As it happened, I wound up sneaking one more category in under the deadline. Here’s my (somewhat belated) writeup.
Here’s my second (and given the timing, probably final) installment on this year’s Whitney finalists, following my earlier post on middle grades finalists. I’ll remind you of my two caveats: spoiler alert, and opinionated reader alert. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions.
And I’m trying it again! This year I’m starting with this year’s brand new category: middle grades.
Two warnings and an acknowledgment before we start. First, be prepared for spoilers, since I can’t talk about books without talking about story and theme. Second, these are only my own thoughts as a private and opinionated reader. I encourage everyone to share their thoughts, whether in agreement with mine or not. And my acknowledgment that in many cases (though only one of the books in this category, interestingly), books were provided in PDF format by the publishers, for review by Whitney Academy members — a courtesy for which I’m most grateful.
This is the fourth and last segment of my Whitney finalist reviews, following earlier installments on general fiction, general youth fiction, and speculative youth fiction. I would have liked to do the other categories as well, but these are the genres that lie closest to my heart — and as many as I could get to by the voting deadline, which is this coming Monday.
All the regular warning: Story spoilers. My own opinions. Thanks to publishers of No Angel and A Night of Blacker Darkness for making electronic copies available. Please chime in with your opinions.
A final comment: Opinions about specific finalists and categories notwithstanding, I think the Whitney Awards fill an invaluable role within the community of Mormon letters, and very much appreciate the work that goes into them, including those who administer the awards and particularly the committees of judges. Thanks to all of you for your hard work.
And here’s segment three of my Whitney finalist reviews, following earlier installments on general fiction and general youth fiction. There are some story spoilers. It’s all my own opinions. None of these publisher made electronic copies available, which was a bit of a pain, but we prevailed! And again, please chime in with your opinions, whether they agree with mine or not.
Welcome to Jonathan Langford’s second installment of Whitney finalist reviews. As noted in my last installment, some of these reviews include story spoilers. All represent only my own opinion, which all will agree is eminently fallible. Thanks to the publisher of Pride and Popularity for making a PDF version available for members of the Whitney Academy. And please feel free to chime in with your opinions, whether they agree with mine or not.
This year I decided I was going to try to read as many of the Whitney finalists as I can before the deadline for voting (April 23). I’m taking it in chunks-by-category, with the thought that this way, each category I complete is one more I get to vote for. Besides, this way I can post composite review/commentary posts like this one, where I talk briefly (or less briefly) about each book in turn, then make some general comments across the category. So here’s my first installment: general fiction.
As Motley Vision‘s newest Official Contributor, I feel an obligation to have my first post explain something of my experience within and attitude towards the Mormon arts.
Several months ago, I plotted out a post called “Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Artist” which I had intended to submit to William. I’m glad I never finished it however as further reflection has suggested to me that I was implying that that my proposed version of the hero’s journey was a necessary part of being a good Mormon artist. As if being an Orson Scott Card or a Dean Hughes is more admirable than being a Heather Moore or an Anita Stansfield (no sexism intended). And so I continued refining the idea and now I feel that it is not Mormon artists who are on a hero’s journey, but the Mormon arts entire. I will not be going into all seventeen stages of the monomyth, but I will deal with the three major groupings and hit on the secondary levels when they seem helpful.