Shelf Evaluation: Amanda Mae

Amanda Mae Shelf Evaluation A “shelf evaluation” seems to be the kind of thing nerdy book lovers enjoy – getting to talk about their books. I saw other book sites and blogs do these, and I thought it would be a fun exercise for the Not Your Relief Society Book Club community! What I have featured here is a portion of my “church books” shelf, books related to religion and Mormonism. (Being a former bookseller, I tend to shelve my books by genre.) So let’s give this a try!

Starting on the far left, you will see my copy of Daughters in My Kingdom with The Beginning of Better Days barely making the frame. I devoured both books when they became available, and my DIMK is looking a little worn with Post-It’s stuck in it from when I’ve prepared talks and lessons. I’m delighted with the renewed interest in the history of the Relief Society, and I’ve made it a mini mission of mine to encourage all women in the church to learn more about the organization of the Third Hour they attend. It’s followed by Sheri Dew’s Women and the Priesthood and Neylan McBain’s Women At Church. If you’re interested in learning more about the experience of women in the LDS church, these are also required reading. Both tackle similar issues from different angles, and both offer invaluable advice and encouragement. I definitely took a pencil to both of them. Continue reading


As You Wish, by Cary Elwes

As You Wish The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
by Cary Elwes
Pub Date: October 14, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that The Princess Bride is a favorite movie of American Mormons. Walk through any Cultural Hall and start saying, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…” and those around you will finish the famous phrase. I very literally jumped at the chance to read a galley of this before it was published last year.

Cary Elwes, known to LDS women across this great nation as My Sweet Westley, pens a charming and loving memoir of the film that first gave him fame. This is the kind of book any well-loved movie should have for its fans. Not only do you get all the behind-the-scenes stories from Elwes and other cast and crew from the film, but you can absolutely tell everyone had a grand time making the film, too. And you get to follow Elwes throughout the production process learning how to fence and stage fight for the Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, and that in itself is a real treat.

All the primary cast members contribute to the book as well, with asides inserted throughout the book, so you get to hear what Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, and all the others thought about their cast mate Cary and the production in general. You’ll learn how and why actors were cast, the author William Goldman’s input to the production, injuries that were inflicted, and how nerve-wracking the Fire Swamp scenes were to film. Lots of great anecdotes to keep you in stitches!

I also loved all the reminisces about Andre the Giant, the beloved Fezzik of the movie. Andre was a man of imposing stature but as cuddly as a teddy bear, and there doesn’t seem to be a bad word about him. He was quite a hard worker, despite his body not always cooperating with him, and not being as fluent with the English language had the director Rob Reiner record all his lines on tape so he could learn the lines phonetically. Stories about the late Andre are speckled throughout, like a playful spirit. So very endearing.

Really the whole book is one big squee-worthy, fangirly read, and you’ll want to watch the movie as you read about the behind-the-scenes trivia, and you’ll want to watch it again after you finish the book because you’ll have such warm and fuzzy feelings about the movie. You’ll bug all your friends with interjections of, “Hey, did you know that..” while you watch, too. Highly recommended!