Great Mormon Literature
I don't know whether any of you remember me posting around LYMA in the past... I'm a good friend of J.D. Payne, who introduced me to the Church in 2002-2003. I'm now back after serving in the Belgium Brussels / Netherlands Mission.
Now that I've been home for three months, I miss the elevated spiritual atmosphere of missionary life. I've been meaning to get into some good Mormon literature in my limited free time, but I'm not sure what the best books are. So I thought we might use this thread to post brief reviews of great Mormon literature we've read. That could give me, and possibly others, good direction for our free-reading time.
I'll start us off by commenting on the two non-canonical works that have touched me the most.
James E. Talmage's "Jesus the Christ": I'll bet we've all read this one, but I can't say enough good things about it. I read it almost three times through during my mission, and gained a better understanding of and appreciation for the Savior's ministry, especially the portion described in the New Testament. Page after page of profound insights amazed me; the fact that Talmage wrote most of it inside the Salt Lake Temple really shines through.
Richard L. Bushman's "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling": I imagine that a lot of you have read this, too, but I'll put in my own little endorsement anyway. Bushman is an terrifically gifted historian, with a talent for understanding each development in the Prophet's life in the context of the big (even eternal) picture. I especially liked how Bushman addresses other scholars' lingering questions and concerns, and with calm, even-handed analysis, puts many to rest and sheds better light on others. I could hardly read this book for ten minutes without underlining some new piece of evidence for Joseph's divine calling that I hadn't known before.
So what are your favorites? I know that numerous volumes by Talmage, McConkie, Kimball, Hinckley, and others could be wonderfully enriching, but I want to know what you all have to recommend. What should Chris (this Chris) read?