Reading Lately

I have read quite a few books lately, but I haven’t posted about them in detail. There’s literally no time, given the work I’m doing on my dissertation, the academic jobs I’ve been applying for, the classes I’ve been teaching, and the mothering I do. My blog has slowed down, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, but I’m still a reader and I still want to share the books I’ve read with you.

Here is the latest pile of those I have finished.



I finished Ken Follett’s Night Over Water (1991) a few weeks ago. It is my dad’s copy, and he let me borrow it after we visited for my grandma’s funeral. It is an interesting character-driven narrative about a transatlantic flight during the beginning of World War II. It has a little too much explicit sex for my taste, but overall it was a fun read.

I read Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement (2014) by Julie Debra Neuffer after presenting at and attending the Mormon History Association’s (MHA) 2015 conference. This book won best biography of the year from the MHA. The fascinating womanhood movement was a subject I knew little about, save a few entertaining scenes from the film Fried Green Tomatoes, so learning more about the motivation behind itΒ was interesting and thought-provoking. However, I’m glad it isn’t a philosophy we all cling to these days. I would rather not wrap myself in cellophane on a regular basis.

Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist (2014) is a collection of Gay’s essays on popular culture, race, feminism, class, and other current events. She is an astute observer and critic of the media, and I appreciated her insight on many topics. The essays were entertaining and informative. I used several of them to teach a Feminist Theories course this semester. I especially enjoyed her essays about playing Scrabble!

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Nineteenth Century (2011) by Miriam Forman-Brunell and Leslie Paris is a book I discovered when I ordered books for the Girls’ Studies course I took a few years ago. We focused on the twentieth century reader for that class, but I wanted to become acquainted with what scholars had researched in the nineteenth century. So I read this one for fun. Yes, I’m a nerd.

I also picked up Juanita Brooks: The Life Story of a Courageous Historian of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (1988) by Levi S. Peterson at the MHA conference. I knew that Brooks was an important figure in my religious culture’s history, and as I had been doing an internship on Mormon women’s history at some local archives, I wanted to know more. After reading about Brooks, I have the utmost respect for her, as a small-town Utah woman who made research and truth her life and who did so on her own dime, with her own ambition, and without formal training as a researcher. She would ride the night bus north and west to larger cities to conduct research, and then ride home again to be with her children, to teach English classes, and to serve her community.

What books have you read lately? Is anybody else out there in a blogging rut?