Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Summer Reading Thingy books (and a new link!)

Like so many of my other posts, this one starts off as a confession: I've been avoiding you.

It's true. I've had a lot of stuff happening in my life the last couple weeks that I can't blog about. It's big, emotional, personal stuff and I can't put it out here right now. Part of me wants to, but there are only so many ways you can make yourself vulnerable at once. There have to be limits. Most of the time being open about stuff gives it the light and fresh air it needs to clean itself out. But sometimes being open about stuff just makes the sores bigger. I mean, Band-Aids exist for a reason. I'm telling you all this because I'm pretty sure you'd see right through me if I tried to pretend that things are hunky-dory (does anyone besides me still use that word?). And because I believe in being honest and asking for support when you need it. But being honest doesn't always mean piling all your guts on the table.

So I'm going to talk about books instead. Here are a couple reviews for LDS Publisher's Summer Reading Thingy.

* Abinadi by H.B. Moore. I was excited for this one since it won a Whitney (which is sort of like a People's Choice Award for Mormon Literature), but it really didn't work for me. It won the award for best historical fiction but I have to admit I don't see how it was super-historical. The book is really a romance. Any historical detail is completely overshadowed by the drama of the love story. The characters are completely modern--making choice based on modern motivations, using modern speech, and holding modern values. I'm not a big romance fan in the first place and the fact that Moore chose to take the story of Abinadi, which raises a lot of interesting questions, and turn it into a love story really bothered me. The book felt like one long red herring. To be fair, a lot of people liked this book--as evidenced by the Whitney award it received and the glowing reviews it's been gotten over at LDS Readers. But it didn't work for me. (I detail some of my specific gripes in this post over at AMV.)

*Long After Dark by Todd Robert Petersen. I liked this book so much I'm working on an interview/review for A Motley Vision. It was also an award winner--it got an Arty Award from a Salt Lake City newspaper. For more info on the book check out William's review at AMV.

* The Conversion of Jeff Williams by Doug Thayer. Can't remember if I mentioned this one here. I recommended it over at AMV for Father's Day and I bought a copy for my dad. This is actually one of the single best pieces of LDS fiction I have ever read. Can't recommend it enough. Here's what I put on my Goodreads review: "This book blew me away. One of the best Mormon books out there. It manipulates the tension between LDS faithfulness and earnest questioning with such skill; this has got to be Thayer's best work. . . Everyone should read this book."

I also read Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper (I had to know what all the fuss was about), The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. Fun stuff.

I hope you all are doing some good reading this summer, too. Tell me, what new favs have you picked up?

Also, FYI, there's another depressed (but not unhappy) Mormon blogger out there. She's completely anonymous but here's her blog:



Lacey said...

You're in my thought and prayers. I hope things look up for you really soon. And thanks for all the book recommendations... I always find your opinions completely reliable and appreciate them!

Th. said...


I'm excited to see what you to with Petersen. I love that book so much.

I've been wanting to read Abinidi for a while but everything I read this last month or so is cooling my ardor.

I've read a couple Thayer short stories (boring) and I'm currently being bored silly by Hooligan. But enough people love Jeff Williams that I may have to try one more thing before I write him off completely. We'll see.

Laura said...

Th.-- I also have a hard time with Thayer's short stories. And _Hooligan_ was so, so, so boring. I figured that's because I wasn't a little boy growing up in Utah during the Depression, though. _The Conversion of Jeff Williams_ was completely different for me. Does Thayer's use of the second person bother you? Drove me nuts.

Luisa Perkins said...

I can see I'm going to have to get the Thayer book; thanks for these reviews.

Valerie said...

I still say hunkey-dorey (although apparently I spell it different), LOL

(((hugs))) to you for whatever you're dealing with. I hope you feel like sharing soon, only because then maybe my mormon life won't seem to suck so much. ;)