So I spent part of January in Utah on a book tour. A few times I mentioned there was a book coming out, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it- but it turns out it’s something I’m actually really proud to have been a part of. The finished book is a lovely compilation of essays compiled and edited by myself and Emily Jensen, and is the culmination of more than a year of work.
Emily and I spent the better part of a week visiting bookstores along the Wasatch Front, visiting with our local contributing writers, and sharing the stage with interesting and compelling people. It was exhilarating and exciting and so much fun- and I learned a lot.
This is the seventh book in the “I Speak for Myself” series, focusing on delivering narrative collections of inspiring, thoughtful essays with focus and rich diversity. Emily and I are so proud to have been asked to edit the volume on Mormons.
The book is A Book of Mormons: Latter-day Saints on a Modern Day Zion. Janan Graham-Russell wrote a beautiful forward for us, and among the many contributors are Neylan McBaine, Courtney Kendrick, Patrick Mason, Kailani Tonga, Josh Weed, Kate Kelly, Michael Austin, Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye, Adam Miller, Julie Smith… It was truly an honor to work with so many amazing writers.
We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who came out to see us, to talk with us, to join us in the conversations about the books, and about the changing landscape of Zion and what it means to each of us. Special thanks are due to The King’s English Book Shop, Writ & Vision Rare Books & Fine Art, and Benchmark Books, for holding such lovely events and welcoming us so warmly.
This picture makes me ridiculously happy- This was taken at Writ & Vision, after a packed house came to hear us speak with Patrick Mason, about his stellar new book, Planted, and every one of these beautiful faces is like family to me.
Jana Reiss interviewed Emily and I one afternoon at the delicious cafe Gourmandise in Salt Lake City, and was beautifully generous in her write up:
These essays were like a balm to my soul, in which some of our religion’s best thinkers muse on the capacious notion of “Zion” and decide that it’s bigger than we give it credit for when we are so quickly judging one another.
This book is like the most thoughtful testimony meeting you’ve ever attended. Essays by Adam Miller, Kathyn Lynard, Patrick Mason, Joanna Brooks, Melissa Inouye . . . a fantastic cartoon from Scott Hales . . . There are feminists of several different stripes (including moderate Neylan McBaine and radical Kate Kelly, and an interesting piece from biblical scholar Julie Smith who uses three archetypes from the Book of Mormon to describe the tensions among different kinds of LDS women today) . . . There are BYU professors like Camille Fronk Olson, Ignacio Garcia, and George Handley. (See the book’s website for a complete list of contributors.)
In short, it’s a feast of Mormon testimonies from very different people who have one thing in common: a commitment to Zion.
You can read the entire review here.
I wrapped up the week by slipping on some ice and tearing a tendon in my knee, which I absolutely do not recommend.
I think next time I’m involved in either editing or writing another book, I will be a little less shameless about promoting. It sure was a lot of fun, and the end of a long road and a lot of hard work. Once again, I am so pleased to have been a part of it!