Favorites & Recommendations

Books by Friends

Waverly Garner (Mindbridge Press)

  • Dark Mind

L.P. Hoffman (Hope Springs Media)

  • The Canaan Creed
  • Shadow of the Piper
  • The Third Peril

J. Michael Utzinger (Mercer University Press)

  • Yet Saints Their Watch Are Keeping

Books by Others

A professor once explained to me that the true art of literature was what happened in the interaction between the text and the reader. These are a just a few of the books where I have encountered art:

  • Orson Scot Card, Ender’s Game
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
  • Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • Theodore Judson, Fitzpatrick’s War
  • Stephen R. Lawhead, The Pendragon Cycle (the first three books: Taliesin, Merlin, and Arthur)
  • C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven books)
  • Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear (eagerly awaiting the third book in the series)
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter (all seven books)
  • Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Neal Stephenson, Anathem
  • Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood
  • J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (all four books)
  • Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems


I like movies that entertain. The best cinematic offerings also inform, inspire, and instruct. Here is a list of ten movies I have watched over and over again. I never tire of them:

  • Camelot (1967)
  • Evita (1996)
  • Groundhog Day (1993)
  • Jesus Christ, Superstar (1973)
  • Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, and 2003; I think of these as one movie in three parts)
  • A Mighty Wind (2003)
  • Much Ado about Nothing (1993)
  • Phantom of the Opera (2004)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • Secondhand Lions (2003)


I prefer two kinds of music: instrumental and vocal. Instrumental music helps me sort out and organize emotions. Some of my favorite performers are David Arkenstone, Paul Cardall, Kevin Kern, Mehdi, Mannheim Steamroller, William Orbit, Secret Garden, Tingstad and Rumbel, and Yanni, along with numerous movie soundtracks. For vocal music, I like lyrics that spotlight a specific situation or demand that I think about an issue. Here are some examples:

  • The Ash Grove (trad. Welsh)
  • Blue Wing (Tom Russell)
  • The Boxer (Paul Simon)
  • Brooklyn Roads (Neil Diamond)
  • Burden of Freedom (Kris Kristofferson)
  • Come Away, Melinda (Fred Hellerman and Fran Minkoff)
  • Don Quixote (Gordon Lightfoot)
  • Four Strong Winds (Ian Tyson)
  • My Father’s Chair (David Meece)
  • U.S. Steel (Tom Russell)
  • When Was the War (Kagey Parrish and Linda Wortman)
  • Why Me (Kris Kristofferson)

Odds and Ends

A few of my other favorite things:

  • The smooth emerald curl on the back side of a breaking wave
  • A dark sky filled with stars and a splash of Milky Way
  • Hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Sunshine on my face and in my hair
  • The majesty of thunderstorms
  • The slapping clank of lines against a mast
  • Flowers, indiscriminately
  • Walking in the woods
  • Waltzing until the band calls it a night




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