If Truman G. Madsen and Garrison Keillor ever rented a hall for a "vocal" duel, the building would explode because a man-made facility cannot containIf Truman G. Madsen and Garrison Keillor ever rented a hall for a "vocal" duel, the building would explode because a man-made facility cannot contain the sound wave awesomeness that emanates from their larynxes.
After finishing the Work and the Glory series as a teenager, my dad picked up these audio cassettes for me. They were later published as a book. I still prefer the audio.
Part of what I love about each of these 40-50 minute lectures on the life of each LDS prophet is that Truman Madsen obviously loves them for who they ARE. As men, with every good and bad connotation that accompanies the word. Rather than a blanket admiration merely because of the sacred title they held as prophets and Presidents of the LDS Church, he shows you WHO they were. For example, in one of my favorite talks in the set, rather than introduce you to President Joseph F. Smith: 6th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you meet Joseph. The young boy who almost thrashed his school teacher. Who was so touched when children sang, tears would stream down his cheeks. Who wrote poetry to honor the memory of his young daughter that died. These types of details and insights bowl me over.
For nearly a decade, the talk/chapter on Spencer W. Kimball floated around in my glove compartment. I frequently played it, despite having memorized virtually all the content years earlier. Hearing it every time was a breath of fresh air. I feel that way about each lecture in this book....more
Long before I became aware of Michael Crichton's generic writing format, this sucker did me in. I still have fond memories of immersing myself in thisLong before I became aware of Michael Crichton's generic writing format, this sucker did me in. I still have fond memories of immersing myself in this book, with my heart pounding in certain scenes.
Then came the movie. And what a tragedy that was. I never read it again after that train-wreck of a film. I'm sure it would still hold its own....more
I am in debt to Gerald N. Lund for embedding in me a sincere desire to study and learn LDS Church history. During this 9-volume series, I believe I feI am in debt to Gerald N. Lund for embedding in me a sincere desire to study and learn LDS Church history. During this 9-volume series, I believe I felt every emotion that can be felt during the "reading" experience.
On one small item, I am divided. While the activities and events discussed in this series did occur, and the actual even are written very well (outpouring of the Spirit at the Kirtland temple dedication, martyrdom of Joseph Smith, massacre at Haun's Mill, etc.), over the years my impression of the characters is that, in many ways, they are amalgams of the generic "LDS pioneer" that has developed (think Eliza Williams in the "Legacy" film). This comes from my own personal, imperfect opinion on how the history of the church is discussed (see my review To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson for more discussion on this).
Apart from that, I am grateful for this series. I will encourage my children - and new converts to the LDS Church - to read this as a solid introductory course to the history of the Restoration, using this as a springboard to powerful events and many experiences of early members of the church, as opposed to an end in and of itself....more
One of my greatest pleasures this past month came from finally having time to read. When in school, m(This review was originally written June 7, 2006)
One of my greatest pleasures this past month came from finally having time to read. When in school, my schedule is soon filled with too many activities that I can't find the time to read as I'd like. I've read quite a few doozies over the past month.
Including Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code.
I confess that the Dan Brown method is entertaining. You feel antsy at times, wondering what will happen, and DaVinci Code is one of the bestselling books ever (although Angels & Demons is a superior plot).
Yet truth must prevail. Dan Brown is not a good writer, and both books fall horribly flat. In no way are they of the material from which classics are made.
I (respectfully) wonder if many would still consider this such a cool book if it not so popular.
Near completion, I stumbled across a comment by the author Salman Rushdie saying, "It's a book so bad, it makes bad books look good." Considering his colorful array of novels (Satanic Verses, anyone?), I know he's not talking about the theme.
I felt like I was reading one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels, where YOU decide how you want the book to go? Dan Brown writes each chapter with a final sentence or two that is supposed to make you go, "Oh! OH! Let me continue on a little further! That pump of adrenaline has made my loins giddy!" While the simple language obviously contributes to its mainstream success (how much of a vocabulary is needed to read this book?), it is distracting for me.
Let's not forget that if you read either of these books, you basically can guess how the other will end. You can safely guess who is bad, who is good, and that Langdon will sleep with an intelligent woman for apparently no other reason than he wears a tweed coat that Brown LOVES to mention at the beginning of each book. Apparently all smart men wear tweed. Who knew?
Then, Dan Brown explains exactly how you should view each situation. You never hear anybody really discussing this book in detail. And why should they, Dan Brown already explained it to us! Despite worldwide acclaim, I cannot see any good conversation focusing on this book for more than 6 minutes. Maybe 7, if it's a party and you're looking around.
Since when has that method produced anything of lasting importance? Even Harry Potter doesn't fall into this trap. I get so mad at the Potter kid sometimes for his lack of self-control, yet at least leaving his teenage mind unanalyzed makes him more well-rounded.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh. Only because I stayed up late last night, reading the final 100 pages, and had to accept that the Rushdie quote I wanted to disprove was ultimately true....more