Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Day

First Day
Allyson B. Condie

Another Superfine show, Doug! Unfortunately, I missed the first few minutes because of circumstances beyond my control (which is why we continue to strongly urge KSL Radio to make Everyday Lives, Everyday Values available as a podcast, or at least archive it on the website. HELLO, people!).

This week's guest was Allyson Condie, author of Yearbook, and now back with the follow-up, First Day. But, as Allyson pointed out in the interview, First Day is the continuing saga of only SOME of the characters from Yearbook, since she wanted to keep the book as realistic as possible (Thanks, Allyson - as we all know, reality is something that is frequently stretched in this genre - you've done us all a huge favor). Of course, reality did take a bit of hit in the interview, when Allyson stated that although her book does contain LDS themes, she hopes that the writing and universal nature of the material will make the book accessible and applicable to youth outside of the church, as well. Uh-huh, you go girl!

Highlight of the show, at least for me, was the 3 minute sidebar from Doug about the time his son went on a mission, and how his wife's family (which, incidentally, are not LDS), wanted to know if they could chip in to help buy him a TV. While the story had absolutely nothing to do with the book or author that was his weekly guest, Doug's point was well made: non-Mormon's just don't get it! (And what's up with chipping in for a TV? Is Doug's spectacular career as a Radio Host/Utah celeb not as lucrative as we have all imagined? I mean, the family needs to chip in for a TV? Note to self, consider starting fundraising drive to help the Wright family!).

Overall, on the scale of one to five, I'd rate the book a 3, and the show a perfect 5. And now, the question:
Did Doug actually read the book before the show?
Superfan 1: No vote (out of town on vacation, and missed the show -WE NEED PODCASTS)
Superfan 2: Definitely not, and should not. A man with that much on his plate doesn't have time to be reading junior LDS fiction published by Des Book (hereafter cited as DB).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New Catalog!

Well, the new Deseret Book Fall catalog arrived today, and needless to say, I am very excited about it! Most of all, since it features Amanda Dixon's Wake Up book, right on the cover! (love the dog on the cover of your book, Amanda!). That is exposure almost as good as being featured on Everyday Lives, Everyday Values. I should also point out that local radio station X96 is featuring readings from the book on their morning show, Radio From Hell. A big shout out to you, Amanda! Now you're changing the lives of hippies and stoners, too! By the way, the photo to the left is one of Amanda that she posted in one of her blogs at I've never seen her before, but man, she is hot!

First off, the catalog itself seems to have a running theme of "harvest," and features "a new crop of products," making this catalog a literal cornicopia of spiritual nourishment. Bravo to Des Book (hereafter "DB") for so creatively tying the notion of "feasting on the word" to the gluttony available through their printed words. I'm getting fat just thinking about it (spiritually fat, that is - I'm already temporally fat).

The other notable from the catalog is Kim Clark's Armor (another book previously featured on ELEV!). After hearing Doug's description about the book's cover, I had to run out to my local DB early Monday morning to see what all the fuss was about. And Doug was (W)right! The cover is stunning - so eye-catching it almost appears to be a little bit 3-D (maybe like 2 & 1/2 D, or something like that). Unfortunately, the picture of the cover in the catalog DOES NOT do the actual cover justice. Don't be deceived by the appearance of the cover's matte finish in the catalog photo. It is not an accurate representation. If you were going to buy the book because of the cover (or because of Doug's praise for the cover), but then changed your mind when you saw it in the catalog, make sure to change it back. Because once you see that cover in real life, you will be back to buying, I guarantee it!

Also check out the new sensational LDS film advertised in the catalog, Anxiously Engaged. Props to the creative team that came up with that name - a wonderful fusion of LDS scripture and current pop culture. It tells the story of a returned missionary (hereafter cited as RM) that wants to marry a hot English girl, but for some unspecified reason cannot until he finds a bride for her "sensible" older sister (apparently "sensible" is code for ugly, and man, is she sensible!). A surefire winner not to be missed by ANY active temple attending Latter-day Saint (unless you did not like Mobsters and Mormons, Church Ball, the RM, The Hometeachers, or any of God's Armies - in that case, you might want to miss this).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wake Up To a Happier Life

Wake Up to a Happier Life

Amanda Dickson

When we woke up this morning, Superfan was suffering from a crippling bout of depression, which we mistakenly attributed to the discovery that Doug routinely watches and critiques rated R movies (no stars for American Wedding?!? - Alas, we thought we knew you, Doug). That and the chemical imbalance that makes the re-uptake of seratonin in Superfan's brain very difficult. But after our morning dose of ELEV (just what the Doug-tor ordered), we realized that our sadness could be the result of our part-time, minimum wage jobs scrubbing fecal matter off of the urinals at EnergySolutions Arena (its just temporary until Superfan's modeling career can take off - check out our photo below! - To any of the publishers at Des Book [hereafter cited as DB], let Superfan know if you're interested in using him/us for any upcoming dust jackets!)

Thanks to Amanda Dickson's new book, Wake Up to a Happier Life, we realized that the real key to happiness is finding a cake job that pays a crapload of money (like morning radio host on Wake Up with Grant and Amanda) and then write a book telling everyone just how happy your job makes you (Oh, that we could all host our own morning talk shows!). But for those of us stuck in less glamorous professions, Amanda apparently has some advice for us, too.

Doug was obviously thrilled to have Amanda as his guest, and Wrightly so! The vixen Dickson has been a long-time colleague and friend of Mr. Wright for quite some time (in fact, we were a little shocked to find out that Doug plays favorites. Could it possibly be that sometimes ELEV has guests on the show that Doug doesn't know anything about and possibly doesn't like? We shudder at the thought). The show's style was a little rowdy for our tastes, and had more of a free-flow feel to it than the scripted conversation from last week's guest Chris Stewart. But we suppose its to be expected when two buddies are given a microphone and an international audience of listeners!

We were beside ourselves with anticipation to learn how Amanda finds so much fulfillment in what she does. Who better to tell us how to be happy in our lives than a woman who has had to struggle to find happiness in a career where she is paid large sums of money to talk for a few hours a day (sports and weather together on the 9's, which includes every 9 of every hour for four hours EVERY DAY [except weekends, holidays, and days off]). How does she keep her spirits up? Apparently she needed a whole book to explain.

She begins the book with a short dialogue occurring at a party (can we assume that the Amanda in the conversation who talks about being a radio host might be one and the same as the author, and that perhaps the dialogue is actually a recollection of just such a conversation she has had??? We don't know, as she nevers says so in the book), and then follows it up with some sort of transgender identity question about whether or not she's really named David (although confused, Superfan is definitely intrigued). Apparently Tim McGraw has struggled with the same question, and is now writing a song about it. Anyways, Superfan thinks the message is only people named David are really happy (Great, Superfan is so screwed - I mean what kind of messed mother names her son Superfan instead of David? In any case, Superfan just changed his 6 year old daughter's name to David. Thanks for the heads up Amanda).

Doug's interview took an unexpected, and overly emotional turn for worse when Doug asked Amanda how she deals with criticism. The message she shared has changed the way Superfan views the world. Amanda revealed her secret to dealing with anybody that does not think she is wonderful (you would NEVER find us in that group Mrs. Dickson!). It used to bother her, until she realized that the people unfairly throwing criticisms at her, they were the ones whose horrible private lives made them the problem, not Amanda (and Doug could not have agreed more!). The angelic Amanda even went so far as to express sorrow for these people, who have such dark and horrible lives that they don't love her (or her book). What a powerful message! There is no such things as legitimate criticism, as all "constructive critics" are actually miserable people who try to lay the blame for their lives at the feet of Doug and Amanda. Thanks to Amanda, now we know that the modeling agent's complaint about Superfan's body not looking anything like our photo portfolio is really just a reflection of the fact that his wife beats him regularly! Now, whenever confronted by any criticism (like Superfan's wife's gripe about bedwetting), we always take the high road (aka, the Amanda Dickson road), and we feel sorry for our critics.

The emotional highlight of the show came when Doug began talking about how he deals with criticism. The majesty of his words moved Amanda to the point that she could barely speak. Mustering hardly a whisper, which got softer and higher with each refrain, Amanda cried out, "Yes, Doug, that's beautiful," repeatedly. In spite of ourselves, Superfan joined in the soft chorus, and "Yes Doug" became our mantra. Certainly a show to remember.

On a scale of 1 to 5, we rate the book a 2 (Superfan is titch homophobic, and doesn't get the whole David thing - plus, even after reading the book, Superfan faced a tough bout of crippling depression while trying to get the urine smell out of bathroom 3 on the second floor - We're Waking Up, Amanda, and it ain't workin!), and the interview a 5+ (once again, Doug turns a stinker into something memorable). And now for the question:

Did Doug read the book?

Superfan 1: "Yes, Doug. That's beautiful."

Superfan 2: Are you kidding? He lives it! (and so probably didn't read it)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fury and Light

The Great and Terrible Volume 4: Fury and Light

Chris Stewart

We've been waiting. I know you all have been waiting. It is finally here. We were absolutely thrilled to hear Chris Stewart in his interview about his terrifying (and I do not use that word lightly) novel. It was clear that Doug was terrified as well. Anybody listening would have been able to hear the terror in his voice as he talked about Fury and Light (and this was not his normal terror when he hasn't even looked at the book that he is supposed to be discussing), which is the 4th volume in his Great and Terrible series (we're still not sure which those titles applies to his books, but it could conceivably be both!). If this interview did not send you scrambling to fill your food storage, I don't know what will.

Doug and Chris begin talking about the book without really explaining what went on in the other novels that proceed this one. They Wrightly assumed that everybody had probably already read volumes 1 through 3 numerous times. And even for those very few who hadn't (and shame on you), the universal nature of the book's plot (scare the crap out of people) made the interview accessible and compelling for everyone.

We've done our fair share of rumenating on the end of the world, but in all of the apocolyptic end times scenerios we've conjured up we never saw this one coming. Nuclear bombs and EMDs (erectile malfunction dysfunctions?). Who'd have thought that world would be destroyed with nuclear bombs? Who? I'll tell you who. The genius that is Chris Stewart.

I was particularly moved when Chris took the time to give us a little physics lesson. I guess there is something called an EMD that, according to Doug, will literally send us back to the 1800s. Time travel. A scary thought for some, but an exciting prospect for people who want to relive that moment in high school where the coach didn't put you in. There is hope for Uncle Rico.

During the interview Doug took a brief commercial break, and needless to say we were sorely disappointed (but who are we to disagree with Doug's choice. He is Mr. Wright). Suddenly, our disappointment turned to fear as we heard devastating news about the 72 hours that changed the world. (Which apparently could not be seen on the big screen but could only be read?) That fear quickly turned to joy as we realized that we were listening to a commercial for the very book being discussed in the half hour commercial that is ELEV. (This was followed by a commericial for the new Mo Tab doing showtunes CD available now at Des Book [hereafter cited as DB] - apparently fans of the choir DEMANDED an album of Showtunes, which are Mo Tab's most requested songs ["Lovely Ladies" from Les Mis, anyone?]. Personally we cannot think of a better use of the Lord's choir, then rehashing Sunrise, Sunset, and other pop showtunes classics!)

On a scale of 1 to 5 we rate the book a terrifying 5 and the interview a 5.

And now for the question:

Did Doug read the book?

Superfan 1: Of course he did. He's been waiting and waiting.

Superfan 2: I've heard Doug's building a bomb shelter and packing his walls with wheat. What do you think?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Revenge and Redemption

Revenge & Redemption: A Novel of Love and Conflict in the Civil War

Brad E Hainsworth
This weeks guest was prolific LDS historical fictionist (and political commentator/aficianado) Brad Hainsworth, who has recently published his eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Heroes of Glorietta Pass, Revenge and Redemption. While we were thrilled to have Brad back on the show, we frankly were a little surprised he would return, what with everything Doug said in their interview from 2005. And we quote:
Doug: Now, this is co-authored--we have another author listed here--but Richard
Vetterli is no longer with us. Maybe you could tell us how all of this works.

Brad: ... early in the book's development, Richard passed away
...(you know Doug, when people die, they can't write books anymore.
Or host radio programs)

Doug: What a great thing.
And yet, in spite of that interchange, Brad returned to ELEV (which is a testament to the power of Doug Wright! WRIGHT ON, Doug).
Before getting into the book, a quick note on Brad's introduction. In a bold move that's sure to elicit an angry response from any Congressmen that gets their hands on this book (which is sure to include some of Washington D.C.'s premiere power brokers), Brad writes (or, Wrights) his introduction "from the Utah territory." Clearly unhappy with the nuisance that is the federal government's intervention in our fine state (you know, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other "socialized" evils), Brad fires the first shot in the volley (maybe not fatal, but stinging) that is sure to follow between the US government and the, ..., well, just Brad. Don't worry Brad, we've got your back! But on to the book.
It's rare to find an author not so versed in history (and politics), who is yet brave enough to stand up and write an entire series of historical fiction novels (and in a thrilling moment from the show, Brad revealed that he's got at least one more book in him, and possibly even two, as a part of this series). When asked by Doug about the difficulty in researching the history behind his books, Brad confidently declared that its not hard at all, since he doesn't do any research. And Brad, your book proves it! By putting Porter Rockwell in the thick of the Civil War, its as though you've said to your editors, "Accuracy be damned. These people just need to be entertained! And entertained we have been (both by your book, and Doug's interview with you). All this from an author who when listing the great battles of the Civil War, includes not just Gettysburg, Antietam, and Shiloh, but also the Mormon War of 1857, when President Buchanan sent federal troops to Utah to put down a non-existent rebellion among the Mormons.
Unlike other authors of LDS fiction (whom we shall call lazy?), Brad does not limit himself to just writing about Mormon characters. Instead, in an act of sheer genius, Brad writes about normal people (or at least as normal as you can be with a name like Wolf Striker) who just happen to cross paths with Mormons. Another brave move from a particularly daring author, but it pays off big time. While reading it, I almost forget that I'm reading a book published by our beloved Des Book (hereafter cited as DB).
During the interview, Doug asked Brad how he developed such complex and rich characters (with incredibly inventive names) in the book. And in a moment nearly approximating a testimony meeting, Brad confided to his listeners that "the characters just came to him." No doubt an individual as layered as Wolf Striker could not have simply been made up by Brad (especially that name, which rumor has it was originally slated to be Wolf Petter, but was changed by Brad after several visits from Wolf Striker himself). Based on Brad's detailed description of Mr. Striker, he is an ominous and imposing figure, and kudos to Brad for not shrinking from the task of confronting and writing about someone so dangerous that they don't just touch the wolves, they strike them! In this same vein, we can't help but wonder if the new details that Brad provides about Porter Rockwell's life might in fact have been dictated by Porter himself!?! Let's keep an open mind people - you know Doug does.
In conclusion, on a scale of 1 to 5, we rate the book a solid 5 (Wright on, Brad, Wright on!), and the show a 4.5 (not nearly enough stories from Doug's personal life - no references to celebrities he knows, and important people he is friends with). And now, for the question:
Did Doug read the book?
Superfan 1: No - a little too much history for Mr. Wright
Superfan 2: Absolutely - are you crazy, superfan 1? Doug was on during this show, and it was clear that this book was Doug-worthy in every way.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Supersonic Saints

Supersonic Saints

John Bytheway

"In the whites of his eyes, there's a supersonic vibe. You can tell by the vibe, he's a warrior who cries. He's supersonic. I think he's supersonic. Supersonic."


We have it on good authority that Jamiroquai actually wrote this song about John Bytheway (apparently he wanted to record it for Des Book [hereafter cited as DB], but that he was contractually obligated to his record company for three more albums - may we be so bold as to suggest possibly an album of showtunes covers?). And we believe it, since we have always considered John a supersonic stripling warrior.

To be honest, when we heard that John was going to be on ELEV, we were a little bit surprised. I mean, had not he already written about every possible experience that he has had. His volumnious writings had taken us from dating to marriage, on scout hikes, bike rides, and even through the forest that is the book of Isaiah. For all of us airheads out there, Mr. Bytheway had shown us the way to live our lives greatly (even providing EMT service for our ailing love lives - Hello, Dating 911!). And so we wondered, having seemingly written about everything he has done, what could be left for John to write about? Needless to say, we underestimated the man. In his new book, Supersonic Saints, John has discovered that he can not only make money by writing about his own experiences, but there is a vast, untouched vein of OTHER people's experiences, just waiting to be written about. And for this book, John picked one of the most thrilling experiences of other people, flying at supersonic speeds (well, maybe just flying. John did go to great lengths in the interview to point out that not all of the pilots included in the book actually flew at supersonic speeds. But they did all fly. We think).

John, who is pretending to be a religion professor at BYU (you know, those other guys get PhD's in koine Greek so they can be professors, but John got his PhD in hilarity from the school of life), has published numerous books for LDS audiences, but this Supersonic Saints is by far his best account of other people's experiences (way better than the wisdom quotes he pilfered from the mouths of babes and dudes!). Doug was thrilled to have John as his guest (again), especially as the interview turned to a discussion of the renovation of KSL Radio's studios. As Doug noted, and John heartily agreed, the new cafeteria in the Broadcast House would definitely help draw in a younger, and hipper, crowd for Doug to schmooze with his wonderfully creative stories about the history of Utah radio (we're making our reservations right now!). Although Doug wanted to continue the cafeteria discussion, John made a seamless transition back to his book, leaving listeners not at all confused about what this show was about (maybe his name should be John Tact-theway), and insuring that no more time be taken away from the potential goldmine in sales the book was sure to generate after appearing on ELEV (maybe his name should be John Greed-theway, or better yet, John Exploits other people's experiences to make money for himself-theway).

The book contains a series of stories about airplanes, which as Doug pointed out, means that only emasculated eunuchs won't like this book since every man he knows likes airplanes. It is published just in time for Father's Day, so make sure to get if for your dad (unless he's a eunuch). The banter between Doug and John was light and easy going, convincing Superfan that John truly is Doug's wingman! Listening to the program felt almost like watching Top Gun, except without the long kiss (unless you consider Doug's incessant pandering about the book the equivalent of a juicy wet one planted right on the hindquarters of Mr. Bytheway!).

The highlight of the show was Doug's still small testimony about watching the Blue Angels. For many people, attending and participating in religious services, providing food for the hungry and clothing for the naked, or prayer and meditation, are all avenues to having spiritual experiences. But for Doug, watching airplanes fly in formation and do ridiculous dives and barrel rolls qualifes as "an almost spiritual experience" (Having only seen the Blue Angels on a late night cable commercial, Superfan is skeptical, but not willing to publicly tell Doug that he is not Wright. Superfan is withholding judgement until he can see the Angels himself).

On a scale of 1 to 5, we rate the book a 5 (we're scared anything less would make us eunuchs), and the interview a 5 (0nly because of the frequency of Doug's personal stories/insights/etc.). And now for the question:

Did Doug read the book?

Superfan 1: No. I'm not sure if he's a eunuch or not.

Superfan 2: By the way Doug avoided any specifics from the book, I have to agree. I don't he think he read it. (look for the pun in my answer, people)