From biographies to fiction to self help to children’s books, LDS authors have flooded the market with reflections of their faith. With hundreds of titles published each year, it’s no easy feat to keep up with the best in LDS literature. Here are 12 favorites from the last year to put on your to-read list.
1. “The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections On the Quest for Faith”
By Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens (published by Deseret Book)
Can faith and doubt co-exist in religious life? The Givens offer a smart and sincere discussion on asking questions, exploring doubts and understanding the challenges and opportunities that can arise during a person’s quest for faith.
2. “Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons”
By Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes (published by Deseret Book)
From blog to radio show to full-fledged book, the “Sistas in Zion” use their humorous and unique perspective to spread gospel truths. Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes share their personal experiences and lessons to send the message that joy can be found in living a Christ-centered life.
3. “On Loss and Living Onward: Collected Voices for the Grieving and Those Who Would Mourn with Them”
By Melissa Dalton-Bradford (published by Familius)
When Melissa Dalton-Bradford tragically lost her first-born son, a bright and big-hearted 18-year-old, she needed to know there were others who had felt her devastating grief — and survived it. In searching out literature on loss, she found a community of co-mourners. “On Loss and Living Onward” is her compilation of the best resources to guide the living through the process of grieving.
4. “To My Friends”
By Jeffrey R. Holland (published by Deseret Book)
Elder Holland is known for offering burden-lifting talks and speeches in a style that communicates pure love. “To My Friends” collects more than 20 of those talks for Holland’s “friends” — people who love the Lord, people who want to change, and people who face opposition.
5. “Women at Church”
By Neylan McBaine (published by Greg Kofford Books)
Neylan McBaine begins her book by stating a difficult-to-dispute belief: “There is much more we can do to see, hear, and include women at church.” With that as the goal, the book explains the pain many women (and men) feel at church, then offers practical suggestions for improving the way we all work together in our worship.
6. “Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled But Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary”
By Craig Harline (published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
If you’re LDS, you’ve heard your fair share of mission stories (you’ve probably told a few yourself!). But you’ve never read a more poignant and witty missionary memoir than “Way Below the Angels.” Greg Harline’s authenticity is both immensely touching and laugh-out-loud delightful, all while telling a tale of how religion can affect a life and a culture.
7. “The Bishop’s Wife”
By Mette Ivie Harrison (published by Soho Press)
Inspired by the Susan Powell murder case, “The Bishop’s Wife” tells the story of the fictional Linda Wallheim, a Draper mother of five who finds herself in the thick of a disturbing situation in her LDS ward. In this mystery novel, Wallheim battles internal questions about the church’s structure and secrecy while following her inner convictions to probe into the lives of neighborhood families that may be harboring dangerous secrets.
8. “Girls Who Choose God”
By McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding, illustrated by Kathleen Peterson (published by Deseret Book)
While reading a cartoon scripture book of prophets, warriors and heroes, Bethany Brady Spalding’s 3 year old asked, “Mom, where are the girls?” Unable to find a suitable children’s book focused on women in the scriptures, Spalding got to work. With carefully selected characters and charming illustrations, “Girls Who Choose God” features the many noteable women in the Bible who have made courageous choices. Geared to young readers, the book inspires all to solve problems, stand up for others, strengthen families, and to follow God no matter what.
9. “Letters to a Young Mormon”
By Adam S. Miller (published by the Maxwell Institute)
Written as a series of letters, Adam Miller’s latest book is targeted at “a young Mormon who is familiar with Mormon life but green in their faith.” The book explores a variety of topics — faith, history, sin, temples, agency, work — and thoughtfully inspires its readers to find the answers they’ve been seeking.
10. “Candy Canes & Christmastime: Enhancing the Holidays in the Real World”
By Linda Hoffman Kimball (published by Cedar Fort)
Was your holiday season lacking the “comfort and joy” you hoped to experience? “Candy Canes & Christmastime” offers the perfect antidote to the chaos that often besets us each December. In one of her classic compilations, Linda Hoffman Kimball presents essays, stories, and recipes that are full of inspiration, humor and heart.
11. “Women of the New Testament”
By Camille Fronk Olson, illustrations by Al Young Studios (published by Deseret Book)
We know of women in the Bible, but we don’t often study their stories. In “Women of the New Testament,” Camille Olson provides detailed accounts, accompanied by stunning illustrations, of the many women Jesus Christ loved, taught, healed, and interacted with during his mortal ministry.
12. “City Of Brick And Shadow”
By Tim Wirkus (published by Tyrus Books)
Tim Wirkus’ debut novel tells the story of two Mormon missionaries in the dangerous Vila Barbosa neighborhood who find themselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of their latest convert. The captivating tale is wonderfully written, with plenty of familiar missionary banter mingled with the young men’s relentless and at times dangerous quest for answers.