Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Have you given LDS fiction a fair shake?

Last time I posted a list of 100 best-selling books. This time I'm posting a list of more than 100 LDS fiction books. This list was compiled by popular LDS author Josi Kilpack (notice link to her blog), using several author friends favorite books, contributors at the bottom. I've also added a sub-list of my own favorites. I was also excited to see one of my own books made the favorites list, and I didn't even have to pay anyone--how great is that? Now I admit before I became an LDS fiction writer I hadn't read much LDS fiction. In fact, I'd read maybe five books. I was under the mistaken impression that LDS fiction was too sappy, too preachy, too lame. I was also convinced that it would be easy to write a best-seller in the market. After all people would read mine and know it was the best thing out there. They would tell all their friends and say--thank goodness we finally have something good to read. Well, because I have a bunch of LDS writer friends now, I've started reading some of their stuff and I have to say, the competition is stiff. There are oodles of excellent books out there. You'll notice as you go through the list that I have a long ways to go to be well-read in the market, but I've read some. I'm currently reading a great suspense by Jeff Savage, "House of Secrets" and "Chickens in the Headlights," by Matthew Buckley, very reminiscent of a favorite series of mine growing up, "The Great Brain." Either of these books while considered LDS would appeal to a larger audience, hardly a mention of anything churchy. The truth is you can find just about anything you want in the LDS market. If you are trying to break into the market, studying what's being published and read is the best way. There is also an LDS Writer's Conference taking place March 23 and 24th in the Provo Library. Many great LDS writer's will be there to teach. Believe me, this is one of the best conferences I've ever attended, and I've been to more than a few. For more information, go to I hope I got that right. If not do a search, you'll find it.

However as great as the choices in LDS fiction are these days, I would never limit my reading to the LDS market. That would be like limiting your diet to only one of the groups on the food pyramid. While you may love fruit, you need a bit more for a well-rounded diet. Many people tell me they don't trust national books. While it's true there can by some pretty racy stuff, it's also true that there's plenty to choose from that isn't. Here's some pretty safe bets. I handed out a list of "clean national authors" to an LDS book club I spoke to and one of the women (the bishop's wife actually) told me she wanted the list for "good dirty books." I told her she'd have to call me. Anyway here's a few of my favorites, and don't call me if you find a few swear words in their books. Tony Hillerman, Anne Tyler, Alexander McCall Smith, Most of Barbara Kingsolver, (spare the kitty litter story here--and if you don't know the kitty litter story than ask an LDS youth who's been to a fireside on R rated movies. Okay back to the list, Phillip Gulley, John Grisham, Jan Karon, The Mitford Series. Well there's a whole bunch more. These are just some. I'll also include the last book we read in our Pardise book club, it was Mildred Walker's Winter Wheat--beautiful imagery and story that takes place in Montana during WW2.

So here's the list and I'm going to include some of my favorites at the end, so be sure to scroll down.
Bold=I read it
Highlighted=I’ve never heard of it (I didn't know how to highlight so I didn't)
Italics= A favorite that stayed with me a long time
(I chose to only bold the ones I’ve read and highlight the ones I hadn’t heard of because so many of my friends are on this list and I can’t choose favorites--but some of you might be braver than me)

1) A Heartbeat Away—Rachel Ann Nunes
2) Almost Sisters—Nancy Anderson, Lael J. Littke
and Carroll H. Morris
3) Angels Don't Knock—Dan Yates
4) An Old Fashioned Romance—Marcia Lynn McClure
5) A Question of consequence—Gordon Ryan
6) Ariana: The Making of a Queen—Rachel Ann Nunes
7) As the Ward Turns—Joni Hilton
8) At the Journey’s End—Annette Lyon
9) Baptists at Our Barbecue—Robert Farrell Smith (I love everything this guy writes. Very funny.
10) Charlie—Jack Weyland
11) Charley’s Monument—Blaine M. Yorgason)
12) Chickens in the Headlights—Matthew Buckley
13) Children of the Promise, Vol 1: Rumors of War—
Dean Hughes
14) Children of the Promise, Vol 2: Since You Were Gone—
Dean Hughes
15) Come Armageddon—Anne Perry
16) Daughter of a King—Rachel Ann Nunes (picture book)
17) Dead on Arrival--Jeffrey Savage
18) Double Cross--Betsy Brannon Green
19) Dusty Britches—Marcia Lynn McClure
20) Emeralds and Espionage—Lynn Gardner
21) Escaping the Shadows—Lisa J. Peck
22) Fablehaven—Brandon Mull (My daughter raved)
23) False Pretenses—Carole Thayne Of course this is mine and I read it umpteen times while editing.
24) Faraway Child—Amy Maida Wadsworth
25) Fire of the Covenant—Gerald Lund
26) First Love and Forever—Anita Stansfield
27) Flowers of the Winds--Dorothy Keddington
28) Ghost of a Chance—Kerry Blair
29) Gustavia Browne—Alene Roberts
30) Jimmy Fincher Saga Vol. 4: War of the Black Curtain—
James Dashner (My daughter LOVED it)
31) House on the Hill—Annette Lyon
32) House of Secrets—Jeff Savage
33) House on the Sound—Marilyn Brown
34) In a Dry Land—Elizabeth Petty Bentley
35) Lifted Up—Guy Morgan Galli
36) Love Beyond Time—Nancy Campbell Allen
37) Mary & Elisabeth—S. Kent Brown (Non-fiction)
38) MaCady—Jennie Hansen
39) Molly Mormon—Tamara Norton
40) Mummy's the Word—Kerry Blair
41) My Body Fell Off—BJ Rowley
42) My Not So Fairy Tale Life—Julie Wright (On my to do list)
43) No Longer Strangers—Rachel Nunes
44) Nothing to Regret—Tristi Pinkston
45) On a Whim—Lisa McKendrick
46) On Second Thought—Robison Wells
47) On the Edge--Julie Coulter Bellon
48) One in Thine Hand—Gerald Lund
49) One Tattered Angel—Blaine M. Yorgason
50) Out of Jerusalem 1 (Of Goodly Parents)—H.B. Moore (talented writer--on my list)
51) Out of Jerusalem 2 (A Light in the Wilderness) —H. B. Moore
52) Out of Jerusalem 3 (Towards the Promised Land)—
H. B. Moore
53) The Peacegiver—James L. Ferrell
54) Pillar of Fire—David Woolley
55) Poison—Betsy Brannon Green
56) Prodigal Journey—Linda Paulson Adams
57) Pursuit of Justice—Willard Boyd Gardner
58) Return to Red Castle—Dorothy Keddington
59) Race Against Time—Willard Boyd Gardner
60) Sarah—Orson Scott Card
61) Saints—Orson Scott Card
62) Sixteen in no time—BJ Rowley
63) Spies, Lies and a Pair of Ties—Sheralyn Pratt (I like the title--so I'll read it_
64) Standing on the Promises Vol 1: One More River to Cross
--Margaret Young and Darius Gray
65) Strength to Endure—Tristi Pinkston (Excellent read)
66) Surprising Marcus—Donald S. Smurthwaite
67) Tathea—Anne Perry
68) Tempest Tossed—Josi S. Kilpack
69) Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites—Chris Heimerdinger
70) The Alliance—Gerald Lund
71) The Book of Mormon—Nephi thru Moroni (non-fiction)
72) The Believer—Stephanie Black
73) The Coming of Elijiah—Arianne Cope (This is an excellent book by a young and promising author--It won the Marilyn Brown award))
74) The Counterfiet—Robison Wells (Rob is great at suspense and humor)
75) The Emerald--Jennie Hansen
76) The First year—Crystal Liechty (Want to read)
77) The Fragrance of Her Name—Marcia Lynn McClure
78) The Killing of Greybird—Eric Swedin (I bet this is good)
79) The Last Days, Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm—
Kenneth R. Tarr
80) The Last Promise—Richard Paul Evans
81) The Looking Glass—Richard Paul Evans
82) The Miracle of Miss Willie—Alma J. Yates
83) The single Heart—Melinda Jennings
84) The Visions of Ransom Lake—Marcia Lynn McClure
85) The Work and the Glory Vol 1—Gerald Lund
86) The Work and the Glory Vol 2—Gerald Lund
87) The Work and the Glory Vol 3—Gerald Lund
88) The Work and the Glory Vol 4—Gerald Lund
89) The Work and the Glory Vol 5—Gerald Lund
90) The Work and the Glory Vol 6—Gerald Lund
91) The Work and the Glory Vol 7—Gerald Lund
92) The Work and the Glory Vol 8—Gerald Lund
93) This Just In—Kerry Blair (on my to-read list)
94) Time Riders—Sierra St. James
95) Time Will Tell by Julie Coulter Bellon
96) To Echo the Past—Marcia Lynn McClure
97) To Have or To Hold—Josi S. Kilpack (One of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorites of hers)
98) Towers of Brierley, Anita Stansfield
99) Twelve Sisters—Leslie Hedley (Loved Loved this book)
100) Unsung Lullaby—Josi S. Kilpack
101) Wake Me When it’s over—Robison Wells
102) Winter Fire—Rachel Ann Nunes

Contributing authors: Tristi Pinkston, Julie Wright, Jeff Savage, Rachel Ann Nunes, Jewel Adams, Annette Lyon, Heather Moore, Stephanie Black,, Julie Bellon and Josi S. Kilpack

Okay here's a few of my own favorites that didn't make the above list. Some of my favorites were on the list as well:

1. The Bonsai Tree, by Carroll Hoffling Morris (A classic in Mormon literature)
2. Never Past the Gate, by Emma Lou Thayne
3. A Serpent in Pardise, by Marilyn Brown (WOW!)
4. Backslider by Levi Peterson (This book does have quite a bit of sex in it so be warned!
5. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall (even more graphic that #4, and awfully harsh, but man can Brady write.)This isn't technically an LDS book, but has LDS elements in it.
6. Surrounded by Strangers by Josi Kilpack
7. Aspen Maroony by Levi Peterson (sex again--Peterson admits he likes sex quite a bit and it shows up in his writing. He's a great modern writer. This isn't as good as Backslider though in my opinion, but is a bit easier.
8. Sideways to the Sun (I think that's right) by Linda Sillitoe
9. the rest of Robert Farrell Smith's--can't remember titles right now.
10. Shadow of Doubt by Amy Maida Wadsworth (this is the only book of hers I've read, but I think it was well-written, so I would definitely read her again)

If you'd like to play, copy this onto your blog or into the comment section of this post. Be sure to tell me where you blog it so I can take a peek.

Posted by Josi at 3:41 PM 0 comments Links to this post

1 comment:

Josi said...

Loved your suggested titles!! Thanks Carole.