Friday, October 15, 2010

Recommended Reading

I've had a few people ask me for good book recommendations lately and so I've put a widget on the sidebar of my blog that has some of my favorite books on women in the scriptures and LDS church history. I will keep adding to it from time to time and if I ever mention a book on my blog I'll add it to the widget so that you'll be able to find it easily. I'll try to do some book reviews soon.

Also, Jocelyn at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ nominated me for the "Lovely Blog Award." I'm honored! 

As part of the award I am suppose to:
  1. Accept the award. Post in on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Here are the five blogs I am passing the award on to. These are some of my favorite blogs and these women have inspired me so much. They are definitely on my recommended reading list. 

1. Apple Cider Mill-- a Catholic mother who is truly an inspiration. Here series on "Openness to Life" has change my whole view on motherhood and eternity. If I didn't have such a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the restoration  I'd seriously think about becoming a Catholic thanks to her. 

2. Misfit Cygnet-- don't read her blog if you are faint at heart she will make you re-evaluate your life in hard ways. I don't always agree with her, but she makes me think about hard things and I appreciate that. My little sister just lent me her copy of "The Hunger Games" and I was actually going to start it tonight but after reading her post about them  I think I'll skip this series. 

3. In the Doghouse Now-- if you want great spiritual insights this is your woman.  I love her post on the three veils of water.

4.  Conversion Diary-- another Catholic mother who has really influenced me. She used to be atheist and now is a faithful Catholic. I shared this article she wrote on my facebook page but it really impacted me so I'll share it again here-- the Catholic perspective on openness to life really resonates with my soul.

5. Asking Jane--  Jane is an LDS mother of 11 kids and has the absolutely most amazing outlook on life. She constantly reminds me that motherhood is a spiritual calling and that I should rely more on God, the scriptures, and personal revelation for parenting advice than on books or next door neighbors.

These are great reads, I promise.  Also I am ALWAYS looking for good books or books to read so if you have any good recommendations I'd love to hear them!


  1.'ve probably heard about her. Her story is amazing! Thanks for your blog. I love it!

  2. I must be "faint at heart." Ouch.

  3. I love Conversion Diary, too. She gives me Catholic envy.

    But I loved Hunger Games, and I was happy for my nine-year old to read the trilogy. There is violence, yes, and it is probably the most violent book she will read for a long time, but (and this is an old argument), there is violence in the Book of Mormon, too, and in the Bible (and in so many great works of literature, including things like Crime and Punishment).

    The question for me is, is the violence (or sex, or whatever else that is objectionable) depicted gratuitously or glamorously, and on both counts I say no for Hunger Games.

    And as for a moral -- Hunger Games is so superior to Twilight (which MC compares it to). My daughter and I have discussed at length how Katniss is the opposite of Bella Swan. Strong, courageous, self-sacrificing, humble, smart -- she volunteers for the Games to save her sister. I think strong arguments could be made for her as a mythic Christ figure.

    The second book in the trilogy reminded me of OSC's Ender's Game, so I bought the books for my dad for Father's Day.

    Literature has to have conflict. Conflict occurs when people sin (in the HG trilogy, it's the corrupt government and shallow, materialistic society who are most culpable). What matters is how those sins and fallible humans (the protagonists can't be flat saints, either, in good fiction) are portrayed, and I am confident that Hunger Games does not glorify or objectify violence in a way that could be considered pornographic. Far from it; the protagonists (and the reader) come away abhorring violence, and the culture that allows it.

  4. Hmmm... maybe I'll have to think about the Hunger Games. When my little sister gave it to me she warned me that I probably wouldn't like the violence-- she knows I am SUPER sensitive to that-- so I don't know if I will be able to take it. Violence is SUPER hard for me to handle. Images and things don't leave my mind easily-- my imagination is super strong and when I read things it is even more powerful for me than seeing it. I don't enjoy violence at all-- even in small doses. I'll have to think more about this.

    Busca, I don't think you are faint at heart. :) Everyone has to make their own choices.

  5. Busca--you are not alone. Nobody's perfect and we all have to just try our best. Everyone is different, and different people can be affected differently by things. Our leaders give us some guidelines, but they leave it up to us, with the guidance of the Spirit, to make the decisions about what we allow into our homes and into our minds.

  6. That Hunger Games discussion really put my head in a spin the other night. I talked to my husband about it for a LONG time (poor guy).

    In the end, neither of us regret reading the books. I also feel it was unfair of Misfit Cygnet to pass judgment on the series after only "three hours of reading/skimming" in the first book. You can't understand what the author is trying to communicate in a mere three hours of skimming that book, particularly when you go into it LOOKING for things to criticize. I feel that she totally (and infuriatingly) misrepresented the book in her description, which isn't surprising since she didn't really read it.

    Having said that, I can see why you might want to avoid it Heather... given what you said above.

    In my discussion with my husband, we talked a lot about the Spirit. I never once had the feeling reading the Hunger Games that I shouldn't be reading it. There have been other books I've read that I felt very clearly that I needed to STOP and take them back to the library. And I did. But, as I read the Hunger Games series, mostly I just felt so grateful for the insights I was gaining and the hope the books gave me. Yes, hope.

    I am not sure what to make of all this. Am I just being lulled away into "carnal security" without realizing it? Is my spiritual radar broken? Ugh. Maybe it is? I'll definitely be pondering that question.

    But I really did get turned-off by Misfit Cygnet. I spent quite a while reading posts on her site. I agreed with her on many points, actually. But I found her tone and style so unpleasant. And I don't think it's just because she's calling me to repentance. I've been chastised by the Lord and by the scriptures and by Conference talks many times, but those have never left me with a bad taste in my mouth... rather they have left me feeling humble and motivated to improve myself. Misfit Cygnet just really rubbed me the wrong way. I did NOT feel the Spirit reading her judgmental and critical words about her brothers and sisters and their choices. While she may have some good advice, she is presenting it in a way that I find really harsh and uncharitable.

    I know I REALLY needed President Monson's words at the General Relief Society broadcast. It was one of those times I really got chastised, but felt the Spirit so strongly and was so uplifted and motivated to do better. Perhaps Misfit Cygnet might benefit from rereading his words:

    "None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

    "There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: 'Judge not.'"

  7. Busca,

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them. I don't always agree with misfit cygnet-- sometimes I totally disagree with her-- but she definitely makes me think and re-evaluate my life. She makes me ask myself hard questions and discover how I feel about things-- and be able to defend them. I think that is why I like her blog, not because I always agree with what she says but because she raises hard questions.

    I think I still might skip the hunger games books because of the violence.

  8. Busca, thank you so much for what you said. Mysfit Cygnet gave me a similar feeling of dis-ease about another popular series I read and really enjoyed. I couldn't tell if it was a case of "the wicked taketh the truth to be hard" or if I was really not wrong. I did feel like I had been judged. I was also unsettled by a conversation in the comments of one of her articles where people were debating about whether or not maternity photos that expose a pregnant woman's belly skin are pornographic. I have such pictures from my recent pregnancy, and I think the ones I have are tasteful, though I have seen maternity pictures that I have thought were not.

  9. Congrats on your award! And thanks for sharing a list of some of your favorite blogs. I will definitely check them out.

  10. Hi Heather
    I have a favorite book, that I have been reading for at least 3 years now.
    It is called: Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris

    Here is a review from: Publishers Weekly
    "When poet Norris (The Cloister Walk) found her way back into church in the early 1980s, she was unsettled by what she calls the "vaguely threatening and dauntingly abstract" vocabulary of the church. Many of the words, like "Christ," seemed to her code words churchgoers used out of convenience when they could not find other words to use. Other words like "salvation," "conversion," and "dogma"?seemed to Norris to be too abstract to reflect meaningfully her own experience. In this "vocabulary of faith," Norris draws upon her considerable poetic skills to refashion the vocabulary of the church into her own religious vocabulary. In each of these meditations, Norris uses anecdotes and humor to invest these words with fresh meanings."

    I love this book and this author.Her life experience is quite fascinating. She is an "oblate"monk or lay person who can officiate in some duties as a monk.She spent a period in her life in a monostary. She records this journey in her book entitled "The Cloister Walk". This is her journey to find meaning in religon and challenge her own faith in God. The book Amazing Grace was helpful to me when I was investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I found so much to be overwhelmed by and at times still do. But I found that the "new language, and vocabulary" was a challenge. This book helped. It is like a journal of her thoughts. A good read.
    She is a poet and a feminist.