A Few of My Favorite Things

With holiday shopping nearly upon us, I thought I’d suggest a few gift items that might delight the religiously-inclined feminists (and non-feminists) in your life.  Mostly books.  Because I LOVE books.  Yum.

Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New TestamentWomen in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible

The title says it all.  The first quarter of the book is an alphabetical listing of every named women in the Bible with A+ commentary from biblical scholars. The second three quarters takes you, book by book, through every single solitary reference to women in the Good Book — from unnamed servants to Zion-as-woman-in-labor.  I’ve loved using this in my calling as gospel doctrine teacher.  Beautiful, eye-opening, a way to fall in love with the Bible all over again.

Meditations on Mary2. Meditations on Mary, by Kathleen Norris

For the art alone, this is worth the price — nearly 100 depictions of the mother of Jesus.  But it also includes Norris’ reflections on Mary’s life and on how she developed a reverence for the Mother of God.  Norris is one of my favorite spiritual authors.  Also check out Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith ; Cloister Walk ; and Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.

All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir3. All Gods Critters Got a Place in the Choir, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich & Emma Lou Thayne

Mormon Women of Letters Thayne and Ulrich engage is a dialogue about motherhood, scholarship, and Mormonism. Beautiful personal essays and poetry — a great “entry point” book for the women in your life.  Ulrich’s essay “Lusterware” is my go-to essay for those newly encountering a crisis of faith.

Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society4. Women of Covenant: The Story of the Relief Society

What? You don’t own this yet?  A rich and fascinating narrative of Relief Society — from the turning of the key to suffrage to the founding of hospitals and the primary to effects of correlation — and it’s filled with inspiring stories of our foremothers. And the best part? This fabulous piece of scholarship is published by Deseret Book — so it’s a “safe” reference when you want to share with your mom or visiting teachee faith-inspiring stories of our pioneer woemn speaking in tongues and providing blessings of healing.

5. Hard Copies of Exponent II

What’s not to love?

Now you tell me — what else should be added to this list?


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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15 Responses

  1. TopHat says:

    It had been sitting on my shelf for months, but I finally read Mother Wove the Morning a couple of weeks ago. Add that to your list, for sure!

  2. Caroline says:

    I’m excited about your first couple of recommendations. I had never heard of those books before. And the rest are absolute classics. I have absolutely treasured my copy of All God’s Critters.

  3. Deborah says:

    You would LOVE Women In Scripture. A friend who is getting his doctorate in Biblical studies turned me onto it. I read the Bible with it sitting open next to me as I prep lessons — you would have loved all the woman imagery I culled from Isaiah these last few Sundays with its help! Great, great resource. Solid Biblical scholarship.

  4. Corktree says:

    I don’t know whether I want to give or receive these more. I like how you classify some as “safe”. They would make great gifts for my sisters. And I’m sending this post along to anyone that asks what I want.

  5. Deborah says:

    Yeah, one of my fondest dreams is to have every member read Women of Covenant — rocked my world when I read it in college… Brilliant that the authors published through DB, makes it “safe” for larger LDS audience, so it is my reference when I teach a lesson on RS history and want to crack open the window on our extraordinary heritage that feels dangerous to some to talk about (from rs autonomy to the tradition of hands on healing).

    • Rebecca says:

      I did just order Women of Covenant, although I haven’t read it yet. Looking forward to it! Caroline gave me a copy of All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir when I was really hurtling headlong into my faith crisis. I loved “Lusterware” and I still get it out and read it on occasion just to remind myself.

      As for the Exponent II journal, well they are absolutely beautiful. Love the artwork and there’s some wonderful and thoughtful writing. The essay Lone Sheep in the Summer 2010 issue is outstanding, as was In the Company of Nuns. These will be classics.

      • Aimee says:

        We must be soul-sisters, Rebecca! “Lusterware” also had a huge impact on me and I totally agree about Lone Sheep and In the Company of Nuns. Both of those essays gave me something to think about that I sorely needed. As an editor it’s so satisfying and relieving to feel like publishing those essays wasn’t just for me! Thank you for sharing!

    • TopHat says:

      My husband got me that book for my birthday a couple of years ago and I haven’t read it all the way through yet because of its bulk. I’ll re-dedicate myself to it before my birthday in December!

  6. EmilyCC says:

    What a fun list, Deborah! I’ll have to get Kathleen Norris’ book; it sounds wonderful.

    I absolutely heart Women in Scripture–I use it all the time for preparing Church lessons, and like Deborah said, solid research by big names in academia. (It’s like an Anchor Bible Dictionary for women.)

    I also love, love Women of Covenant and agree that every member of the Church should read it.

    And, while I’d definitely save this one for a more liberal LDS feminist (or someone new to LDS feminism), but I think Maxine Hank’s Women and Authority is fabulous and another must read for Mormon feminists.

    Subscriptions to Exponent II will be available by the beginning of November–we’ll be sending out an announcement soon!

  7. mb says:

    I’d add “What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love” by John T. Bristow. Excellent analysis of some of the problematic portions of Paul’s letters.

  8. Aimee says:

    LOVE this list, Deborah! Thank you for putting it together. I have clearly been missing out on my Women in Scripture–what a helpful resource that will be!

  9. Stella says:

    Great list. I tend to not give gifts any more and instead, I buy farm friends (animals for people in Africa) or sponsor a woman’s education for a year. However, if any of you want to send me a copy of any of these, I’ll be happy to read them 🙂

    Actually, I’ll check them out at the library because my house is only 1200 sq ft and 900 of those are full of books 🙂

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