First, let me recognize that not all Mormons who know how to read went to Brigham Young University*, but we certainly have enough alumni to agree that readers of BYU Magazine are not an insignificant number of reading Saints (~215,000).
[*This gives me a chance to try out this joke I’ve been working on. I start by saying it’s not the “Lord’s” university, after which I quote this scripture: “And how be it my university save it be called in my name? For if a university be called in Brigham’s name then it be Brigham’s university; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the university of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my university. On the other hand, I’m not sure I ever want to hear Mike Patrick saying Jesus Christ has the ball on their own fifteen.” What do you think?]
To me, the only section of BYU Magazine that I’ve never missed is Richard Cracroft’s “Book Nook.” Though, sure, I wasn’t always superkeen on his selections, having the Harold Bloom of Mormon letters treat Mormon literature with seriousness and respect always allowed for the possibility that others will start treating Mormon literature with like seriousness and respect.
Having a semi-official organ promoting the likes of Doug Thayer and Angela Hallstrom is enormously important to the ascension of worthy Mormon letters. “Book Nook” can’t stop. It’s too important. Yet Cracroft is now retired.
Perhaps BYU Magazine has plans to continue “Book Nook” that they haven’t announced, but the official line is that books published will just get dumped in with other alumni news, listed like a classified ad, of no more importance to the culture as a whole as the fellow who was just made partner at his Cincinnati law firm. This makes me ineffably sad, with a capital f.
I imagine the average reader of BCC has appreciated a truly excellent Mormon book at least once. And I further imagine that the average reader of BCC thinks Mormon arts and culture are worth caring about.
So I propose we tell BYU Magazine just how important “Book Nook” has been and beg them to continue Cracroft’s legacy. He’s worked too hard for too long to just let his efforts at making our own literature respectable disappear. I don’t care if it’s a BYU professor who takes over (Gideon Burton? Chris Crowe?), an emeritus professor (Cherry Jones? Doug Thayer?), a rotating position (I’ll volunteer to go first), or some other solution, but please, BYU Magazine: You have a hugely important asset. Don’t let Brother Cracroft’s legacy gather dust on a shelf.
Please write them. Silence can kill.
(I’ve contacted all these. No idea whether or not a breathing body ever saw anything. They certainly didn’t write back.)