Time for the second annual recommendations for stress-free holiday shopping (see last year’s list for more titles). Let’s face it, nothing says, “I don’t care about you” more than a gift basket. For your Mormon friends and family, books are always an easy way to give without pressure. Feel free to give your recommendations as well.
An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, edited by Edwin B. Firmage (Signature Books, 1999). $13.46
It is Christmas and a solid devotional is part of what we celebrate. The life of Christ manifest in the souls of others. Hugh B. Brown was a special and Christ-like person, and most of us have no recollection of his tenure in the First Presidency. Another excellent recommendation comes to us from Brad, our newest BCC contributer: A Labor of Love: The Nineteen Forty-Six European Mission of Ezra Taft Benson (Deseret Books, 1989 – Note that in their quantity first model, the title is not even listed on Deseret Books website). At less than $10 for a hardback, this book is not only economical but it is a splendid and moving account of Benson’s interaction with post-war Europe.
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Paperback), by Richard L. Bushman (Vintage, 2007). $12.89
On the Road with Joseph Smith, by Richard L. Bushman (Kofford Books, 2007). $10.17
For the next two years we will be studying the teachings of Joseph Smith in our Priesthood and Relief Society meetings. What better
compliment complement to this curriculum than the new definitive biography of the prophet. Many have read this already as it was first released in 2005, but a new and inexpensive paperback takes away any excuse for not seeing him with fresh eyes.
Additionally, the author of RSR kept a journal during the publication of the biography. His candid writings (reviewed here) are an excellent addition for those people who are curious about the politics and realities of writing Mormon history.
The Golden Plates, 3 vols., by Michael Allred (AAA POP, 2005) $5-$8
Book of Mormon Stories, (LDS Church). $6.00
By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, by Teryll Givens (Oxford University Press, 2003). Paperback $19.95
This new year we will also be studying the Book of Mormon in our Sunday Schools.
Unfortunately, there is not a single volume on the Book of Mormon that we could think worthy of recommendation, except for kids. The Golden Plates are fun comic books that use the direct text from the Book of Mormon, coupled with sweet graphic art. My boys love them. Unfortunately they only go to volume three. My boys also enjoy the classic Church animated version. I can remember reading these as a kid and I am happy that my children are following suit. For the adults, Terryl Givens’s By the Hand of Mormon is the best scholarly treatment we have. It goes through history and meaning.
The J. Golden Kimball Stories, by Eric A. Eliason (University of Illinois Press, 2007). $20.00 ($50.00 for Hardback)
Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to read awesome stories about a swearing General Authority…even if they are folklore. Steve had a great interview with the author here. This should be on the back of every toilet in Zion. What’s more, it has some scholarly meatiness. Bonus.
BYU Studies, 1 year for $25.
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon thought, 1 year for $37.
Journal of Mormon History, 1 year for $45.
True it is that Mormon Studies publications are a bit expensive. Moreover, there appears to be a modern aversion to subscribing to anything. All the more reason to give subscriptions as a gift. Both BYU Studies and Dialogue are general Mormon Studies publications. You’ll find a little bit of everything (though Dialogue also has regular fiction). The JMH is not a subscription, per se. It is actually a membership to the Mormon History Association which comes with a year’s worth of journal and a regular newsletter. It is also focused on history, as the name implies.
In the President’s Office: The Diaries of L. John Nuttall 1879-1892, Jedediah S. Rogers, ed. (Signature Books, 2007). $125.00
Something for the high-roller. This is one of the more significant volumes of Signatures Significant Mormon Diaries Series. Nuttall was the personal secretary to several 19th century Church Presidents and his diary is a trove of wonderful information. It is hand-bound and beautiful (not to mention festively colored!). My only complaint is that it doesn’t include his early and later years of journalizing.
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, (America’s Test Kitchen, 2006). $23.07
I love ATK. And this is the best cookbook that I have ever used. Ever. Not only are the recipes universally excellent, but they have sweet consumer guides for various ingredients and kitchen wares.