Exponent II Blog 2022 Christmas Book Guide

‘Tis the season for book buying! Whether the book be a gift for yourself or a gift from someone else, I have some Holiday Reading Recommendations.


I must start by recommending a subscription to our beloved magazine, Exponent II. Though not a book, with digital subscriptions for only $12 for the whole year, and print subscriptions for only $35 a year (within the US), this is a gift that truly keeps on giving. The words and artwork are powerful and stay with you, warming your heart and teasing your mind in ways that you never knew you needed. I can truly say that I have learned and enjoyed something from every copy of the magazine I’ve ever read.



For the following titles, I have included prices in US dollars, from the Amazon website as of the date of this post.


I have a few favourite Christmas children’s books! (don’t we all!) Adding to my list is The Innkeeper’s Daughter ($16.69 hardcover) about the daughter of the Innkeeper who turned away Mary and Joseph. When I asked the author, Calie Schmidt about her book, she said, “I have four daughters and realized that the nativity needed more female representation.” Amen, sister! I loved this sweet addition to nativity-based inspirational stories and believe this book is one for the ages. Sweetly written in rhyme, it is a magical story to read aloud, sharing a strong sense of kindness and reverent majesty. Literally my favourite Children’s Christmas book this year! (Cedar Fort Publishing & Media- this publisher had a special where the book was only $3.00)



Do you have an imagination? William Morris does. I confess that I bought this book as a gift for a friend… and accidentally read the whole thing. I couldn’t give a used copy top my friend, especially since some of the stories begged to be re-read! So I am stuck in the waiting-for-the-mail limbo to wrap this up for my friend. So what I am saying is, this is the kind of book that you really can’t put down, for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on. So– if you are looking for science fiction, fun, creativity and just something a bit weird, The Darkest Abyss: Strange Mormon Stories ($12.956/paperback) is for you (or your friend) who likes something… different. (By Common Consent Press)


Tender Leaves of Hope: Finding Belonging as LGBTQ Latter-day Saint Women ($14.23/paperback) is another book I strongly recommend. But better than me, Carol Lynn Pearson wrote, “Meghan Decker’s Tender Leaves of Hope brings a much-needed intelligent and compassionate view into the lives and loves of women in the LDS community. This book gives a warm welcome to those who experience themselves as lesbian and want to be part of the Church—and at the same time offers respect to those who choose a different path.” This book is filled with compassion as expressed through the stories of more than the author alone. The short chapters are concise, leaving the reader space to ponder how we can better understand the challenge of being LGBTQ in the LDS church, plus– with a dearth of lesbian representation in LDS literature, this is a welcome addition to the market. (Cedar Fort Publishing & Media)


For the poetry lover in your life, this book has their name written all over it: Paradoxical Glory ($9.99/ paperback). Our own Katie Rich wrote a review on it, which enticed me to purchase… and I did not regret it. This is complicated, yet easily understood at the same time– meaning that sometimes the subject matter is complicated, but the questions posted or offered by the author are ones that many LDS women have grappled with. It is the kind of book that makes you think about the oddness of life in a good way. (By Common Consent Press)


To be honest, I am dying to write a book review for Marianne Meets the Mormons: Representations of Mormonism in Nineteenth-Century France ($30.00/paperback) (I plan to soon). I absolutely LOVED it. For the historian on your Christmas list, or the wanna be history professor, or the Francophile, this book ticks all the boxes. Meticulously researched in France, the authors of this book look at how nineteenth-century French observers engaged with the idea of Mormonism in order to reframe their own cultural preoccupations– critiquing and parodying Mormons as much as the French themselves. This is not a book you will regret purchasing. (University of Illinois Press)


France is not enough? Well, skip over to the British Isles and check out The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind ($26.95/paperback). This book kind of has it all: history, literature, media and surveys…and you end up learning about the outsider’s perspective of this very American religion. It is a great look at the cultural differences between Americans and Brits through the lens of Mormonism.  (Kofford Books)


True confession: I have not read this book. But I have been told that The Burning Book: A Jewish-Mormon Memoir ($11.95/paperback) is giftable for all the church members within the Mormon spectrum. Selections from the Amazon description: “The Burning Book traces Jason’s spiritual journey from aspiring rabbi to Latter-day Saint missionary, from Brigham Young University student to Israeli immigrant, and from Jewish Studies scholar to military chaplain.  Co-written with novelist and poet James Goldberg (author of The Five Books of Jesus and A Book of Lamentations). The Burning Book offers readers a glimpse into Jewish and Mormon cultures and asks what it means to seek the voice of prophets in a modern, multicultural world.” I plan on getting this one for my bishop brother. (By Common Consent Press)


Lastly, if you have not yet read East Winds: A Global Quest to Reckon with Marriage ($12.95/paperback), be your own Secret Santa and get it. It really is a fun read, rich with detail, and posing powerful questions, suppositions and the occasional answer. It really is a good read for anyone– LDS or not. (By Common Consent Press)



What do you think? Are there any books on your “recommended for purchase” list for this holiday season? Please comment below! Merry Christmas Reading!!

Spunky lives in Queensland, Australia. She loves travel and aims to visit as many church branches and wards in the world as possible.


  1. This was such a great list! You have convinced me to add Tender Leaves of Hope to my own stocking this year, as well as a few others.

  2. I would add Caroline Kline’s “Mormon Women at the Crossroads.” Fascinating case studies of women around the world, and what our westernized, feminist eyes might be missing. I was fascinated with every chapter.

  3. Great list! I’m reading East Winds right now, and I bought The Darkest Abyss last week. I would add Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops by Allison Hong Merrill.

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