16 10, 2016

If You’d Like a Better Explanation —

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:12+00:00 October 16th, 2016|cookies, good nonfiction, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Unless you’ve been living some kind of Outlander existence for the last 50 years, you might have caught on that Mormons are big on families. Traditional ones. One mom. One dad. Some children. Some people — inside the church, actually — wish we’d shut up about it. We won’t. We don’t think we can afford to. While speaking up may be our strength, I don’t [...]

31 07, 2016

Ten For One!

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:14+00:00 July 31st, 2016|breakfasts, good fiction, main dishes, Uncategorized|0 Comments

I’m reading a door-stopper of a book that’s taking me two weeks. But don’t worry, I still have reading ideas for you. Here’s a post about developing a canon of Mormon literature. It’s intended for scholars and critics — “Mormon literary critics need something to criticize” — but includes a list of ten Mormon-themed books. Ten for one! Just like a big sale week at your [...]

26 07, 2016

You Don’t Have to Pull a Handcart

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:14+00:00 July 26th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I gave this talk in my ward on July 24, 2016. I also gave it in a former ward, um, a few years ago.  Several people have requested copies. It's easiest for me to just post it here:   If You're a Scrub Pine, Be a Good Scrub Pine     I’m going to explain how to grow a forest. Let’s start with a rock.  [...]

17 07, 2016

Three Ways to Solve Your Problems

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:14+00:00 July 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

This week we return to the era of beehive hairdos and shirt-waist dresses as we take a look at the Astronaut Wives’ Club by Lily Koppel. Not all of us get to have a space cowboy for a husband, but whatever ways your own husband vexes you, I can offer three solutions right along with this book. They are: […]

22 05, 2016

Name One Thing We Don’t Know About You

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:15+00:00 May 22nd, 2016|brownies, cookies, good nonfiction, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Well, we all know that you’re a mom of three enviable children. Or a nurse. Or a grad student with a super-interesting major. But maybe you’re tired of everybody thinking that’s all you’re about. You wish we'd sit beside you a little longer and ask more questions. Then you could admit that you played accordion in a family band. (Or maybe you don’t want us to know about [...]

7 02, 2016

You Want More Hours in Your Day, Right?

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:17+00:00 February 7th, 2016|cookies, good nonfiction, Uncategorized|0 Comments

This was the black sheep of my family. Take a guess at her most heinous crime: 1) eloped to Reno 2) smoked unfiltered cigarettes 3) stayed up long after the TV stations signed off for the night. The correct answer is: 3. Sister Black-Sheep was actually a pretty good girl. No elopements. No cigarettes. But her sleep habits? Yeah, a real stain on her character. [...]

10 01, 2016

How Your Swag Gets to Target

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:18+00:00 January 10th, 2016|good nonfiction, main dishes, Uncategorized|0 Comments

I’ll bet you have never thought about what your life would be like without the Port of Los Angeles. Bill Sharpsteen helps you imagine the worst — empty shelves at Target and Dollar General, an empty floor at Kittle’s Furnitures, an empty lot at your Toyota dealer — in his engrossing book, The Docks. You know what a shipping container is, don’t you? No doubt [...]

3 01, 2016

Are You Expat Material?

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:18+00:00 January 3rd, 2016|good nonfiction, sandwiches, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Take an ordinary American family: mom, dad, two young boys. Put them through a common American ordeal: packing up their furniture, their books, their toys, and moving it all to a new home. In Beijing. Foremost Good Fortune is Susan Conley’s memoir of two and a half years in China which, I don’t have to tell you, doesn’t much resemble her native Portland, Maine. For [...]

14 12, 2015

Would You Want to Survive the War?

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:18+00:00 December 14th, 2015|cookies, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife is an almost idyllic story in spite of the fact that the characters have just survived the war in a no-name country that sounds like Yugoslavia. In this post-war world, Natalia, a female doctor, adjusts to the new normal — orphans, tuberculosis, shortages just starting to let up, cities that used to belong to “us” and now they belong to [...]

22 11, 2015

Those Lovable Bums

By | 2016-12-29T23:56:19+00:00 November 22nd, 2015|good fiction, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, side dishes, Uncategorized|0 Comments

First off today, I made a guest appearance on this blog. ====================================== Now, back to our normal programming. Long ago, Nick Nolte starred in the movie Cannery Row. I never saw the movie. I just assumed that, with Nolte starring, it would be about a sad young drunk in a sad part of town. When I opened the by John Steinbeck, I braced myself for [...]