Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: The MIA “Dramatic Clubs”

HoraceGWhitneyI’ve written before about the once great status of Mormon theatre, and the infrastructure it once enjoyed. So I was pleased to find comments about the beginning of this infrastructure from Horace G. Whitney, longtime Deseret News editor-in-chief and the paper’s drama critic. In my opinion infrastructure, broadly conceived, accounts for much of what has happened in Mormon drama over the past century. Whitney, in the article below, describes a vision of how drama could operate under the MIA and ward amusement committees (which were roughly the equivalent of the recently disbanded ward activities committees, I assume).

Continue reading “Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: The MIA “Dramatic Clubs””

Is this the first bestseller by a Mormon not written in English?

desperte o milionário que há em voceÌ‚ carlos martins wizard multi holding livro2A few weeks ago a book by the Brazilian language entrepreneur and LDS Church member Carlos “Wizard” Martins, who started the massive Wizard Language Schools chain (similar to Berlitz), reached the bestseller lists in Brazil. I’m fairly sure that the book Desperte o milionário que há em você (Awake the Millionaire Inside of You) is, I believe, the first by a Brazilian Mormon to reach the bestseller list.

I first heard of his book just before it was launched in April, and I didn’t give it much thought then–I’m not really in the book’s the target audience of those seeking a financial fortune and I suspect I could just as easily get a copy of the book that started this genre, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 self-help classic Think and Grow Rich, to say nothing of the various similar books penned by Mormons here in the U.S. But now that Martins has achieved a Mormon milestone in Brazil, I have to wonder if he is the first Mormon to reach the best seller list with a book not originally written in English?

Continue reading “Is this the first bestseller by a Mormon not written in English?”

What mormon books to read this summer?

TeachA few days I came across a link to a blog post about what to read this summer: 101 Books To Read This Summer Instead of ’50 Shades of Grey.’ I thought it was a clever way of suggesting classic books to read and classifying those books. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to do the same thing for Mormon books?

Continue reading “What mormon books to read this summer?”

The love and hate of The Giant Joshua

.

In 1941 when Maurine Whipple’s The Giant Joshua was released, her publishers anticipated huge sales and an endorsement from Church leadership. Whipple doubted this very much. In the end—and the publisher blamed this on the advent of WWII—the book was not the breakout success New York anticipated.

The only official statement in a Church organ was John A. Widtsoe’s review in the February 1941 Improvement Era. Based on the vitriol the novel allegedly had hurled against it, I expected this review to be dripping with anger and outrage. That’s not what I found: Continue reading “The love and hate of The Giant Joshua

Make Known His Wonderful Works: The LDS international art competition and a failure of web-imagination

.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think there is a big crossover between AMV readership and Thumblr (my Tumblr blog, natch). On Thumblr for the next few days, I’m posting art from the Church’s international art competition; theme this year, “Make Known His Wonderful Works.”

With each piece I post, I’m directing people to the competition’s website where they can view other pieces and vote for their favorite[s]. (I’m unclear on whether you are allowed to vote for multiple pieces.)

Notwithstanding the Church’s clear interest in social-networking Internet efforts (eg, mormon.org), this effort of mine is likely to prove an abysmal waste of time.

Behold:

This is a shot from one of my favorite pieces, a painting of Joseph Smith holding the baby Jesus, by Brian Kershisnik. If you’re having trouble making out the image, it’s because the Church website has broken the painting into several jpgs and by copying the image’s URL, this is all I was able to share. This is, I presume, to prevent people from stealing the images, I suppose? Continue reading “Make Known His Wonderful Works: The LDS international art competition and a failure of web-imagination”

Deseret Book creates an app–but why?

0-a-mzl.msdqpioj.175x175-75Last week the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Deseret Book has produced its own eReader app to make its books available on Apple iPhones and iPads. Since its ebooks were already available on the Kindle, I’ve been thinking about why many publishers have decided to do this, and what it might mean for the future of publishing and for the LDS market.

Continue reading “Deseret Book creates an app–but why?”

Cracroft to stop writing Book Nook

Richard H. CracroftAfter 20 years of writing about books written by “BYU faculty, staff, alumni, and members of BYU’s Board of Trustees,” emeritus BYU professor Richard H. Cracroft will stop writing his Book Nook column with the Summer issue of BYU Magazine.

This move ends one of the more consistent and long-term sources of information about Mormon literature, which makes up a significant portion of Cracroft’s coverage. The columns mention as many as a dozen titles, meaning that over 20 years Cracroft has covered something approaching a thousand books. His column was especially valuable for the first decade of its existence, before the AML review archive was started and reviews of LDS books became much more common.

Most of the columns are available online in the BYU Magazine archives, which go back to 1996. For the first 5 years of Cracroft’s Book Nook column, you’ll have to find them in a library or private collection.

If I get a chance, I’ll call BYU Magazine later today and ask if the column will be continued by someone else. [I called — see comment #11 below.]