"To me, that's what the gospel is about: helping everyone come unto Christ, from the Simpsons fan to the stay-at-home-mom to the homosexual." - Portia
Question #91056 posted on 03/27/2018 5:06 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board Writers,

What is the last book you read? What is the next book you want to read?

Also, can you recommend a book you think I should read? I like just about everything, so feel free to recommend anything. What is so good about that book? What makes you recommend it to me?

You all seem like a well-read bunch, and I like hearing your opinions about things, so I look forward to seeing your answers! (I would like to hear from as many writers as possible, so no worries about holding this answer over.)

-Susan Sto Helit


Dear Mort's Daughter,

Well, 350 hours ago when this question first entered the inbox, I was in the middle of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Now I have roughly 50 pages (out of like, 1300) left of Words of Radiance, the next book in that same series. Rather predictably, the next book I plan on devouring is Oathbringer (which follows Words of Radiance). 

Normally, I'd take this chance to recommend Terry Pratchett, but clearly you're already familiar ;). So, instead I shall suggest reading The Count of Monte Cristo. The writing is beautiful, the story-line fascinating and gripping. 



Dear Susan,

When I started this answer, the last book I'd read was Summerlost by Ally Condie, which was great; I've never read a book that feels more like home to me.

However, in between now and then, I finished The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman, which was also great.

And, since I just read La Belle Sauvage, I'm going to recommend His Dark Materials (a series consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), also by Phillip Pullman. These are well-crafted, imaginative, interesting fantasy books. The characters are richly drawn, the world is fully-realized and endlessly interesting, and the story is thought-provoking and engaging. I think you'll find a lot to like, and if you finish those, La Belle Sauvage will be ready and waiting for you.

-Frère Rubik

P.S. Here is where I should bring up the potential elephant in the room and disclose that, most of the time when I bring up The Golden Compass around fellow members of the Church, their response is usually something along the lines of "Oh I've never read them; my Mom/Sunday School Teacher/Whoever told me that they were evil."

Reader, with all the little emphasis I can muster through this means of communication, I must insist: THEY ARE NOT EVIL. They are no more "evil" than the Harry Potter series is, and if you're dealing with someone who thinks that both The Golden Compass and Harry Potter are evil and should be banned, I honestly don't know what to tell you.

I have more thoughts on this, but when I've tried to include them here they've crowded each other and jostled for dominance and resulted in something messy and not very coherent. If you want to talk to me about the themes in His Dark Materials and why they're not evil, I would love nothing better than to discuss it over email at frere.rubik@theboard.byu.edu


Dear Susan,

Oh goodness, I don't know the last book I read. The books I'm currently working on are Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner, and In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton. If it's not obvious, I've been researching into LDS history, and it's been fascinating! Granted, that means I have a lot of books that I don't finish, and due to classes I'm not able to read nearly as much as I'd like, but I've been learning a lot from the little time I do get to read.

Normally I love reading fun, lighthearted books that have a touch of romance. I absolutely love Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson. It's cute, imaginative, clean (I love a good, clean romance), and so easy to read. Other books that are somewhat similar are Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede, and The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. 

If you haven't read Brandon Sanderson, I highly suggest his books. I introduced minnow to them a few months ago and he's already read seven of them. They're just amazing. And to the readers out there who have read most of Sanderson's books but not his YA books (because I've met a few people like that)—read The Rithmatist. It is soooo good. 

-guppy of doom


Dear Susan,

I most recently finished rereading Jane Eyre, and now I'm reading a Tom Clancy book entitled Clear and Present Danger.

Those books are definitely worth reading, but the book I've been most intrigued by in the last year was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. She has a very interesting perspective on the world, and her philosophy, while heavy-handed, forced me to do a lot of thinking about my life and my choices. I highly recommend it.

Because of that, the next book on my list of classics to undertake is Atlas Shrugged, to see if it has the same captivating factor as The Fountainhead.

Also, if you haven't read A Thousand Splendid Suns, I can't recommend it highly enough, especially considering the social and political climate surrounding women nowadays. It's an incredibly moving story, and it's one of the few books that makes me weep every time I read it.




Dear Person,

The last book that I read was Thing Explainer by XKCD creator Randal Munroe. The book explains really complicated objects using only cartoons and the 1000 most common words in the English language. It's a funny book, but it also does a great job at explain some really cool technical concepts. Some of my personal favorites are the diagrams for heavy metal power plants, sky boats with turning wings, and the pieces everything is made of. (Nuclear power plants, helicopters, and the periodic table respectively.)

I'm reading a book right now called The Gospel At 30,000 Feet by Elder Uchtdorf. It's a short little book filled with airplane stories and gospel analogies. I would definitely recommend this book. The stories are short, wonderful, and inspiring. Reading this book has been a very uplifting experience for me (pardon the flight pun). Hope you find some books that you enjoy!




Dear you,

I just finished The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. Great book if you're into the outdoors, research, psychology etc. It's about the effect that time in nature has on the brain. It really taught me to appreciate what was happening to my brain, body, and soul when I get outside. After reading this book I found myself connecting to nature more quickly and being able to articulate that connection more fully. If you're not into that stuff though I promise you it will be boring. 

I'd like to finish The Two Towers (Tolkien) sometime soon. Also a friend recommended On Zion's Mount by Jared Farmer. That one's abount Mormon settlers in Utah and their relations with Native American populations. I'm told it's very objective and I'm looking forward to it. I'm also super interested in Symphony for the City of the Dead: Shostakovich and the siege of Leningrad by M.T Anderson. Could turn out to be a snooze fest but the idea of learning history through the music it inspires is fascinating to me. 

I would really recommend Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury if you haven't already read it. It's short and captivating and just the right amount of confusing. Totally worth the time. If you like fantasy, I love Dianna Wynne Jones and she is sorely underappreciated. Howl's Moving Castle is excellent, as is House of Many Ways and Archer's Goon. 



Dear Susan,

The last book I read was Mother's Milk by Rachel Hunt Steenblik. It's a fantastic book of poetry about Heavenly Mother and I'd recommend it everyone. I thought it was incredibly beautiful and thoughtful while not being presumptuous or speculative. 

I'm planning on reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown next. She's a fantastic author and researcher and I'm excited to read another one of her books.

If I could recommend some books, a couple of my favorites are As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, and Bonds That Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner. Those are two completely different books but they're both fantastic.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave