BCC 2015 Christmas book guide

November 30, 2015

From By Common Consent
Another year, another Christmas gift book guide.

Hardy, The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition (UI Press), $21-$59
Faulcner, The Book of Mormon Made Harder (MI) $20
Mackay and Dirkmaat, From Darkness Unto Light: Joseph Smith’s Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon (RSD/Deseret) $25
Givens, By the Hand of Mormon (Oxford UP) $14 [see comments for discount]

We are back to the Book of Mormon. Topical Gospel Doctrine is yet forestalled another year (thankfully). Hardy’s reader’s edition is based on the 1921 text, but it is organized like a study bible and really changes how you approach the text. It is really great. Faulcner’s series is a play on the “made easier” shtick that seems popular in some areas. It is basically a series of questions (not answers) and is designed for fresher, deeper readings. Here is a review of his D&C volume. From Darkness Unto Light was written by a couple of JSPP alums and revisits the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon. They include some really interesting new material and treat things like seer stones very clearly. They also hired an artist to create new pieces depicting the translation (with hat, etc.)—pretty cool for a volume with a church-owned publishing house. Last is Givens’ perennial history of the Book of Mormon. Remember: “dialogic revelation.” The kids might like the iPlates series, and if you have the wallet for it, the JSPP’s full color publication of the printer’s manuscript (vol. 1 and vol. 2) will delight the nerdcore at $90 a pop.
Jensen & McKay-Lamb, A Book of Mormons: Latter-day Saints on a Modern-Day Zion (White Cloud), $15 [see comments for discount]
Peck, Evolving Faith: Wandering of a Mormon Biologist (MI) $20
Miller, Grace is Not God’s Backup Plan (Independent) $10

Emily Jensen and Tracy McKay-Lamb are frequent contributors here, so you may know of their awesomeness. With A Book of Mormons they gathered dozens of smart, faithful, and diverse Mormons to write about Zion in the context of now. We should have a review soon. Steve Peck also writes around here enough to be familiar: BYU Prof, evolutionary biologist, award winning fiction author (more on this later). The Maxwell Institute has published this blend of previous and new writings, which probes evolution, God, time, and the universe. Check out Evans’ review and Jana Reiss’ interview. I wish the cover art was made by Elder Packer, though. Adam Miller is also associated with the Maxwell Institute, and Blair interviewed him about this book on the MI podcast. Jason K. reviewed it here, and he provided an excerpt here. This is a paraphrase of Paul’s letter to the Romans (tldr: provocative).
Hall, A Faded Legacy: Amy Brown Lyman and Mormon Women’s Activism, 1872-1959 (UU Press) $35
Hedges, et al., JSP, Journals, Vol. 3: May 1843-June 1844 (Church Historian’s Press) $57
Reeve, Religion of a Different Color (Oxford UP) $33 [see comments for discount]

David Hall has been working on this biography of Amy Lyman for a long time and it was just released. There are no reviews yet, but you can get a taste for Hall’s work in his award-winning article on women’s activism and the Relief Society. I think this is the most important book on Mormonism and Women to be published this year, and perhaps in a long time. The final installment of Joseph Smith’s journals was just published as well (like this week). This volume tackles a lot of really important information and covers events leading to his death (temple, polygamy, theocracy, etc.). And lastly we have Paul Reeve’s volume on race and Mormonism. I had a brief review, as did Kevin. Ardis gave an excellent summary of the arguments in the volume as a comment. This one is clearly on the short list of required reading in Mormon history, I think.

Peck, Wandering Realities: Mormonish Short Fiction (Zarahemla) $15
As mentioned above, Steve is gifted in many fields. He has been called the greatest contemporary Mormon author of fiction. Evans reviewed this new collection of short fictionhere. Not much more we can say, really.
Mormon Studies Review $25 ($10 digital)
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought $50 ($25 digital) [see comments for discount]
Journal of Mormon History $70 ($30 digital)
BYU Studies Quarterly (currently offline – call only)

The annual subscriptions. The Mormon Studies Review is one of three journals by the Maxwell Institute (formerly FARMS). It provides reviews and essays by top scholars of Mormon Studies. This is to keep on top of the field. One issue a year, but you get digital access to all the journals with either paper or digital only subscription. BYU Studies and Dialogue are general Mormon Studies publications. You’ll find a little bit of everything (though Dialoguealso has regular fiction). The JMH is not a subscription, per se. It is actually a membership to the Mormon History Association which comes with a year’s worth of journal and a regular newsletter. It is strait up Mormon History, as the name implies. These three are all quarterly, but BYU Studies is typically significantly less pages than the other two.