Sunday, February 03, 2013

Currently reading

Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West by John M. Riddle. I've read bits and pieces of this during my graduate school years, but this is a fascinating compilation of how women controlled their fertility from thousands of years ago until the present. Before ultrasound or over-the-counter pregnancy test and before our modern understanding of pregnancy, women often viewed a cessation of menstruation--which may or may not have been due to pregnancy--as dangerous. They would take herbs to bring on menstruation, and these herbs nowadays have known abortifactent effects. Definitely worth reading. I had to return it before I was able to finish it, so it's on my to-read list once I can ILL it again.

The Politics of Women's Spirituality: Essays by Founding Mothers of the Movement. I originally checked this out to read an essay I saw cited, but I can't remember which one it was. I paged through much of the book, but didn't actually read it in depth. I found the early 2nd wave feminism a bit too simplistic for my tastes. But it's valuable as a marker in the evolution of feminist thought.

Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America by Jeanne Flavin. Just started this today. I might use part or all of it for a freshman tutorial on reproduction that I hope to teach next fall.

A blog acquaintance shared a huge file of ebooks, so I've been reading two historical novel series set in England ranging from the 1100s-1600s. I've had fun learning all sorts of tidbits about English history. The first series included The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follet. Next was the Morland Dynasty series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, a set of five books beginning with The Founding.

Now for some Mormon stuff...

My mom gave me Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens' book The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life for Christmas. They argue that the most compelling characteristics of a God worth worshipping is his vulnerability and compassion, his capacity for feeling and understanding human pain and joy. The book's prose sometimes is more fanciful that I usually care to read, but still quite moving. Also worth your time are the interviews with the authors at Feminist Mormon Housewives (Episode 27: The Nature of God and the Feminine Divine) and a 2-part interview (Episodes 385-386) at Mormon Stories.

Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History. This book has a short narrative introduction, but most of it is, as the title suggest, a compilation of original source documents relating to LDS temples. So it's not something you'd exactly want to sit down and read straight through for enjoyment, but if you're researching the historical origins of certain policies or practices, this is the place to go.

Women and Authority: Re-Emerging Mormon Feminism edited by Maxine Hanks. A classic collection of essays and stories published in the early 1990s.

Why Theology Can't Save Us, and Other Essays on Being Gay and Mormon by John Gustav-Wrathall. I first listened to his extended interview with John Dehlin on Gay Mormon Stories and was so moved by his life story that I wanted to learn more (to listen, go to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4). I saw this book and (guilty admission) bought it right away for my Kindle. He really breaks apart preconceived notions of what it means to be both gay and Mormon and how one might reconcile the two. On the subject of gays and Mormonism, you can't miss reading Carol Lynn Pearson's books, from Goodye, I love You to No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones to The Hero's Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon

I have a subscription to the Exponent II, a quarterly magazine for Mormon women's writing.

And of course, I can't talk about Mormon reading material without mentioning some of my favorite blogs and podcasts:
What have you been reading? I need to start compiling a postpartum reading list, like I did when Inga was born.


  1. I read The Pillars of the Earth a couple of years ago. There is a really good description of a birth in it.

  2. I'm going to say that I love ZD and it needs to be read more than occasionally. :)

  3. Well, I did add it to Google Reader recently, so now it will be regular!


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