"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
June 18, 2014
Recommended Reads from Two Years of Reviews
by Laurie Williams Sowby

After two years of writing this bi-weekly column for Nauvoo Times, I thought it might be well to take a look back over the 120 or so books I’ve reviewed here and list some of those which continue to make an impression in my memory.

You can find more detailed reviews of each in the Nauvoo Times archives. If you’re considering a book as a gift or just need a good book yourself, these would be among my top recommended reads.

I couldn’t narrow it down to exactly 10, but here are few standouts, in no particular order or ranking:

God Remembered Me, an excerpt from A Distant Prayer, by the late Joseph Banks, a World War II pilot and P.O.W. It tells how he endured unimaginable treatment in a prison camp yet felt God’s presence throughout the ordeal. It could be the most uplifting $5 read you’ve ever encountered.

For All the Saints, a history of the Church in New England, whose principles of commitment, member-missionary work, and building the kingdom are truly universal. The interviews, experiences, and superb writing by Kristen Dayley mark an exceptional LDS book.

Assisted, the upbeat, well-written autobiography of Utah Jazz basketball great and still-Catholic John Stockton. This show of gratitude to all who’ve helped him succeed in his life is an engaging read for all ages and interests.

Women of Faith, Volumes 1-3 (so far) a compilation of well-researched material from primary sources, often in the voices of the women who lived these diverse experiences as members of the Church in different time periods. It is a trustworthy and vital part of LDS women’s history.

The Power of Everyday Missionaries, an encouraging, real-life how-to guide from Clayton M. Christensen, the quintessential member-missionary, who doesn’t separate his identity as a Latter-day Saint from his role as a successful businessman and professor at Harvard Business School.

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring, a delight to read, not only for the personal glimpses into the man’s personality but for the personally drawn sketches included in the layout. And I can’t wait for the second volume of the biography of L. Tom Perry: An Uncommon Life,rife with stories, both happy and not-so, of challenges met and a life well lived for more than 90 years now.

Religion columnist Jerry Johnston’s RescuedA Prodigal’s Journey Home, a standout for its honesty as a journal of the author’s re-entry into Church activity, with the encouragement and support of the late Apostle Neal L. Maxwell.

Six Sisters’ Stuff (two volumes now), a project of six biological sisters who share their family recipes, craft ideas, and traditions. Despite the fact that I don’t cook, it’s my pick for the appeal of its colorful layout and creative ideas.

Why I’m a Mormon, chock-full of personal anecdotes and testimonies, told in first-person by members in a wide array of fields round the world. Also, the idea of introducing Mormonism to the world gets a creative and often humorous (but not irreverent) twist in Mormons, An Open Book (What You Really Want to Know), which is a lot more interesting than its blah cover suggests.

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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