15 Authors in 15 minutes–Mormon style!

It seems the “15 authors in 15 minutes” meme is making the rounds again on Facebook. Most, if not all, of my Mormon friends listed the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith as one of their fifteen. Some even went so far as to identify Moroni or Isaiah or Paul as an author. A few listed books by Stephen Robinson or one of the Apostles. Besides one mention of Rough Stone Rolling, none of them listed a non-doctrinal work by a Mormon author. Seriously. Bestsellers/cult fads like Twilight didn’t even make anyone’s list.

It got me wondering. Mostly about how many readers actively seek out Mormon titles or even know if a given author is Mormon. It also got me wondering how many people I know could list 15 Mormon authors, especially if I told them they couldn’t include General Authorities and prophets or their wives. Could people even name 15 non-doctrinal books?

So I’m putting the challenge to you all: Name me 15 Mormon authors in 15 minutes–but no General Authorities or prophets. Or name me your top 15 Mormon books. I suppose you can include doctrinal works here because, let’s face it, the doctrine of the Church is powerful and evokes strong responses. BUT see what you can do if you had to stick to fiction/historical titles. And what about ranking them? What non-doctrinal work would you rank as most influential in your reading?

I’m going to hold off posting my list since I don’t want to sully any of your good thinking. So set your timer and get typing!

27 thoughts on “15 Authors in 15 minutes–Mormon style!”

  1. Orson Scott Card
    Anne Parry
    Dave Wolverton
    Chris Heimerdinger
    Susan Even McCloud
    Hugh Nibley
    Coke Newell
    Angela Hallstrom
    Magaret Young
    Eric Saumuelsen
    Doug Thayer
    John Bennion
    Marilyn Brown
    Eugene England

    Oh, and Lee Allred, too 🙂

    — Lee

  2. “The Backslider,” Levi Peterson
    “Heaven Knows Why,” Samuel Taylor
    “Brigham City,” Richard Dutcher
    “Under the Cottonwoods & Other Stories,” Douglas Thayer
    “Love Chains,” Margaret Young
    “Peculiarities,” Eric Samuelsen
    “Bound on Earth,” Angela Hallstrom
    Hugh Nibley (various essays)
    Eugene England (various essays)
    May Swenson (poems)
    “The Sanctity of Dissent,” Paul Toscano
    “People of Paradox,” Terryl Givens
    “Rough Stone Rolling,” Richard Bushman
    “Little Happy Secrets,” Melissa Leilani Larson
    “Prodigal Son,” James Goldberg

  3. Oh wait! How could I forget “The Lonely Polygamist” and “Leap”? Both should be up there with “The Backslider” and “Heaven Knows Why” at the very top of the list.

  4. These are alas, not in any particular order

    Orson Scott Card-Storyteller in Zion, to me it outshines his fiction.
    Dave Wolverton-Runelords series
    John Brown-Servant of a Dark God,various essays
    Larry Corriea-Monser Hunter International, various essays
    Dan Wells-IANASK, various essays
    Willum Pugmire-various short stories
    Tracy Hickman-Dragonlance series
    Scott Roberts-Blackberry Witch
    Lee Nelson-Storm Testament, Tom and Huck among the Indians
    Jaleta Clegg-Nexus Point
    Michael Collings-Nephiad, In the Void
    Dan Willis-Dragonlance: New Adventures
    Daron Fraley-The Thorn
    Eric James Stone-various shorts
    P.D. Mallamo-Sign of the Gun

  5. Wow! There are so many directions this could go… I’m going to try to name the 15 non-doctrinal Mormon authors that I think have had the biggest impact on me (not necessarily the highest quality), with the specific works that impact or have impacted me as an LDS reader.

    1. Tom Rogers — all of his plays
    2. Orson Scott Card — Tales of Alvin Maker series, Folk of the Fringe, The Worthing Chronicle, Saints
    3. Doug Thayer — The Tree House
    4. Nephi Anderson — Added Upon
    5. Leonard Arrington — Memoirs of a Church Historian, The Mormon Experience
    6. Doug Stewart, Saturday’s Warrior
    7. Richard Bushman — Rough Stone Rolling
    8. Zenna Henderson — The People stories
    9. Dave Wolverton/Farland — Serpent Catch, Path of the Hero, Runelords series
    10. Lee Allred — For the Strength of the Hills
    11. Eric Samuelsen — Various plays (some of which have impacted me even though I haven’t read them)
    12. Chris Bigelow et al. — The Sugar Beet
    13. Jack Weyland — Punch and Cookies Forever
    14. Ed Snow — Peculiar People
    15. Me!

  6. Elouise Bell
    Mark Bennion
    Orson Scott Card
    Neal Chandler
    Michael Collings
    Jessica Day George
    Shannon Hale
    Angela Hallstrom
    Lee Martin
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Todd Robert Petersen
    Levi Peterson
    Brandon Sanderson
    Dan Wells
    Margaret Blair Young

    (I included only people whose work I’d read, but not people I’m friends with, else I could have filled it half with FOB members.)

  7. Leaving out general authorities changes my list a little — I mean, I can’t list Maxwell, really?

    But ok, I’ll try:

    Orson Scott Card
    S. Michael Wilcox
    Eliza R. Snow (I can count her, right?)
    Eugene England
    Virginia Sorenson
    John Bytheway (I can hear you groaning now, but he’s funny and helpful for my teen)
    Sheri Dew
    Shannon Hale
    Robert L. Millet
    Stephen Covey
    Brandon Mull
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Doug Thayer
    Leonard Arrington
    and one book — Jerusalem – the Eternal City by Galbraith, Ogden, and Skinner

    Truth be told, I don’t usually seek out Mormon authors when I’m looking for fiction, but if it’s really good, like Orson Scott Card’s novels, I’ll get them. I usually read Mormon authors for scripture study, Mormon research, motivational/inspirational, biographies of GAs, etc. Perhaps some people would not consider all of them to be true, literary authors, but they’ve had a book published so I’m counting them. I’ve never read the Twilight series, out of sheer rebellion against the masses.

  8. Eugene England
    (Essays–I particularly like “Enduring”)

    Virginia Sorensen
    (All her stuff is good, but I love her semi-autobiographical book “Where Nothing is Long Ago”)

    Dean Hughes
    (I like his WWII era “Children of the Promise” series, but think his “Hearts of the Children” set in the 1960s is even better. He does a great job looking at hard, social issues in a faithful Church context)

    Louise Plummer
    (She mostly writes for a national audience, but she is so funny and insightful in her fiction. I think her book ‘A Dance for Three’ is excellent, though not as funny as her others)

    Carol Lynch Williams
    (Also mostly writes for a national audience, but another excellent YA/juvenile lit author)

    Doug Thayer
    (I liked Under the Cottonwoods, but I think The Tree House is his best work and one of the best Mormon books out there)

    Alan Rex Mitchell
    (Angel of the Danube is one of my favorite missionary stories ever)

    Margaret Blair Young
    (I’m mostly familiar with her short stories and they are all excellent)

    Angela Hallstrom
    (Bound on Earth is another book that I recommend to just about everyone I know)

    Kathryn Lynard Soper
    (Her memoir about motherhood–The Year My Son and I Were Born–is one of the most honest examinations of the complexities of parenthood that I’ve read; she also does fabulous blogging and is the editor of Segullah, one of my favorite journals)

    Coke Newell
    (On the Road to Heaven is a fascinating look at conversion and missionary work)

    Jack Harrell
    (His short stories are great and I also loved his novel Vernal Promises)

    Emma Lou Thayne
    (I love personal essay and poetry and I have loved everything I’ve read by her, plus she wrote one of my favorite hymns)

    Shannon Hale
    (Another general market, YA author; I never used to like fantasy very much, but her books are some of the first that started changing my mind)

    Terry Tempest Williams
    (Refuge is just amazing)

    Until about 8-9 years ago I never really sought out Mormon literature at all. Then my husband got involved with the creative writing program at BYU and we both started discovering Mormon literature. Since then I’ve been a bit of ‘evangelist’ for the legitimacy and quality of Mormon lit–I try to get my family and friends to read many of the authors that have been listed here. Those are just the ones that came to mind as people I’ve read and really responded to for various reasons. I don’t read a lot of drama or poetry, regardless of the author. I especially like memoir and personal essay, as I’m sure you can tell from my list.

  9. Is this meant to be off the top of one’s head, or is research allowed? Or copy and paste? Or should I just list a link to my bibliography Web site? Is that cheating? There are 15 authors in the “A” section of the novels alone, and I think I counted 182 total novel authors.

    I’ll list the ones I have been following currently that aren’t on any one else’s list:

    Lynn Kurland
    James Dashner
    Bree Despain
    Lisa Mangum
    Rachel Nunes
    Aprilynne Pike
    Jeff Scott Savage
    James A. Owen
    Steven L. Kent
    Becca Fitzpatrick
    Forrest Aguirre
    Nancy Fulda
    Julie Berry
    Ally Condie
    Shelia Nielsen
    Kiersten White
    Mette Ivy Harrison

  10. Good lists. I’d add these:
    Richard Paul Evans
    Jay Parry
    Teryl Givens
    Gerald Lund
    and the current bestseller of all these:
    Glenn Beck

  11. .

    Before looking at everyone else’s, I typed this list:

    Levi Peterson
    Orson Scott Card
    Lisa Downing
    Angela Hallstrom
    Margaret Blair Young

    Curtis Taylor
    Anne Perry
    Shannon Dean
    Dan Wells
    John Brown

    Wayne Jorgensen
    Doug Thayer
    Timothy Liu
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Jack Harrell

    Which was really easy and only took a couple minutes. But clearly I’m not the sort of person apt to be challenged by this kind of challenge. Not a boast, just an observation. Now to look at the other comments….

  12. Ok, I’ll bite. A different list than what you got from me from Facebook… and as you’ll recall, I think there were no scriptures in mine, though I thought twice about maybe adding Neal A Maxwell to that list… doesn’t CS Lewis count as a proto-Mormon?

    Anyway, here they are, in the order I thought of them. Nothing should be read into the meaningfulness of any of them, they’re just who I thought of in a hurry.

    1. Orson Scott Card
    2. Stephenie Meyer (Did I spell that right? You know, the vampire lady? I haven’t read any of her stuff but I’ve sure heard about it.)
    3. Lee Ann Setzer (a dear friend)
    4. Paris Anderson (my brother-in-law)
    5. Gerald Lund (he wrote those books before becoming a Seventy, so he counts, right?)
    6. (Somebody-whose-first-name-escapes-me) Larsen (he wrote books whose title started with “Lucky” that I bought for my kids a long time ago.
    7. Nephi Anderson (I guess I thought of this guy since I thought of my brother-in-law, above.)
    8. Kathryn Kidd
    9. Carol Lynn Pearson
    10. Jane McBride Choate (I don’t think anyone has been published more often in the Friend)
    11. Ardis Parshall (Can’t get enough of what she writes over at Keepa)
    12. Emma Marr Peterson (didn’t all of us of a ‘certain age’ get our first scripture stories from her?)
    13. Glenn Beck (Cuz I passed his book at Wal-mart today, which should probably say it all)
    14. You (my dear VT Companion)
    15. Can I count Me? (Does one story in the Friend count?)

  13. Here is a slightly different list:

    Leonard Arrington: The Great Basin Kingdom
    Thomas Alexander: Mormonism in Transition
    James Allen & Glen Leonard: The Story of the Latter-day Saints
    Richard Bushman: Rough Stone Rolling
    Linda Newell & Valeen Avery: Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
    Dennis Largey (Ed.): Book of Mormon Reference Companion
    Henry J. Eyring: Mormon Scientist
    Jessie Embry: Mormon Polygamous Families
    Andrew Ehat & Lyndon Cook: The Words of Joseph Smith
    Juanita Brooks: The Mountain Meadow Massacre
    Royal Skousen: The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text
    Sam Taylor: The Last Pioneer: John Taylor
    Gregory Prince: Power from on High
    Richard Bennett: Mormons at the Missouri
    Carol Madsen: Journey to Zion

  14. Thanks. I realized that when I went back and read the others’ contributions. So my apologies to Brother Hughes…

  15. Liz Adair
    Josi Kilpack
    Orson Scott Card
    Janet Kay Jensen
    Doug Thayer
    Jonathan Langford
    Chris Bigelow
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Marilyn Brown
    Anita Stansfield
    Michele Ashman Bell
    Julie Wright
    Richard Paul Evans
    Jason Wright
    Glenn Beck

    Thanks for this challenge. I’m thinking in terms of fiction because I’ve been making my own survey this year, so I haven’t listed any nonfiction. I’ve just put up on my blog, The Write Stuff, the first of three parts of an essay on the topic of LDS fiction. pamwrite.blogspot.com. There’s also an earlier entry about how hard it is to be a reader when you’re a writer.

  16. These lists are awesome! When I get a minute I’m totally going to tally up these results and post a master list somewhere on AMV. You guys are so well read!

    I would add Patricia Karamesines to the others on people’s lists. I basically adore everything she writes.

    (Coffinberry–Thanks for including me; you’re too kind. Gotta get one of my books in publishable form. Someday. . .)

  17. Hm.

    Stephenie Meyer.
    Shannon Hale.
    Anne Perry
    Orson Scott Card.
    Christopher Heimerdinger.
    Blaine Yorgason
    Brenton Yorgason
    Margaret Young
    Stephen Covey
    Terry Tempest Williams
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Eric Snyder (one of my favorite humor columnists)
    George Handley (Check out his new book, Home Waters… a good friend of mine and avid environmentalist)
    Lance Larsen (my favorite LDS poet, and one of my favorite poets, period)
    Stephenie Fowers (don’t read her books, unless you love fluff. Which sometimes, I do.)

  18. Hm.

    Stephenie Meyer.
    Shannon Hale.
    Anne Perry
    Orson Scott Card.
    Christopher Heimerdinger.
    Blaine Yorgason
    Brenton Yorgason
    Margaret Young
    Stephen Covey
    Terry Tempest Williams
    Carol Lynn Pearson
    Eric Snyder (one of my favorite humor columnists)
    George Handley (Check out his new book, Home Waters”¦ a good friend of mine and avid environmentalist)
    Lance Larsen (my favorite LDS poet, and one of my favorite poets, period)
    Stephenie Fowers (don’t read her books, unless you love fluff. Which sometimes, I do.)

  19. Parley P. Pratt
    Nephi Andersen
    Orestes Utah Bean
    Samuel W. Taylor
    Clinton Larson
    Eric W. Samuelsen
    Maureen Whipple
    Vardis Fisher
    Jack Anderson
    Levi Peterson
    Jon Beck Shank
    Orson Scott Card
    Jack Weyland
    Ruth and Nathan Hale
    Brady Udall

    Um, 15 is too few.

  20. Re Kent: In my case, it’s because I read too much pop fiction. Not really into the “Mormon Classics” at this point… maybe when my reading time is no longer veg-time for me, I’ll get some more substantial reading in. Just try reading P.P. Pratt while five whiny kids are tugging at your sleeve. 🙂

  21. Okay, without looking at the other ones to give me ideas:

    Angela Hallstrom
    Kathryn Lynard Soper
    Orson Scott Card
    Shannon Hale
    John Brown
    Dan Wells
    Brandon Sanderson
    Mette Ivie Harrison
    Jessica Day George
    Julie Berry
    Jamie Ford
    Janette Rallison
    Stephenie Meyer
    Kiersten White
    Louise Plummer
    Ally Condie
    Ann Cannon
    Ann Dee Ellis

    How many is that? there are way more than that. With the exception of Angela Hallstrom, everyone I named has published with a national publisher; that was my personal criteria for the list. And my list could be much longer. It skews YA, because that’s my favorite genre.

  22. Sarah,thanks for mentioning George Handley’s new book Home Waters. I hadn’t heard about it and am ordering a copy. Look for a review.

    Laura, thanks for the very kind words. Made my day.

  23. .

    It’s skewed recent because they came to mind first. Writers dead at least fifty years (I think; I’m not checking) that I like (or sorta like) (and I’m allowing for GAs this time):

    Nephi Anderson
    Parley P Pratt
    Eliza Snow
    Hosea Stout
    Juanita Brooks

    M Whipple
    Samuel Taylor
    Orson Pratt
    Orestes Bean
    Josephine Spenser

    Oliver Cowdery
    BH Roberts
    Paul Bailey
    WH Phelps
    William Clayton

  24. How about Laurel Thatcher Ulrich? I haven’t seen her recognized yet. She’s a wonderful author.

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