LDS books can be uplifting, enlightening and entertaining. Here are some outstanding books for families, parents and young adults.
I'll begin with books for light reading for teens though adults. Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson, is a wonderfully written book about a young woman who is about to experience life and love in the early 1800's. The story is set in England and centers around Marianne as she leaves her grandmother's large home in Bath to visit another much grander and larger estate in the country. While en route, her carriage is robbed and her coachman is injured in the fray. The demands on her life, and others in her party, along with discovering more about her strong character became obvious as she took charge of the sudden dilemma and drove the horses and carriage to an inn whilst helping the injured coachman. This exceptionally written book will whisk you back to Marianne's time as she constantly attempts to fit into the unwritten rules obeyed by the higher echelon in society. I'm looking forward to more from this gifted author!
Invaluablee by Holly J. Wood, is a unique blend of storytelling and utilizing and appreciating all the blessings and gifts given to each of us during our life on earth. Eliza is a sophomore in her high school and she is attempting to navigate through each day while finding happiness, peace and fulfillment. But she has the typical frustrations many teens have of not relating to her sister, not being the best friend to her best friend and of finding herself liking a certain cute guy while now discovering she doesn't want to go to prom with Jason. All through her frustrations and anxieties, she comes up with righteous answers in her dreams. Her sweet great-grandmother visits her in her dreams and showcases exceptional women who demonstrate eight strong moral character traits. Each trait is highlighted with a scripture that goes perfectly with that trait. For instance, Virtue is connected to Proverbs 31:10 that states "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
Banana Split, by Josi S. Kilpack, is another of the author's Culinary Mysteries and this book is as mysterious and fun to read as her other eight in this series. The protagonist, Sadie, has decided to take a much needed vacation from all her adventures and mysteries she's solved over the past year and a half. So she's visiting the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Of course, she can't ever truly leave the perils of mystery behind and so, alas, it finds her once more. She becomes entangled in a body while snorkeling and so begins her next mystery quest to solve. Ms. Kilpack has a talented ability to surround the story with interesting red herrings and fabulous surroundings to compel you all the way to the end. However, reader beware: you may find yourself buying a ticket to this island of great beauty and possible mystery. The recipes found sprinkled throughout are all Hawaii related.
The rest of the books are non-fiction and inspire families to be, and do, better. Why I'm a Mormon, edited by Joseph A. Cannon, is full of true autobiographical stories answering the question, "Why I'm a Mormon". There is a collection of some 53 famous, and not so famous, members of the church answering this question with powerful, testimony building statements. Some include inspiring experiences where the Lord has intervened or helped them in their lives. But all expound on the many blessings the Lord has poured into their lives. Each person's essay is short and with easy access. Some of these great people include Steve Young, Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. and Valerie M. Hudson.
Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness, by James L. Ferrell, is an amazing prescription to finding and keeping happiness in our lives. Mr. Ferrell divulges insightful gospel truths by looking at our problems from a different perspective. Such as what if happiness depends less on forgiving ourselves and more on pursuing the journey? The stories of the author's own experiences found throughout the book will hit home. This book could just be the ticket to your happiness!
Increase in Learning: Spiritual Patterns for Obtaining Your Own Answers, by David A. Bednar, conceptualizes what each of us must do to learn on our own about achieving the great plan of eternal happiness. The process must be found out individually and this book helps discover the process and how to act on that process. There are extra-wide margins found on every page enabling us to write our thoughts, goals and impressions as we are enlightened. There is also a DVD which includes more learning tools as well as an edifying interview with both Elder and Sister Bednar.
Look Up, My Soul: The Divine Promise of Hope, by Gerald N. Lund, is the quintessential book for striving and enduring to the end. It's also the perfect book for those who are discouraged and seem to need something to hold onto. Mr. Lund has gathered more hope in this beautifully bound golden book than many who seek hope for a lifetime and seem to let it slip away. He begins with the section defining The Importance of Hope including "Faith, Hope and Charity" and "A Hope in Christ". The next section is about The Need For Alignment which includes "Trust in the Lord" and "A Personal Witness". The third section is about The Value of Perspective which discusses "The Hand of the Lord" and "Developing Spiritual Mastery". The last section is about Fulfillment which has a culminating message in "A Sustaining Hand in the Midst of Tragedy".
And finally, LDS Beliefs: A Doctrinal Reference, by Robert L. Millet, Camille Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner and Brent L. Top, is a reference book that should be on the living room table of all LDS families. This is much like Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine, but updated with entries for nearly 400 topics with a wide variety of subjects. The subjects are all alphabetized and easy to navigate. The information is rich, full and annotated.