Spencer W. Kimball by Edward L. and Andrew Kimball

I was four years old when he passed away, but Spencer W. Kimball’s role as prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) has always been the predominant role of his life in my mind. President Kimball’s biography, which was written by two of his sons, Edward and Andrew Kimball, opened my eyes to the sincere, gentle, and kind man he strived to be.

Because his biography was written by his two sons, they provided a personal view of the man who was to be called as prophet. They had access to his many decades of journals, but they also provided insights in the man they grew up with. Obviously, they wrote with love but they wrote with themselves at a distance: I never felt the book was overly sentimental in terms of the authors’ narration. Rather, I think they provided interesting insights from their memory that gave the book depth and interest. Further, they addressed Spencer Kimball’s failings and problems throughout the book: it was not a perfect rosy picture of a perfect man. Instead, as I read, I came to know much better a human who happened to be called to serve his God and who I revere as a prophet in this latter-day age of the world.Continue Reading

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Maggie Tulliver is a quick-witted child, one with appalling manners for her strict Victorian house and community. She cannot seem to be a proper young lady. When the novel opens, she is about nine years old, and I couldn’t help adoring her childish antics, especially as she regularly brought disappointment to her mother and aunts with her lack of girlish charm. From my perspective, who wouldn’t love a girl who is so determined to read, to learn, and to be all the imaginative things she desires?

Unfortunately for Maggie, her life in small-town Victorian village does not allow for women that are different from the norm. Her story, as told in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860), was both frustrating and emotional for me to read, because as Maggie herself desired, I wanted so much more for her.Continue Reading

(Kids Corner) Some Cybils 2011 Books about … Animals

Animals, whether they are talking animals or pets, are a popular subject in picture books. Below, I mention a few of the many Cybils Fiction Picture Book Nominees on the subject, from zoo animals and farm animals to wild animals, including some animals who don’t quite behave like animals “normally” do. Most animals in picture books talk or otherwise have some marvelous talent and personality. No wonder kids all want a pet! Animals are so exciting in picture books. (I may have to revisit the animals theme for Cybils this year: there are plenty omitted from this list.)

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RIP Short Story Monday: Four Last Stories

Although the RIP challenge technically ended last week with Halloween, I had one more week of ghostly short stories to enjoy. As with past weeks, I enjoyed how each of the stories I read had a different feel. Walter de La Mare’s story was probably my least favorite of the week, but I enjoyed each story (also including stories by Penelope Lively, Alison Lurie, and Ray Bradbury) to some degree. (None of these stories are in the public domain, so I cannot link to them for you.)Continue Reading