the more I liked it. The book is written for a target audience of about 8 to 12 years old and I think that they will love it. It reminds me a bit of The Rats of Nimh that I read as a middle school child and loved. I love the way that good wins in the end. I really enjoyed this book!”

Kathi Oram Peterson. Cold Justice. Covenant, June 4. Romantic suspense. Sequel to River Whispers. Peterson’s fifth book. Set in Alaska.

Adam Glendon Sidwell. Evertaster. Future House Publishing/Trident Media Group, June 14.  Middle grade comic fantasy. First novel. Trident Media is a major literary agency, which started its own full service e-book publishing venture in 2011.  Evertaster is their first Middle Grade novel through this system. Also available in paperback.

Evertaster: The Debut Novel of a Modern Mormon Man. Interview by Laurie Stradling at Modern Mormon Men. Sidwell talks about his experiences working in Visual Effects and Animation film projects.

Interview with Adam Sidwell on his culinary adventure novel. Interview by William Morris at A Motley Vision.

Terry Tempest Williams. When Women Were Birds. Sarah Crichton Books, April 10. Personal essays. An autobiographical reflections on power of voice, inspired by her mother’s blank journals. At 54, the age of her mother when she died of breast cancer, Williams writes a chapter for each year of their age, tell tales of their lives, and mediating on women, nature, family, and history.

(Boston Globe). “It’s tempting to think of her mother’s legacy, the untouched journals, as tabulae rasae, blank slates. But Williams brings the literal translation of the Latin phrase to the forefront by inferring that her mother’s unwritten journals are erased slates — there are traces of feelings and dreams and wishes emphasized by William’s italics and capitalization of the word journal. ‘My Mother’s Journals are words wafting above the page.’ Williams’s writing pays careful, crisp homage to her family who are “loyal citizens known as ‘downwinders’ ”  . . . a year after her mother’s death in 1987, Williams protested at the site where atomic bombs were still being detonated in the desert. Her act of civil disobedience parallels her mother’s subversive act of leaving blank pages behind. The silences, the truths of women’s lives carry the power of an atom, she suggests. Williams quotes the poet Muriel Rukeyser’s famous lines: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

(Rosemarie Howard, Deseret News).

Reviews of older books

Sian Ann Bessey. Within the Dark Hills (Shelby Scoffield, Deseret News). “Within the Dark Hills” is an enjoyable read. Although the plot line is predictable, the love story is sweet and innocent. Perhaps the most striking part of the book is Bessey’s descriptions of the Welsh mining town. She accurately describes the danger that a miner faced on a daily basis . . . will be devoured by young women who dream of being rescued by Prince Charming.

Sian Ann Bessey. Within the Dark Hills (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 5 stars. “[It] is a novel that easily fits into a number of categories. With its rich historical background and the author’s firsthand knowledge of Wales, it can easily be called Historical. The detailed scenes that take place underground provide rich texture to the story. The tender relationship that develops between Evan and Annie makes the story a romance. The lyrical language and social problems involved in nineteenth century underground coal mines give the story a literary bent, as do strong well-developed characters who grow, make mistakes, and become stronger better people. Though the Mormon missionaries and their connection to Evan and Annie are an important element of the book’s conclusion the conversion aspect is not played up much beyond the historical aspect that the American migration played in drawing attention to the brutal life Welsh families of that era lived. The danger-filled plot qualifies the story as an action novel. All in all, this book is a story with strong appeal for a wide range of readers.”

Jerry Borrowman. Steamship to Zion (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 5 stars. “Borrowman’s style is quite different in this book from his previous books. There’s less narration and the dialog feels more natural. Even though the book is historical, there’s a greater sense of immediacy to the story. The characters have distinctive voices and both Marc and Gloria noticeably grow and mature through the nearly two years in which the story takes place. The background is rich in detail without overwhelming the plot as the story . . . Borrowman maintains high action throughout this story and the background for the story is fresh, making Steamship to Zion an exciting adventure with a touch of romance.”

Orson Scott Card. Pathfinder (Andrew Hall). “My favourite Card novel of the last several years. A nice combination of fantasy/quest (like his Wyrms) and science fiction. There is, surprise, surprise, an unbelievably able young male lead, and some other familiar Card tropes. But the world-building is great, and the gradual bringing together of the fantasy and science fiction elements were very well done.”

Michael R. Collings. The Slab (Tales from the Bookworm’s Lair).  “THE SLAB is highly recommended. If you require non-stop gore and battles to the death between a plucky protagonist and an implacable and nigh-unbeatable creature from beyond the stars, then this is not the novel for you. But if you like slow-building and under-stated – but not at all boring – psychological horror, then you will enjoy THE SLAB immensely (and that under-stated elegance of the novel is why I have been vaguer than is typical for me about the specifics of the plot). This is a story about what most might think of as a mundane setting – just a simple tract house in a California suburb – and ordinary people. But it’s a story about what happens behind closed doors. And sometimes very bad things happen when we’re in the sanctity of our own homes. I liked this one a lot.”

Sarah M. Eden. Friends and Foes (Gamila’s Book Reviews). “I really loved this novel. I adored the witty and funny dialogue between the characters, and found that I really empathized with both Sorrel and Philip . . . I thought Eden did really well with showing how the characters came to like one another despite the fact they started their relationship out bickering with one another. I totally wanted the book to keep going after I finished reading it.”

Melanie Jacobson. Twitterpated  (Shelah Books It). 3 stars. “[Jacobson’s] Whitney finalist novels, The List and Not My Type, were so enjoyable to read and so insightful about Mormon culture that I decided I would buy her next book too . . . I think these are important issues, and issues that can be interesting to read about in fiction, but I wonder if the romance genre really allows for deep exploration, because the whole thing seems wrapped up pretty quickly . . . All in all, a fun read, but this book had the potential to be a lot more than a fun read too.”  In the comments FoxyJ wrote, “I felt the same way about this book. It was good, but it could have been so much better. I felt like the plot was fairly thin and it happened so fast. I would have liked to see more depth and more conflict. The fact that it is a romance doesn’t mean it has to be so light.” Melanie Jacobson replies, “The layering wasn’t there because this was actually the first novel I ever wrote, so these critiques are dead on . . . And trust me, if you think Twitterpated was, um, not on par with my two last year, you should have seen it BEFORE I reworked it from its original. It was like polishing a, well . . . ahem . . . you know.”

H. B. Moore. Daughters of Jared (Gamila’s Book Reviews). “This is my favorite of H.B. Moore’s books that I have read, and I really loved how she has improved at adding little historical details, which always added such a cultural ambiance and vivid details to her novels, in more nuanced and natural ways. I really felt like her skill in this arena has improved and made the reading of the novel more immsersive and smooth.”

Jennifer Nielsen. The False Prince (An Equivalent Center of Self). Of the books I’ve read recently, this is probably my favorite . . . Sage is a fascinating character–confrontational, troublesome, strong-willed. He talks back to Connor when playing along would save him a beating, he defies orders whenever he can, and, not surprisingly, ends up in a lot of trouble. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides, whom I loved. The writing is tight, the characterization strong, and although the ending didn’t particularly surprise me, I think young readers in particular would really enjoy this.”

Levi Peterson. The Backslider (Scott Hales, The Low-Tech World). Not so much a review, as working out in print some issues about the book that Scott is planning to include in his doctoral dissertation.

G. G. Vandagriff. The Last Waltz (Darlene Love). 2 stars. “I felt this book had some serious flaws, but it was interesting reading about the history of WWI from the POV of Austrians, and, ultimately, had what I felt was a good perspective on love in marriage. As for flaws, two main things bothered me: 1) It was too long. Passages were redundant and there was a lot of telling within tight POV that could have been shown or touched on much more subtly. The jumping into other points of view within the same scene (although marked with a section break) didn’t seem to add anything to the story; with better storytelling we could have stuck with just the one POV. On both a sentence level and book level, this book needed tighter editing. 2) Structurally, the book was divided on itself. The title, the set-up at the beginning, a refrain, and even the overall structure of the book pointed toward one theme, but the theme was contradicted by the plot . . . I guess what bugs me most about the book is that I like what it might have been. I would so have loved to see a believable love story within the marriage (that includes a partner who struggles with mental illness). I hate stories about Bella and Edward, the destined lovers who exist separate from (and despite) free choice. I’m afraid that this book is of two minds (the destined lovers and the earned love within marriage) and, therefore, doesn’t succeed at either.”

Carol Warburton. Whisper Hollow (Shanda, LDSWBR). 4 stars. “The book started a bit slow and didn’t pick up for me until page 80 or so. After that point, however, I was swept into the story and am so glad I stuck with it. I was pulled into a tale of sorrow and triumph, struggle and victory, prejudice and forgiveness, hatred and love. Not only did I enjoy the characters, location, and storyline while I read the book, it persisted with me for several days afterward.”

Dan Wells Partials (Bloggin’ ‘bout Books). B-. “The story speeds along, with plenty of action to keep it moving. An exciting, entertaining ride, for sure. Wells does take the time to build his dystopian world, fleshing it out with enough historical and political detail to bore some readers. Not this one. To me, all the background information makes Kira’s world more believable. It helped me not just to understand the society, but also to care about its salvation.  Although it’s not the most original series in the world, I enjoyed Partials. Sure, it could use more surprises (the plot gets pretty predictable), better character development (especially of the guys), and something different to really distinguish it from other stories (thankfully, the humans don’t take to space or it would have been a complete Battlestar Galactica ripoff). Overall, though, it’s an absorbing read.”

Film

The Enders Game principal filming wrapped up.  The release date for the movie has been pushed back nearly 8 months from March 15, 2013 to November 1, 2013.  Card also wrote about his visit to the set, the craft of the actors, and how they filmed the battle room scenes.

A Deseret News feature story on filmmaker Greg Whitley (New York Doll). “In terms of high-visibility documentary projects, Whiteley has been in production for several years on a documentary about Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. However, Whiteley refused to comment on the progress of the movie or any aspect of its production.”  Another website said it was a “an all-access, behind-the scenes look at the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.”  Whiteley is also working on an ongoing documentary project that delves into the late Catholic priest Henri Nouwen’s faith-promoting book “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” that meditates about the famous Biblical story.

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed, directed by Ryan Little, participated in the Playhouse West Film festival in Los Angeles. It won six awards, including best picture and audience choice. The film opens in limited release on August 17.

A review and discussion of The Book of Mormon Movie at the Mormon Expression podcast. Three of the four panelists appear to be disaffected Mormons, and one is a non-Mormon. They rate the movie as among the worst they have ever seen, and have some interesting commentary on whether the a cinematic take on the Book of Mormon that sticks closely to the text could ever make for enjoyable viewing for a Mormon audience.

Theater

Bizarre and Beautiful Stories: a review of Mahonri Stewart’s new book of plays, by Laura Craner (A Motley Vision). Laura especially appreciated The Fading Flower, a play about the Joseph Smith family after the martyrdom.

Mahonri Stewart Uncut: Telling Our Own Stories Scott Hales at The Low-Tech World does a long interview with Mahonri Stewart about his new collection The Fading Flower & Swallow the Sun, and talks about representing Mormon characters on-stage.

Bestsellers

New York Times Bestseller Lists, June 17th, June 24th, and July 1st.  I also note where the books are on the USA Today bestseller list, which lumps all books, hardcover, paperback, fiction, non-fiction, into one 150 book list.

Hardcover Fiction

#15, #23, x THE ROAD TO GRACE, by Richard Paul Evans (5th week). Fell off the list in July.

Mass Market Paperbacks

#21, #26, #19 ENDER’S GAME, by Orson Scott Card. Seventh week on the main (#20 and higher) list, and becoming a permanent feature on the extended list.  #134 on the USA Today list.

Children’s Paperback

#6, #9, #10 MATCHED, by Ally Condie (39th week).  Still holding on.

Children’s Series

#9, #10, #10 THE MAZE RUNNER TRILOGY, by James Dashner (27th week).

Deseret Book bestsellers

  1. Come to Zion, Vol. 1: The Winds and the Waves by Dean Hughes
  2. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
  3. The Wishing Garden by Anita Stansfield
  4. Switchback by Clair M. Poulson
  5. The Newport Ladies Book Club: Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack
  6. Murder by the Way by Betsy Brannon Green
  7. Letters in the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears
  8. Defensive Tactics by Steve Westover
  9. Passage on the Titanic by Anita Stansfield
  10. My Lucky Stars by Michele Paige Holmes
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7 Responses to This Week in Mormon Literature, June 23, 2012

  1. Jonathon says:

    Andrew: “James” Goldberg was the co-winner of WIZ’s Spring Runoff.

    Salaam!

  2. Andrew Hall says:

    Fixed. Also added news of an audio book award for a Larry Correia book.

  3. Jonathon says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Pipe down, Goldberg! I did you a solid. I was going to have to take credit for the poem (and it’s one I would gladly claim).

  4. Susan Auten says:

    Thanks for the shout out. I wonder if you guys know that my brother, Mark Henshaw (who is also LDS) has a book that was released May 1st. Red Cell (Simon and Schuster). It has done very well, but I don’t think most people know he’s LDS.

  5. Andrew says:

    Susan,
    Mark’s book was included in the May 20th This Week column, along with strong reviews from PW and Kirkus. The Mormon Tom Clancy!
    http://blog.mormonletters.org/?p=4521

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