Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1962, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (originally published 1961) is an amazing story about a boy in Galilee during the time of Jesus. Daniel bar Jamin is an angry teenager, looking for revenge on the Roman soldiers who occupy his land. As a politically charged novel, then, The Bronze Bow amazingly captures the difficulties that Jews in Galilee may have faced in the meridian of time. The book is also a Christian one, as Daniel learns from the mysterious Rabbi, Jesus, who preaches love, turning the other cheek, and forgiveness for all.Continue Reading
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Michael Hicks (University of Illinois Press, March 2015) is a biography of the choir itself. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve grown up with the choir: songs during the biannual general conferences, recordings in my home. Because of my background, I was interested in learning more about the history of the choir.
I found the book to be an interesting read, although I felt a bit overwhelmed and lost at times. I don’t know why. The book clearly followed the choir chronologically from its founding to its current status. Maybe it was a lack of personality in the narrative as it covered the historical events and changing patterns of the choir. Maybe it was simply my frame of mind as I read it. I cannot say that this book was a favorite, but I feel I have a little bit better understanding of the role and significance of the choir to the Church. I am glad that I read the book.
Note: I received a digital copy of the book for review consideration.
I know not all the readers of my blog care about all the subjects that interest me, but as I continue to write about my reading, I love the ability to reflect back on what I’ve read in the past in the context of when I read it. This review is of a book that probably most readers are not interested in. I read it as I took a much needed break from the demanding duties of motherhood for a days. It was a time of much reflection for me as I realized how much I miss being home with my little ones: but it was also wonderful to be able to sit and read a book without much distraction in the course of a few days!
Women and the Priesthood by Sheri Dew (Deseret Book, 2013) is a simple book containing one woman’s testimony of what the priesthood means in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the title seems all encompassing, it is a deeply personal book.
Sister Dew shares her testimony, including words from prophets and apostles and scriptures to share what she believes. I have always enjoyed Sheri Dew’s frank way of putting things, and I think she has a unique perspective to add, given that she is a single middle-aged woman who has served closely with many of the general authorities. How, then does this powerful woman truly feel about the priesthood in her life?
The stories of Elizabeth Smart and Stephanie Nielson are not that similar. Yes, both had a hard year that they wrote about in a memoir, and both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). But there the similarities end.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bed at knife point as a 14 year old and raped repeatedly before being reunited with her family 9 months later; Stephanie Nielson is a mother who was burned on over 80% of her body, and yet lived to experience the pain and joy of rejoining the world afterwards.
But despite the differences in their stories, both memoirs celebrate the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Reading the two books at this time of year seems just right. It’s helped me appreciate the blessings I do have and to prepare myself to enjoy this next year of my life as well as I can. The human spirit is strong in the face of adversity.
After all, a lot can happen in one year.Continue Reading