I finally got around to updating my Goodreads account with a few of the book reviews I have written over the years. I have been amazed by the response of new readers to my blog. It makes me feel a little better after being dropped by ldsblogs.org. I know people have told me not to be concerned about that but it still hurts losing that extra 200-300 hits per day from their site.
Readers and Blog Hits
Why are hits important to bloggers? I suppose the answer is different for everyone. Is it selfish? Is it egotistical? Is it narcissistic? I hope not. In my case, I started blogging in 2007 before Elder Ballard asked the Saints to be more involved in the online dialogs that are taking place about the church with or without us. My inspiration was an early LDS solo blogger I followed for years.
Solo Versus Group Blogs
Jeff Lindsay was an early pioneer solo blogger I admired as compared to the multiple group blogs that existed for many years. Group LDS blogs are fine and get a lot of traffic but frankly, I found I did not agree with many of the viewpoints I considered “unorthodox,” in other words, worldly. I know that’s judgmental but I did not find myself uplifted by some of the discussion there.
I Read So I Can Write
I want people to be exposed to some of the things I have found uplifting to my faith. I find that it helps my own personal study. Indeed, that is the major reason why I blog – to motivate me to read the scriptures and study the gospel. It’s hard to write about something and not sound like a fool if you haven’t read anything on the subject. I read so I can write. I write about what I read.
Television versus Reading
I grew up without television so I have a difficult time sitting down in the evenings to watch TV to unwind. I would much rather grab a book. So I do. But because I want to be with Carol, I also grab my earplugs. Yes, it can be distracting but if I hold the book just right, I can block out the TV and focus on what I’m reading. I can’t get over the feeling that TV for me is wasting time.
Non-Fiction versus Fiction
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I usually don’t read fiction. If you look at the list of books I’ve entered so far on Goodreads, you’ll note that the majority are non-fiction and LDS-related. I am fascinated by books about the last days, the spirit world and church history. I also like to read controversial stuff you won’t find in Deseret Book as well as your orthodox LDS book fare.
Out of the Best Books
I am a firm believer in the commandment from the Lord, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” I find nothing wrong with counting my reading of LDS-related books as my gospel study time. There are lots of scriptures quoted.
Physical versus Digital Books
I think I have transferred copies of most of my book reviews over to GoodReads. That made me the #56 book reviewer this month earlier today. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s going to take me months to include every book in my library, which has recently passed the 2,000 mark. I’m from the old school. I like to hold a physical book in my hand to read. Thus I buy a lot of books.
Book Reviews Are Helpful
But just to be sure, I decided to make a list here of my reviews with links so I can compare to what I now have on Goodreads. It truly is gratifying to receive emails from individuals who have read my reviews and felt inspired to write and thank me. It’s nice to think that maybe something I wrote has helped someone else. I have so very few original thoughts. I am guided by books.
Books Reviewed on Latter-day Commentary
These are in no particular order. I just went backwards through my blog looking for book reviews and added them with links to the list here. By the way, reading a book doesn’t make you an expert on a subject, but it does help you talk intelligently or at least understand when others bring it up. Also, as I’m sure you know, in most cases, the person writing the book is supposed to be an expert, but that is not always true. We’re all still learning.
01. 6-4-13, Born of the Spirit, E. Richard Packham, 1979
02. 5-29-13, There is a way Back, Gerald Pearson, 1970
03. 5-4-13, The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
04. 5-3-13, You Have Been Here Before, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1986
05. 4-23-13, Beloved Bridegroom, Donna Nielsen, 1999
06. 4-17-13, Remembering the Covenant, vol 1, Denver Snuffer, 2013
07. 4-12-13, The Doctrine of Meeting Christ in This Life, Eric Chun, 2013
08. 3-18-13, From Darkness Into Light, Mel Fish, 1999
09. 3-24-13, The Second Comforter, Denver Snuffer, 2006
10. 2-2-13, Near Death Experiences, Part 2, containing:
- The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, 1995
- Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, 1995
- Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, 1994
- NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, 1994
- Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, 1993
- Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, 1992
- Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor,1992
- Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, 1990
- Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, 1989
- Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, 1988
- The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1988
- The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, 1988
- The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
- Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, 1978
- Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1978
- Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1975
- Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1974
- Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, 1967
11. 1-30-13, Near Death Experiences and Me, Part 1, Containing:
- Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, 2012
- Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, 2012
- Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
- To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, 2011
- Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, 2010
- In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, 2006
- And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, 2003
- Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, 2002
- Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2002
- There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, 2002
- And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2001
- My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, 2001
- The Message, Lance Richardson, 2000
- Life After Death, Robert L Millet, 1999
- I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, 1998
- I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, 1997
- Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, 1997
- Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, 1995
12. 1-18-13, And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, Anthony Larson, 1981
13. 1-13-13, Visions of Glory, John Pontius, 2012
14. 9-10-12, Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
15. 8-14-12, The Book of Mormon: A Biography, Paul C. Gutjahr, 2012
16. 6-24-12, Teachings of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, Anonymous, 2011
17. 5-5-12, Ten Parables, Denver Snuffer, 2008
18. 2-26-12, Passing the Heavenly Gift, Denver Snuffer, 2011
19. 3-28-11, How Americans View Mormonism, Gary Lawrence, 2008
20. 12-6-10, Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth, 1970
21. 5-5-10, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
22. 5-11-09, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, 2007
23. 4-23-09, Shaken Faith Syndrome, Michael Ash, 2008
24. 3-16-09, In Sacred Loneliness, Todd Compton, 1997