Book review: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

Stormlight Archives has spoiled my taste in fiction in that I now expect a profound engagement of philosophical or moral issues. The Cruel Prince didn't engage the reader at quite that level, and I found the protagonist distasteful as she freely uses others as a means to an end.

Book review: “Truman G. Madsen’s “Joseph Smith the Prophet”

I needed some comfort food this week, so I read Truman G. Madsen's "The Prophet Joseph Smith." Growing up, my dad could quote these lectures like scripture. I think this book perhaps most closely captures why the saints loved him so much. But the saying is definitely true: "Catholics say the pope is infallible, but don't really believe it; Mormons say the prophet is fallible, but don't really believe it."

Book review: “10 Books Every Conservative Must Read” by Benjamin Wiker

Wiker's book claims a lot of ground for the conservative tradition-- he calls on both Chesterton and Lewis, and both Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments, and even Lord of the Rings. But Wiker's vision of conservatism seems very different from the current embodiment of the Republican party. His discussions surrounding self-government, a distributed economy, and cultivation of virtue seem like a call to return to our roots. It is a refreshing reminder that politics shouldn't be entirely defined by what we're against.

Book review: “Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me”

What can I possibly have in common with perpetrators of murder and torture? Tavris and Aronson argue, quite a lot. The same patterns you use to justify you yelling at your child or spouse or cheating on a test have been used by governments to justify much worse things-- and still be able to feel like a basically good person. Tavris and Aronson's book really hits hard-- but it's not just a self-help book to become a better person. Self-justification quickly becomes political.

Book review: Saints Vol. II

The Church history department didn't disappoint with Saints Vol II. I will say, this one will be harder to talk about around the dinner table (I already sparked one family fight) A gripping tale with complex characters, moral ambiguity, and great pacing.

Book review: “The Unknown Testament” by Lowell Bennion

What I would give to have a Sunday School lesson taught by Lowell Bennion. Bennion refers to the OT as "the least known and least understood of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", and this is his attempt to help address that. My favorite part: the prophets' insistence on justice for the marginalized: "relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."

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