My Top 3 Book Recommendations

Moving Pictures

This is on my list right now because I just listened to it with my family while we were traveling home from a road trip just yesterday. For one thing, everyone in our family 12 and older love Terry Pratchett's books. His satire and sarcasm through the use of earthy fantasy is entertaining. He manages to deliver witty and philosophical commentary on our society through the smoke-screen of a fictional world. Moving Pictures, like many of his books, turns things over and examines them from a reverse perspective. This time, he takes on the motion picture industry and our reaction to it. It is all the more enjoyable if you are able to make the connections between his parodies and the real-earth equivalent, such as Blown Away parodying Gone With the Wind. This book is loaded with them: studios, actors, movies, characters, places. He does veiled bawdy well, as well. Rare is the library without at least one Terry Pratchett title. I heard his books are known to be the most popular in England because they are the most shoplifted!

The Sheep and the Goat

Image of book cover for The Sheep and the Goat

This title is going to take a bit of explanation. In a parallel universe, I am a children's librarian. In yet another parallel universe, I am a full-time, well-known picture book author and artist. As for the children's librarian, I actually did that for a while several years ago at an elementary school. The Sheep and the Goat is my first stab at the author/artist reality. It is on this list because I so thoroughly enjoyed the process of interviewing a friend from Ghana about folktales from his childhood, transcribing his Twilish into English, learning how to illustrate on Adobe Illustrator and do layout on Adobe InDesign. The Sheep and the Goat was actually born of my undergrad attempt to combine final projects: the illustration and layout for a Journalism desktop publishing class, and the translation and retelling for my English Children's literature class. It was so stressful to learn the art and layout in one quarter that I once left class so that I would neither burst into tears nor throw up from stress! But I worked hard and ended up with an A in each class. I took a class last spring on e-book publishing, and hope to get time to put this one out there. I have a second book in the same series started, titled ChickenScratch. These are porquoi tales, which means that they are attempts to explain behavior—in this case fanciful tales of why the animals behave the way they do.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

I saved the best for last. This book has been my hands-down favorite for around 36 years. It is the reason members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are nicknamed "Mormons." (Of course, just as other churches have splinter groups, there are groups not associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who also refer to themselves as Mormons, muddling things beautifully!) Since most everyone loves to nickname rather than use a title that long, it is more correct to refer to members as LDS than Mormon, since it won't confuse us with others.

The Book of Mormon has changed my life—for the better. It clarifies and stands as a second witness of the Bible, but does not replace the Bible.

So much attention has been given to Mormons and The Book of Mormon since the confluence of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign with the smash-hit Broadway musical named for the book, that anyone who cares whether their own opinion is an informed opinion or socially-accepted knee-jerk reaction should definitely read the book. You can read it free in your choice of format through Project Guttenberg.

For background on the book and those who consider it scripture, try checking out this website.

If you slept through the presidential election (either literally or mentally), click here to find out: who the heck is Mitt Romney? It's also a good idea to not assume that all Mormons voted for Mitt. I found it rather surreal to be experiencing the public reaction to a "Mormon" presidential candidate from my perspective as a convert, since I had experienced the public reaction to a Catholic running for president—and winning—as a Catholic child in the 60s.

The irreverent "smash-hit" musical of the same name has undoubtedly made the rich and famous creators ever more rich and famous. You could easily spend hours, if not days, reading about the controversy. In a nutshell, the creators of South Park decided to fulfill their lifelong dreams of making a real, old-style musical by satirizing a religion in a way that would have resulted in picketing and death-threats from a few other religions. Jon Stewart alludes to such reactions in his interview with the inventors.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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Below is one example of why Mormons react differently. We know that good and evil co-exist in this world, and how we should live. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26)

Brandon Flowers, frontman for The Killers


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