Here are a couple more media items that hit this week. The first is from Publishers Weekly:
Conversations with Mormon Authors
Compiled and edited by Christopher Kimball Bigelow. Mormon Arts and Letters (Baker & Taylor, dist.), $39.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-85051-111-6; paper $17.95 ISBN 978-0-85051-108-6
On the heels of Mormonism for Dummies and the hilarious Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, Bigelow leans on his background as founding editor of the Mormon literary magazine Irreantum to explore questions of LDS writing and literature. This anthology of interviews with 28 LDS authors explores a range of genres from young adult romance to screenplays, poetry to sci-fi and fantasy. Powerhouses like novelists Levi Peterson and Terry Tempest Williams, essayist Eugene England, filmmaker Richard Dutcher and humorist Robert Kirby all weigh in.
The questions go from the sublime (Is there a coherent Mormon literary scene? Will there ever be an LDS Saul Bellow or Flannery O'Connor? What is faithful writing?) to the nuts and bolts of writing habits, publishing houses and marketing. It has some blatant holes in its roster (no Gerald Lund or Orson Scott Card), but most of all it lacks an epilogue from the editor that could have provided some analysis of recurring themes and internal debates. That work is left entirely to the reader. Nevertheless, this collection will be valuable to the growing field of Mormon studies and will be a must-read for aspiring
For the record, I did try to get Lund and Card, but Lund politely declined and Card has never once answered any of my correspondence over the years. I did do an intro to the book that touched on themes; it never occurred to me to do an afterword, and I agree that would have been a good touch...
And from this morning's newspaper:
LDS spoof reaching its target audience
Salt Lake Tribune
As an open-minded Utahn, I've been trying to learn more about Mormonism by catching up on my reading. The Church News? Ensign? Temple Square's bathroom walls? Nope - The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, a new fake-news humor book from the writers of The Sugar Beet, a Mormon version of The Onion.
The book is full of witty and informative articles under such headlines as, "Poll Reveals Majority of Men 'Highly Satisfied' with Patriarchy," "Provo Man Votes Democratic 'Just to See What It Feels Like,' '' and "Existence of Nine Children Suggests 'Intimate Relations' Between Mom, Dad."
Provo-based editor Christopher Kimball Bigelow says reaction to The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer has been mostly positive, although some devout Mormons aren't laughing.
"I pushed it as far as I could and not get struck by lightning," chuckles Bigelow, who, last time he checked, was still a church member in good standing. "What the book does is separate the sheep from the goats. Some of the sheep find it a little irreverent for their tastes."
The book is available at major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble's Sugar House location (1104 E. 2100 South), where Bigelow will read and sign it Friday at 5:30 p.m. It's also being sold at - surprise! - the BYU campus bookstore.
You won't find it at Deseret Book, however. "It's an inventory issue," says Gail Halladay, spokeswoman for the LDS-themed bookstore chain. "They [our buyers] didn't think it would sell well."
Why not? Mormons have a sense of humor, too, right? Right?
Anyway, lots of fun, and hopefully this helps some more momentum for my projects. I need to try to type an actual blog entry sometime soon instead of only posting self-promotional media items...