“Backslider” Turns 20

One of the more interesting events in Mormon Literature this year is the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Backslider, perhaps the finest LDS novel published to date. (The other novel widely considered for this designation is Maureen Whipple’s The Giant Joshua. Personally, I prefer The Backslider). Continue reading ““Backslider” Turns 20″

Choice in LDS Books

Those who have read my previous posts (yes, those from last Fall, when I last gave myself enough time to write here) know that I think the market for LDS books is crippled. It is only able to supply a relatively narrow range of books to a relatively narrow audience, and as a result either ignores or turns-off a large portion, perhaps even the majority, of those who might purchase LDS books. Continue reading “Choice in LDS Books”

Criticism: The Importance of Being Ironic, Part One

In my opinion irony is a much and unreasonably maligned concept. Associating irony with offensive or subversive intent some relegate it to outer rhetorical darkness. This is especially true in some religious circles where irony is looked upon as being dangerous to steadfast belief. But is learning to identify and engage irony in fact more useful and needful than we might suspect? Could attempting to devalue or deny its power in fact create, escalate, or confirm the very ironic tensions we’re trying to avoid? In this multiple-part post I explore the power of irony and its potential artistic and spiritual value to people of all stripes. Note: Footnotes will appear at the end of the last post in the series, then I’ll put in links connecting all parts into one footnoted whole.

Williamsburg, Virginia–the maze behind the Governor’s Mansion. I’m in Mrs. Carter’s fourth grade class. Paths run left and right through manicured hedgerows. A guide gathers us at the maze’s entrance and says, “Start by going to your right.” Too young to worry about minotaurs, off we scamper through green corridors to find the maze’s secret center. Continue reading “Criticism: The Importance of Being Ironic, Part One”

Mormon Lit: A Believing People

Take a self-guided tour of important works of Mormon literature. That has been my ambition for a little while now. Having come into some book money (picture a cobalt-blue lake in the Canadian Rockies, a little wager with my wife, and me taking a very cold swim), I have started a small collection. I plan to exploit AMV to post reports of what I find. With any luck, good stuff will get some well-deserved attention and worthwhile conversations will ensue. At a minimum, posting this up front should motivate me to read, reflect, remember, and so forth well enough not to embarrass myself too much. 

My first stop: A Believing People (Richard Cracroft and Neal Lambert, editors). Continue reading “Mormon Lit: A Believing People”