2022 Christmas Gift Book Guide – By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog
Happy New Year 2022, friends! We have another year of Christmas book lists, and I hope we all find some measure of peace, hope, and joy. Note that Benchmark offers 20% off new books and ships widely.
original grace (MI, 2022), $19
Against the Winds: Why Belief Has Always Been Hard and Still is (Eerdmans, 2022), $20
Devotion is a regular feature, and Adam Miller and Terryl Givens are perennial favorites. Miller’s meditations on grace are very important, however. Don’t ignore it.
Mormon Women at a Crossroads (UI Press, 2022), $28
In my opinion, Caroline Kline’s volume is one of the most significant scholarly works for the future of the Church in a long time. She uses years of interviews with women around the world to highlight the power of connectedness as an analytical and religious framework.
The Burning Book: A Judeo-Mormon Memoir (BCC, 2022), $12
My Lord, he calls me (Deseret, 2022), $23
These two books are different although both deal with memoirs. In The Burning Book we have the lived experience of a Jewish person finding a home in Mormonism while maintaining a connection to its heritage. My Lord, he calls me is a series of essays of Black Saints who all had slave ancestry. Although the essays were written by and for black members, we all need to listen to these experiences and testimonies.
Heike’s Void (BCC, 2022), $13
The Darkest Abyss: Strange Mormon Stories (BCC, 2022) $13
The Lectionary of the Brain: Psalms and Observations (BCC Press, 2022), $12
See. Steve Peck is unmissable. If you haven’t read anything from him before, read A short stay in hell immediately. Then catch up and include his last one in the queue. I would like Costco to sell a box. If short stories are more your thing, then the various pieces of Abyss ranging from alternate history and science fiction to Mormon folk realism and experimental literary forms, I’m your jam. Finally, the work of poetry and art by Elizabeth Pinborough, whom Steve Peck describes as blending “science, art and religious thought with breathtaking ease”. Check it out.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (Oxford, 2018), $35
The New Testament: A Translation (Yale, 2017), $32
The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints Rev Ed (Kofford, 2022), $30
2023 is the New Testament in Sunday School and Seminary (for most of the world) and we always recommend a good study Bible if you’ve never used one before. The NSRV is a fantastic consensus translation and the Oxford edition is the most recent. The Harper Collins edition is also excellent, although a bit older. I read Hart’s translation last time and was blown away. I liked it. He does it with an Orthodox impulse and a devastating spirit that Latter-day Saints will find resonant. Wayment’s translation, which was originally published by Deseret but is now with Kofford, can be a good place to start if you’re nervous about straying from the Church’s KJV.
An introduction to the New Testament (Yale, 1997), $42
New Testament history, culture and society (BYU/Deseret, 2019), $40
Ancient Christians: An Introduction for Latter-day Saints (MI, 2022), $50
If you want resources beyond a Bible study, there is no shortage. I’m a big fan of Brown’s masterful Introduction. It’s extraordinary. If you want something that appeals to a Latter-day Saint audience, then Blumell’s volume may be the way to go. And finally, if you want to spice things up, the folks at the Maxwell Institute have released a new volume on the ancient Church, which is sure to 1) educate and 2) complicate easy notions of apostasy.
Slavery in Zion (UU Press, 2022), $40
Imperial Zions: Religion, Race, and Family in the American West and the Pacific (UN Press, 2022), $30
Dr Martha Hughes Cannon: suffragist, senator, plural wife (Signature, 2022), $10
Let us now turn to the scientific history. Thiriot tracked down every possible fragment of history about enslaved black people in Utah. In doing so, she powerfully illuminates the lives of these people while helping to break down the fabrications of time, both those that soften the sickening reality of slavery and those used to bludgeon the Saints. Note that the shipping date may be closer to Christmas. Hendrix-Komoto’s volume is a sophisticated approach to family history in both Intermountain West and the Pacific. The last is a short biography of Mattie Cannon, who was the nation’s first female state legislator. She beat her husband in the elections. So cool.
Open Canon: Diaspora Latter-day Saint Scriptures (UU Press, 2022), $40
Considering the Scriptures: The Revelations of Joseph Smith in Their Early American Contexts (Signature, 2022), $19
For those interested in latter-day scripture studies, we have two edited collections. One looks at the open canon and represents largely new content. The other reprints articles on JS background that are hard to access for non-academics, and is a solid summary of recent scholarship. Looking forward, The Bible and Latter-day Saint Tradition is due out in January and seems like a really, really great contribution.
Documents from the Joseph Smith Papers, Volume 13 (CHP, 2022), $55
From Liverpool to the Great Salt Lake: The 1851 Diary of Missionary George (UN Press, 2022), $20
In Sacred Solitude: The Documents (Signature, 2022), $40
For the extra nerd: the regular document volumes. Printing of the JSPP is nearly complete, so get the latest volumes while you can. Watt’s journals, which were originally kept in shorthand, are on sale. And Compton has given a companion document to his breakthrough group biography of JS wives.