Thursday, November 19, 2009

Talking LDS Lit (Again) and I'm Not Done Yet

(From left to right: Julie Wright, Janette Rallison, Josi S. Kilpack)

(Thanks to Sandra, our fearless book club leader, for the photos. If you don't recognize me, I'm the dorky one on the top row with the glasses and oatmeal-colored sweater.)

LDS book clubs are a funny thing. A lot of them started a few years ago when Relief Society (the church's organization for women) was restructured and we were urged to plan small group activities. I think most of the clubs have moved away from church "sponsorship" for various reasons, but still exist as groups of friends who want to read books that are in keeping with their common morals. I'm not sure exactly how The Bookworms got started - I've only been in the ward (my local congregation) for a year and a half - but I've enjoyed my brief association with these ladies.

Since our group's been a little defunct as of late, our leader organized a fun kick-off. We gathered to hear Josi S. Kilpack and Julie Wright, two LDS authors, speak. Since they were staying with Janette Rallison (who, I didn't realize, lives here locally), she came along as well. The trio talked about their lives, their writing, and the unique experience of writing for an LDS market. It was fascinating, even though I have only read Kilpack, and only one of her books.

Some of the interesting things they said were:

Josi talked about how writing her own novels has stolen much of the pleasure out of reading others' books. She mentioned a 50-page rule - if a story hasn't grabbed her by then, she abandons it. I know a lot of us bloggers do this, too. My question, though, is this: Have you had this same experience with blogging? Does reviewing books steal some of the pleasure out of reading? It has for me, although I feel like critiquing others' work has been more instructive than destructive. What do you think?

Someone asked how the authors "found" the time to write. I thought Julie's answer was interesting. She said she writes in 15 minute increments. I don't know about you, but I can take just about anything for 15 minutes, be it a sports competition or a dentist drilling (which are equally torturous for me). Her advice has inspired me to work on all those novels that have been germinating in the back of my brain.

Mostly, I appreciated hearing the women talk about why it's so important to them to write clean novels. My reading always vascillates between G reads and R reads, but I love the fact that I can walk into a church bookstore knowing I don't have to worry about the content in the books I choose. Now, you know how I feel about LDS lit, but listening to these ladies convinced me to give it another go. I love that there is this new crop of writers who are making the genre better and better every day. So, for those of you who are sick to death of hearing me talk LDS lit, I apologize, because I'm not done yet :)

4 comments:

  1. Oops I NEVER knew that Josi Kilpack was LDS. I didnt get that memo.

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  2. What a fun post about your bookgroup!! I think we forget to really record those interactions and thoughts that we share together as a live group. It sounded like a fun evening and I wish I could have been there!! My bookgroup was a blast last night. We finished The Scarlett Pimpernel and had a pretty rousing discussion. We also voted on books for the new year!! It was a blast. Let's compare lists sometime!
    Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with us.

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  3. How fun! I love Janette Rallison. And I don't consider her books LDS, just clean and funny. I love 'em. I need to look into those other two authors I guess.

    My book club only lasted one meeting as a church sponsored group. We decided REALLY fast that wasn't going to work.

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  4. Oooh, I'd love to read a book you wrote! And what a lucky thing for your book group!

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