Q1 2018 Books in Review

I did it! I wanted to try doing my book reviews on a quarterly basis this year and look! #ICanDoHardThings

I had an interesting mix of bookses this time around (That’s how Gollum would say it. No, I didn’t re-read LOTR. Yes, I want to.)

Children’s Book

Good Morning Moroni

By: Jed Nelson Platt

I like to find a good children’s book to review every once in a while and this one was PERFECT. It is a teeny tiny bit cheater that I work with the author’s wife, so I am probably a little biased, but I. Loved. This. Book. It is written in a cadence similar to Good Night, Moon but it’s about temple and family history work (my faves) and the illustrations are beautiful and I love it. You can get it at the Here Provo bookstore in (#obvi) Provo or at the BYU Bookstore (http://www.byustore.com/9781606451861-Good-Morning-Moroni). No, these aren’t affiliate links. It’s just a self-published book so it’s harder to find and I’m just helping you out if you want it.


To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson

By: Heidi S. Swinton

[Audiobook: Pretty good].

A few months ago, I decided it was finally time to crack down and finish President Thomas S. Monson’s biography, which I’d started years before. With his passing in January, it became an immediate need to follow up on that prompting. I wrote about my testimony of knowing that Thomas S. Monson was a prophet of God in another post. But his biography reminded me of all the good he did in his life.

His biography basically covers most of the history of the Church since the 1940s. And it definitely contains almost the entire history of the Church in Germany, which is miraculous and amazing. I was astounded at what I learned from President Monson’s ministry that I did not know. And it was fun to listen to some of the familiar stories and gather more details. I was reminded of another reason I felt a connection with him–he loves the news industry and was all about communications and journalism.  His biography is remarkable and well worth your time.

Religious Books

All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience

By: Neal A. Maxwell

Since I’m a little stuck on the religious theme already, here goes one of the best reads of this round. I kept messing up my bookmark on my online reader on this one, so I read several sections several times, which I actually think is a great idea for any Maxwell read. I already want to read it again. I gained some beautiful insights into the “whys” of life and into just about everything.

Some of the top quotes that impressed me:

“Friendships, as well as families, are forever. If our regard for others is tied solely to their role, how real is that regard? We, more than others, should carry jumper and tow cables not only in our cars, but also in our hearts, by which means we can send the needed boost or charge of encouragement or the added momentum to mortal neighbors.”

“All of us should strive, therefore, to have some friendships that are deep and solid–so solid, for instance, that if they were interrupted, the unfinished conversation could be resumed months later almost in mid-sentence, just as if we had never been apart.”

“It has only been in recent times, since people started saying they love all mankind, that neighbors have suffered so much neglect.”

“God has foreseen what we will do and has taken our decision into account (in composite with all others), so that His purposes are not frustrated. It is unfortunate that our concerns do not center more upon the correctness of what we do in a given moment–and less upon whether or not God’s having foreseen what we would do then somehow compromises our agency.”

“It is strange that when one is remodeling a portion of his house, he expects visitors to be tolerant of his improvements that are so obviously underway. Yet while one is remodeling his character, we often feel obligated to call attention to the messy signs of remodeling, or feel called upon to remember aloud things as they were. Forgetting is such a necessary part of forgiving.”

“There may be some value in ‘instant replay’ in order to learn what we can and then move on. But some of us engage in ‘constant replay,’ which can be enervative and destructive of our self-confidence.

Heavens, just read the book.


Call the Midwife

By: Jennifer Worth

Remember that one time I actually watched part of a TV series? It was Call the Midwife. And I really loved it up until season 4 or so. Likely because I was so intrigued by it that I looked it up and discovered that around then, the family said the script was not really in line with the memoir anymore. So I opted for the memoir.

It was fun to read it after watching the show because I felt like they got some of the characters SPOT. ON. Like Chummy. The gist of the story? A nurse goes to the East End of London to help as a midwife amid a huge increase in births in that area. She finds her station is in Nonnatus House (fictional name of a real place), with NUNS! Who were also midwives. The story is delightful and entertaining and much of what I thought couldn’t possibly be true when I watched the show was actually true. I learned a heck-a-lot about childbirth. And I also cried a lot.

Shadows of the Workhouse

By: Jennifer Worth

[Audiobook: Exceedingly excellent]

After I read the first book, I thought, “This book takes place in England. Ten pounds says that the audiobook reader will have a delightful British accent. Even though I can devour one of these books in just a few days, I MUST LISTEN TO ONE OF THEM.” And I was right. The reader had a delightful accent and the cockney was amazing to listen to. This book is incredibly sobering as it dives into the history of the workhouses in England. While designed to help the poor, and in some ways they may have…maybe, they were places of poverty, death, disease, and sadness. This memoir dives into an entire side narrative of a brother and sister who were sent to the workhouse and who later in life were Nurse Lee’s patients. A little shocking, but educative.

Farewell to the East End

By: Jennifer Worth

This one ties up Nurse Lee’s experiences as a midwife in the East End as she moves on past her nunnery nursing career. I came to love the characters and appreciated the glimpse into what life was like for mid-20th-century families in England. Series ends always make me sad. She has other books that I’ve got on request through Inter-Library Loan (the first time I’ve ever done that, so that’s cool) and her sister wrote a memoir about their early childhood, so stay tuned for more.


The Handmaid’s Tail

By: Margaret Atwood

So…I probably should have read the premise of this one before diving in. I just saw it was highly recommended on a book list somewhere (where?) so I picked it up. It’s just basically about a handmaid whose job it is to bear a child for infertile women with that woman’s husband in a dystopian society that is really way messed up. Dystopian novels are freaky and interesting. This book was way too racy for my taste, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it. There are much better choices for your time.


By: Stephen King


This was my first Stephen King novel. Someone recommended it. The premise? A man in our time discovers a portal that leads him back in time to a certain day. What, of all things, does he decide should be changed with his discovery? Prevent JFK’s assassination. And does he? Read it. Or don’t. I personally don’t like swears in books, but I particularly don’t like when they are used as common language. The F-word is prevalent in this book, as I found out too far in. And halfway through, it gets racy too. Ugh. The storyline was intriguing and intense–it is a Stephen King book after all–but I could have done without all the sludge he put in there. I’m guessing that’s how he writes (can anyone counter?) so I’ll probably avoid his books in the future.

I sometimes debate even putting in books I didn’t like, but I think it’s helpful for others to know what they may want to avoid.

Until next time, folks.





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