The Authors List

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Sorting is Fun

A Literary Sampler

Even More Highly Updated, Alphabetized and Tabled! Includes opinionated, reasonably inaccurate, unmistakeably misleading or exuberantly monotonous reviews of many authors and titles. In the package, you’ll find a long but incomplete list of authors who’ve crossed my path. Some are good, some abysmal. I haven’t commented on all, but those most notable (or not worth mentioning) should have something attached in the form of commendation or warning.

Edits on 1 December 2013: New Authors: Keller, Ripken. Updated Authors: Adams, Brown, Donaldson, Dahl, Calvin, Clancy, Clemens, Constantine, Herbert, King, Minsky, Pratchett, Rice, Socrates, Tolkien, Warren, Williams.

Use your ctrl-f function to search for names in the list.

Adams, Douglas (“Hitchhikers Guide”, Dirk Gently) The general interrelated mish-mash of all things is a concept to live by. Funny and sometimes very insightful dive into the intricacies of thought, not necessarily based on quality, rather quantity. This author reflects my own tendency to come to conclusions based on apparently random input.
Adams, Richard (Watership Down) More cute animals. I love this one too, just like Wind in the Willows. Saw the movie and got the book right afterward. Epic. (Shardik) was entirely off the subject of Watership Down, chronicling the evolution of an entire religion based on a bear of mythic proportions. Blood and terror in the guise of a few misguided choices, religious fervor and primitive superstition. Quite a mind-bender.
Aesop (Fabled to be great).
Alexander, Lloyd (The Black Cauldron) Another childhood memory that I frequently. It’s simple, but filled with plenty of Celtic mythology. Still as good as ever. I should read Westmark someday.
Andersen, Hans Christian (Shoes and such).
Anthony, Piers (Isle of Woman, Incarnations) His books are good studies of people and relationships. I really enjoyed “watching” the people in these books. The incarnations were definitely NOT representative of immortality in reality, but they were entertaining. I love science fiction for its insane culture and social studies. Get a bizarre situation and throw normal people into it, stir, enjoy.
Appleton, Victor (Tom Swift)This series is like the Hardy Boys, only for nerds. I will maintain my opinion of the excellence of these books to any who ask. Okay, I was too nerdy for “The Hardy Boys.” These books, series I, II and III were what got me hooked on reading. I would not read my half-a-million words per week were it not for Victor Appleton’s stories.
Aristotle (Smart Guy).
Asimov, Isaac (Sci-Fi, math, history, science) His research skills are awesome. His insight is opinionated. Historical opinion, especially on the Bible must be taken with a grain of salt (or hallucinatory stuff, depending on how picky you are). Asimov has been a good companion over the last years. His work, though not quite in line with my worldview as far as society goes, has many times brought me to think hard about interaction with others. Much of his ideas regarding humans as a race are, as with Heinlein, worth the effort of fitting into our own thoughts. The Foundation series, and his Guide to the Bible (not from a Christian point of view, mind you) are filled with knowledge and insight.
Aspirin, Robert (Sci-Fi) I have read all the Phule’s Company stories; a goofy collection of tales about a motley menagerie of misfits who conduct special military operations, led by their equally goofy genius commander who operates under the guise of a rich playboy. Truly cool, right in line with Pratchett and Piers Anthony. One step shy of Douglass Adams.
Bahnsen, Greg L. Postmil Theonomist. Read his Theonomy in Christian Ethics. Hard, repetitive, drowning in factoids. I remain convinced he was working too hard to prove what is still conjecture.
Baillie, John (Christian Devotion) Wonderful stuff, I need to read it again.
Baum, L. Frank (THE WIZ) I more delightful and whimsical set of books you’ll never find. All of them are fantastic, with nuggets of ingenious creativity throughout.
Bear, Greg (Darwin’s Children and Radio) Really entertaining. Definitely not believable (which I prefer for fiction).
Berg, Jim (“Changed into His Image” and “Created for His Glory”) I can only thank the Lord for this man’s work. Changed really did just as advertised. I read it twice and I’m different twice because. Conviction straight from the Bible. This resource is quite handy for drilling in basic piety, good practices and getting a decent perspective on how we should look as Christians.
Bonar, Horatius (Poetic Preaching) Fantastic work on the Christian life. His essays are immensely insightful and helpful. Highly recommended for sinners in need of a savior and Christians in need of a good, solid perspective of life and relationship with their God.
Bond, Michael (Paddington) Cute bear, ‘nough said.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (The Cost of Discipleship) Rocked my world in many ways. Showed me how carried away I can get and how vital my commitment is. This is a moving book that can shake jelly-fish Christianity. More people should benefit from this.
Bradbury, Ray (Farenheit) I’m hoping the world ends before this happens. It’s too easy to envision and too frightening and depressing to enjoy reading twice. I like the idea of brass pipes. Thought about making one someday to try it out (tobacco, fools).
Bradley, Marion Zimmer (Mists Of Avalon) Beautiful twist on Arthur and His Knights. I really enjoyed it. Epic books.
Brooks, Terry (fantasy) I read a few, long ago. Brooks just didn’t pull off epic, insightful, original or any of the other qualities I look for in fiction. I guess quantity is a mark of an author, but it’s not enough for me. The first Shannarah were interesting, but couldn’t keep my attention. His foray into the Star Wars franchise was about as awesome as the episodes for which he wrote (read: BLECH).
Brown, Dan (“The Davinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”) Made me want to travel to Europe and see all the old cathedrals and castles and such. He did a really good job of describing the setting. His ideas were junk, based on junk and really just suck, like junk. Here’s a tidbit about conspiracy theories: The more you ingest conspiracy, the more paranoid you become and the more your outlook becomes bleak and hopeless. Conspiracy breeds anti-Christ. It is too easy to lose sight of the truth, that there is a God, sovereign and real, who personally relates to man and really does run the show. If there is a conspiracy, it is that which is portrayed in the Bible. Creation, Fall, Redemption, Judgement.
Buckland, Raymond (Pagan) A big compendium of paganry. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Buffett, Jimmy (Parrots Normal Writers) I prefer the music but my Wife doesn’t, so the book is less offensive.
Bunyan, John Progressing. It’s an allegory, stiff and supposed to be inspirational. I sort of liked it, but when everything is forced into conformity with a set of facts, then set to melodramatic music, it sort of flops. The spiritual truths of the Christian life are best set to the majesty of Scripture itself. Who got it right? C.S. Lewis. But he wasn’t going for what Bunyan was in the first place.
Burnett, Frances Hodgson The Secret Garden. Yet another of those turn of the century (still almost 19th C.) novels that really get me. I loved the setting, the good capture of the time and place. And the theories of physiognomy that frequent these sorts of books.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice (Martian Chronicles) I picked these up because Heinlein mentioned them. No comparison, but I liked the Barsoomian jokes.
Calvin, John (Institutes Of The Christian Religion) Fantastic insight into what Christians believe, from apologetics to doctrine in general. Call this man one of the great theologians of history and you’re just barely giving him credit.
Card, Orson Scott (Fantasy) The first I read by Card is the first Alvin story, which I vaguely remember as being a good one. Ender’s Game is a must read, in my opinion, and I don’t think that’s just a rule for the sci-fi fanworld.
Carey, Jacquelin (Kushiel’s Chosen/Dart/Avatar) I haven’t read #4. This series toys with a lot of eroticism, but not in the sticky, pulpy way of romances and such garbage. I don’t think I will any time soon. Too far off my moral scale. A year ago I would’ve bent the spine, but I’ve changed. But it was good stuff. Some interesting religion and philosophy. Read for passionate scenes (by which I mean strong, intense, riveting, rather than erotic, though that is in there too).
Carroll, Lewis (Looking through Glass) Seriously, if your experience with Alice is via Disney or the mind of Tim Burton, you’re missing out. The flicks are great, don’t get me wrong, but the books go where none of the movies have gone before. Wonderful. And they are not to be confused with Oz stories. Where Baum is whimsical, Carroll is dark. Oz is quaint and peculiar, Wonderland is almost dark, surreal and freakish. But good.
Challies, Tim (The Discipline Of Spiritual Discernment.) Wonderful book filled with the truth about judgment, what Christians can do to determine the truth in any situation. Very practical, sound and easy to read. Debunks the “judge not” series of unbiblical ideas people have used to defend their personal pet sins as well as our tendency to avoid judging said pet sins in others.
Chaucer, Geoffrey (Canterbury’s finest).
Chesterton, G.K. (Orthodoxy) Really nice. Sometimes we might wish some of his ideas were true, but then we’re all pretty much humanists in one way or another so of course we’d relate. Chesterton starts from what man feels and sees rather than from what Scripture says, which is precisely the opposite of what we should do when engaging in discussions of the orthodox.
Cherryh, C.J. (Faded Sun Trilogy). A beautiful story about a “soldier gone native.” I loved every minute of it. This story is epic like Dune and rolls like Star Wars.
Clancy, Tom (Military Stories). Good, very good, with believable and fast-paced plots. I loved Jack Ryan’s intrepid, less-than-perfect roles in really big events. Worth reading.
Clarke, Arthur C. (SPACE).
Clemens, James (Wi’t’ch Chronicles) Fantasy, Nasty, Scary, Nightmarish, Not worth reading. Freaky stuff loosely sewn together by plot and more freaky stuff. It’s better than any movies I’ve seen for horror and grotesquerie. If you like surreal, dark and horrid imagery, these are books for you.
Clemens, Samuel (TOM and HUCK).
Collins, Suzanne (The Hunger Games) Normally, I should be ashamed to admit reading Teen Pulp. But this isn’t, really. It’s definitely reading for a younger crowd in language, but the plot and the characters, the meaning, definitely reach out to anyone who can read. Good stuff. Ray Bradbury would like it, I think. What sucks is that kids (and adults) have really taken to the characters, dressing and acting like both citizens and the main characters. This seriously makes me worry for the state of our society, that the stories are so attractive to people. Rather, Collins’ work should be awakening and somewhat repellent, because this stuff is only a few moves away on the game-board. She’s not far off from reality that could be.
Constantine, Storm (Wraiththu) Incredible. The sequel recently released was NOT up to standards. It’s almost a horror, definitely a sci-fi with a genetic mutation that represents true evolution and the exploration of what battles would truly ensue from introducing a “superior” version of human to the world. It’s almost a dystopian Mad Max sort of story, but without quite the dissolved culture and tech. Beautiful imagery, freaky sexual exploits. In three words: sensual, violent, epic.
Cooper, James Fenimore (Last of the Mohicans) The movie was better.
Creighton, Michael (Scientific Sci-fi).
Crowley, Alesdair (Pagan) Magical theory and rituals) Heavy philosophy and guidance. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Cunningham, Scott (Pagan) One of the most popular in the religion. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Dahl, Roald (Peachy & Chocolate). A truly absurd, hilarious but moral sort of read. Dahl is in touch while remaining wholly out of it with his obtuse means of reaching an audience with thought-provoking messages. Definitely read him.
Dante (Infernal).
De Cervantes, Miguel (Tilts) The Don was a miracle of genius and eccentricity. Certifiably nuts and yet sober as a man who has seen beyond the pale. This guy knew how to live and to carry on, and his companion was just the counterpoint to his song. I loved reading this book for the flashes of wisdom, hilarious episodes and disappointing displays of humanity. And the end was just like I like ‘em. Fade to cold, curtains.
Defoe, Daniel (Robinson Crusoe) I love these survival type stories. Funny that I’ve never seen Castaway (Tom Hanks). Swiss Family Robinson and tons of others found in authors like Louis L’Amour and Heinlein really get me going. This one was great, with a flowing story, filled with action and thinking. Worth a repeat.(Moll Flanders) I saw the movie and loved it. We still watch it from time to time, a movie on our old faithful list with Princess Bride and others like them. So I read the book. And it was great. A wonderful story. Filled with thought-provoking quandaries and sunny moments.
Dhar, Mainak Crazy Zombie Stuff. I wouldn’t normally pick this sort of thing up, but I stumbled upon Alice In Deadland and after a page I was hooked. Weird it was, but there was a running thread of philosophy on modern government and economies that always makes for good Sci-Fi. I enjoyed it. Except they killed the Hatter off.
Dickens, Charles (Wonderful) I heard a dramatized reading of A Christmas Carol on NPR, and it was good. A well used hour of my time. Dickens is great and the big and small should have him under their belt.
Donaldson, Stephen R. (Covenants) Almost on a level with LOTR, but anachronistic in language and VERY VERY VERY repetitive with words like “hellfire” and other fancy things. I love books that have the scope of vision that Donaldson, Tolkien and Herbert all have. After #6, His sequels sucked. Donaldson repeatedly deals harshly with themes of personal tragedy, crisis and misery. He touches on unbelief and inability-to-believe in a way that really shocks the reader. He has no problem revealing the dirty underbelly of humanity, from shunning to vicious abuse. He’s lurid and abysmally tortuous in a way that is not at all wasteful.
Doyle, Arthur Conan (Elementary) Sherlock is awesome and I love the Good Doctor for his steadfast faithfulness to his intense and quirky friend. I look forward to the surprise appearances of Sherlock’s brother too. “The Final Problem” may be my favorite. I love bittersweet endings when the last man standing has lost something so important that the clouds draw in and he shuffles home in a colder, more silent state than has been described in previous pages. And then I read The Lost World. What a diversion from Holmes. And it was right up there in quality and plot. I enjoyed this one immensely.
Dumas, Alexander (Musketeers).
Edwards, Jonathan Theologian of great popularity, with pen of an Angry God at his disposal. Revival, baby!
Eliot, George (The Lifted Veil) An interesting light read, with introspective themes about character and interaction between people. Unhappy, I think, might be a way to describe it. But I liked his descriptive efforts. What drew me in at first glance was the main character’s uncanny clairvoyance and the rough, almost sci-fi sort of nature of the book.
Farley, Walter (The Black Stallion) The movie was cool too. Scope again.
Farrar, J. and S. (Pagan). Popular basic Wicca. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Fitzpatrick, Elyse Christian Counselor and Author. She champions the cause of parenting with grace rather than law. Seeking to represent Christ’s gift of salvation as a centrality in a world swirling with laws and demands is a fresh approach to living. It’ll make you think twice about all those rules.
Foster, Alan Dean (Flick, Parallelites, Spellsinger) This guy has a huge repertoire. If you have a love for Sci-Fi, especially on screen, you’ve probably run into something of his. Check out his bibliography on Amazon. I haven’t scratched the surface of his work, but the ones I’ve read are decent hours wasted in the right way.
Frank, Anne (Diary) How can one knock such an amazing tale. One of the earliest reads I can remember from my childhood, and it’s still good stuff.
Gemmel, David (Okay Fantasy) Never mind, he sucks. I can’t defend the writing. Just because there’s a lot of books doesn’t mean it’s good. Not as good as Terry Brooks, but falls into the same category – Quantity Ain’t Substitute For Quality.
Gibran, Khalil (Poetry of my dreams) Beautiful imagery. I can barely imagine writing poetry as beautiful as his.
Gibson, William (TECH) Invented cyberspace. Neuromancer is phenomenal in its twisting, out-of-nowhere images and events. Gibson is freaky and night-mare dreamish, but entrancing. More movies should come out. Johhny Mnemonic was a bust. There is some fantastic poetry to Gibson’s writing that transcends common science fiction. The closest I’ve seen to approach him is Tad Williams’ Otherland books, but that only in imagery. Gibson turns a phrase into multi-dimensional goldmines. It’s not a “meat thing.”
God (Bible) Version? Currently ESV but I’m not horribly picky. Picky applies more to “study notes and other brand-name content that is included with various Bibles. I don’t consider the Positive Bible, Femme Lib, Gay, Affirmative Action or (insert special category here) to be the Bible. TR is fine, so is the AV, whatever. Quit arguing about the typeset and translation and check the message contained. Oh, and it’s NOT a fortune cookie. I was raised with the Bible, tried for the longest time to ignore it and finally found that it was useless without belief. Now it’s the first, most powerful reference in my life.
Goldman, William (Princess Bride) My all-time favorite movie and the book is great too. I wish there was a sequel.
Graham, Kenneth (The Wind In The Willows) I loved the old toon-films and audio books. I read and loved the stories and they bring back memories as real as if I’d lived them.
Greene, Robert (48 Laws) More like the conspiracy theory stuff. I am not interested in control. It’s scary. I certainly don’t want to do it like the 48 expect. Servanthood, not mastery, is the game and I have a hard enough time with that. See commentary on Dan Brown.
Grimm, Brothers (Faerie Tails).
Grisham, John (Legal stuff zzzzzz…) “The Testament” was decent, but I’m not going out of my way to chase down more of the Tom Clancy of Legal Fiction.
Haggard, H. R. (Allan Quatermain) “I Got It!” The original Indiana Jones, only out of Africa with tons of epic battles and some echoes of Sherlock Holmes tossed in. I love these books from the 19th Century. They are full of rich details and intricate descriptions.
Harrison, Harry (Bil the Galactic Hero, Stainless Steel Rat) Pure gunk. I love it. Standing wager among my friends about making it through the entire Bil series in one try. Now if you want something with meat, Harrison has that, too. One of my most favorite is “The Turing Option” which he wrote with Marvin Minsky. A really good tale with some pretty fantastic technological discussion.
Heinlein, Robert (THE MASTER of Sci-fi and social ideas) Yep, he’s a humanist. He’s not Christian, but his work is entertaining, informative, and one can do much worse. I don’t keep up with most Sci-fi any more, but I’ll stick with Bob. I have yet to discover useless writing from this source. Some of the most influential works include “Time Enough For Love,” “Starship Troopers, (NOT THE MOVIE! LEARN HOW TO READ!)” “Number Of The Beast,” and “Stranger…” Seriously, social studies (Government, Society, Human History) should include a strong dose of Heinlein.
Hemingway, Ernest Author, Journalist
Henry, Matthew (Commentary) Easy to understand break-down of the Bible. I use it regularly. Can’t claim to have read it all, but large chunks have been chewed.
Herbert, Frank (Dune) Scope. The sequels were not as good, but the Brit movie that came out a while back, was really cool. The original Dune movie was okay because of innovation, not much else. The original book is still up there at the top as a seminal Sci-Fi work. It encompasses all the criteria for truly great fiction. Can’t be a critic unless this book is in your list of reads. Herbert has an intriguing recipe of mysticism, action, politics, culture and technology that just drill right into you. It’s vaguely middle-eastern, but unique in many ways. Reading his books makes me think more carefully about the components and influences that authors bring to the table in their writing. Behind-the-scenes details really can make the stories live.
Herodotus Ancient Historian, dull and plodding, but what can we expect from a guy who set out to catalogue what was going on around the 400s BC? A good reference book.
Herriot, James (Veterinary stories) Beautiful stories of the old country. I loved the audio books. Just peaceful reading. Like Sherlock Holmes the Vet, sort of, only dark and stormy nights are more about getting out of the cold/wet, rather than catching the badguy.
Hesse, Herman (Siddhartha) Eastern religion. Not my cuppa any more, but it helped me get an A on my World Religion course this year. It’s still a worthy read. The human condition is so accessible from this sort of writing. Read it, digest it and look for what makes it so worthy.
Hickman, Tracy (Fantasy – Dragon Lance) From long ago. I read a LOT of Dungeons-&-Dragons themed pulp. The ones by Hickman were great. Easy, not much for depth, but still flowing story with little of the irritants that pulp writers will introduce (anachronisms, idiosyncrasies, poor literacy and other anomalous junk). You don’t have to be an amazing writer in my collection, just be good enough to tell the story and not biff it with bad grammar or irrelevancies.
Horton, Michael (The Christian Faith) This man has a lot of brains and they seem to work fairly well. He writes with depth at which I am consistently amazed. His systematic theology goes so far down the trails of connecting our relationship to God in light of covenant promises, His faithfulness and our inability to act that I think he drives to the Gospel on every page (and there are a LOT of pages). And that is about the thinnest shaving off the top regarding what is to be found in his Systematic Theology.
Hugo, Victor Les Miserables. Fantastic book. Detailed, passionate and FAR more intense than the movie or the play. But both performances do a great job of distilling and capturing the book. I almost want to complain about the author’s asides about Waterloo, religion and social commentary, but that stuff, too, is worth reading. This guy knew how to set the stage and draw the reader in.
Hyde, Daniel R. URC Pastor, Author. If you want a quick, easy look into Reformed beliefs (i.e. PCA, OPC, URC, Catechisms, Westminster and 3-forms of Unity) this is a good one.
Jordan, Robert (Fantasy) Blech. I decided I don’t like this stuff. Popularity doesn’t guarantee quality.
Keith, Harold (Rifles for Waitie) This was another book from my youth. I still have the copy I first read. Wonderful. My daughter has to do a book report on it.
Keller, Tim (The Meaning of Marriage) Fine study in Biblical description of marriage. Yet another failure to capture the “to-do” list of how to be a good husband or wife. I am quite certain that a direct, Biblical approach is where the answer is to be found regarding leading, following, trusting and building or restoring a marriage.
King, Stephen (Gunslinger) I don’t really like any other works in his horror collections. I enjoyed Green Mile and Shawshank as movies. I see King’s frontier as a complement or pairing with Gibson’s scenes with Wintermute in Neuromancer – desolate, lost and miserable searches for the unknown.
Kraig, Donald Michael (Magical Theory) Almost entirely ritual and magical application. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
L’Amour, Louis (Westerns) History in every one. So many authors are overlooked because of their type-casting. L’Amour is a master of historical fiction. Read “The Haunted Mesa” and “The Walking Drum” back to back and then write your reviews. My first memorable story was “Down The Long Hills,” force-fed to me in the fifth grade, I think. I loved it and soon my Uncle Wilbur began flooding me with titles in periodic packages. Definite essentials include “Flint,” “Last Of The Breed,” “Education Of A Wandering Man,” “Smoke From This Altar.”
Lahaye, Tim (Left Behind et all) Blech. Trying to force Daniel and Revelation from the Bible into a believable story is for God, not man. The characters sucked, the scenes were repetitive and predictable (no pun) and the bad guys were stupid like Cobra from G.I. Joe cartoons. Over-armored idiots. We all know evil people are not stupid, why hope they’re not?
Lloyd-Jones, Martyn Theologian of Doctor Descent
Lawhead, Stephen (Historical medieval) He’s pretty good. Sometimes drawn out and not always temporally accurate in his use of words. Endings can be cheesy, but overall gets an A- for his stories. The best is definitely his Pendragon Cycle, but the Song of Albion series was okay too.
Lewis, C.S. C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, Lion Witch Wardrobe, Space Trilogy) He’s had some critics in Christian circles about his use of allegory, but I take the simple stance that fantasy is Fantasy. Look beyond what you see. Oh, and the evil witch is just that… EVIL. Quit crying about witchcraft. Friend of Tolkien, and amazing thinker, Lewis has inspired me greatly. Mere Christianity is an eye-opener for those of us new to the Way, as well as anyone who hasn’t found Him yet. The Space Trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia are, simply… You’ve just gotta read ‘em yourself. Beautiful work, not in the immensity of Tolkien, but in a more direct fashion.
London, Jack Rough and flowing. Read The Road and The Call of the Wild. Both were really amazing. Totally different books from each other, they were both very much London’s work. Beautiful, in the case of COTW and starkly bright in The Road. Worthwhile.
Lovecraft, H. P. (Cyclopean Unnameable Depths of Indescribable Ten Foot Cone-People) The current “cult of Cthulhu is sort of a severely cherry-picked bit of Lovecraft’s broad scope of work. There’s a lot more than just Cthulhu in about 100 of his books. He’s definitely classifiable as weird as well as fitting into sci-fi, grotesque, gothic and horror genres. His vocabulary is rather limited as far as his ability to describe goes. Words are so recycled in his books that one can pretty much, after a few stories, predict which term is coming up next. In case of doubt, you can just insert cyclopean or blasphemous. If you need to guess what happens to any given character in any given story, a good guess would be that he faints somewhere along the line. In all, Lovecraft is an interesting read. More than once? Nope. Not on my repeat shelf.
Lowry, Lois (Gathering Blue) I still don’t get why this sort of work is on banned book lists.
Lucado, Max (Beautiful) Watered down but still moving. I prefer hard-hitting doctrine to mushy-poetic motivational-preaching. If you’re going to hit me with God’s Word, it had better pack the PUNCH of God’s Word. Catholics and Baptists can have peaceable lunch together over this stuff.
Luther, Martin (Galatians Commentary and Concerning Christian Liberty) Powerful doctrine of the church, the minister, Christian living and much more. A most valuable read.
Machen, J. Gresham (Christianity And Liberalism) A great read that illuminates very well all sorts of troubles with the Church of Christ in today’s society just as much as when it was written. Cross-read with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and John Calvin’s Institutes.
Machiavelli, Niccolo (The Prince).
Mack, Wayne A. Biblical Counselor and Author
Mallory, Thomas (Le Morte D’ Arthur).
Marrs, Jim (Conspiracy junk) Falls under, maybe even below the magic stuff. This material causes serious psychological problems, undermines authority, deletes files pertaining to respect of people or organizations and in general plays havoc with society. See notes on Dan Brown.
Martel, Yann (The Life Of PI) What a weird book. It was definitely what I’d call a “summer read.” Throw away when finished. I enjoyed it, but can’t figure out what specifically made the book enjoyable.
Mathison, Keith (Given For You) An argument for the Reformed view and observance of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. Mathison supports a “classical Calvin” viewpoint. I think this book is great information and filled with really valuable contributions to the Christian’s understanding of the Supper. He’s good on defending that it’s essential to observe the Supper. I’m better educated from reading this book. At first, I took this work as a one-way argument for too much exclusivity over how the supper is observed. With further thought and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that there really is a right way and that improper views, though they do not exclude God’s means of grace, should be seriously approached, criticized when necessary and, as with all doctrine, be exposed for the church to continue progressing toward true Christian practice.
McCaffrey, Anne Anne McCaffrey (Dragons) NOT on the same plane as Rawn. But they share the same cover artist, Michael Whelan, who gives them fair standing together.
McCoy, Edain Edain McCoy (Pagan Fluff) Celtic tribal stuff. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Miller, Calvin Calvin Miller (The Singer Trilogy) Beautiful poetic rendition of the New Testament. Allegory, hard to read for me, but pretty.
Millman, Dan Dan Millman (Oriental Philosophy) This guy captured a LOT of what we could be in terms of physical living and how we view things. Zen isn’t the way to go, but finding joy in details and service is a skill to be developed and a gift to be coveted.
Milne, A.A. (Pooh).
Minsky, Marvin (Sci-Fi) Turing Option was a great story about AI. True Sci-Fi explores the implications of a new situation, usually based on the arrival of a new technology. This book is decidedly just that. And it tests the heart of relationships and commitment. As superficial as fiction can be, Sci-Fi like this really digs a little deep sometimes.
Montgomery, Lucy Maud (All about Anne) I have a thing for redheads. I have a thing for the old days, which I never experienced). Watching someone grow up has always been a fascination for me.
Murray, Andrew (Holy In Christ, Lord Teach Us To Pray) Dutch Reformed Pastor and missionary who wrote a few short books contemplating a number of subjects in the Christian arena. Very down to earth with practical words. Worth the read.
Musashi (5 Rings) Complement to Sun Tzu. Eastern religion and philosophy are very attractive. But they’re not in my book of recommendations. They deny the truth (easy, too, since they’re mostly about denial). The principles as applied to warfare are valuable, but people who read them for insight on running businesses or as guidance in life really should look a little less east.
Orwell, George (1984) Utopia finds us in Dystopia really quick. I really enjoyed how it started to smell bad pretty quick, but Orwell held back well enough that nobody could guess how horribly wrong the world had gone until the end. So sad. What a waste. An artistic tug-of-war with despair and hope threads through the book and you really feel it. I’d read it again.(Animal Farm) About how we got there from here. A hilarious misery of the people voting themselves bread and circuses which inevitably resulted in the self-licking ice-cream cone that is the ruling class, those people who own it all whether we like to admit it or not. Note: I’ve always wanted to use those two little terms together in a sentence.
Owen, John Puritan, Preacher, Theologian
Patchett, Anne (Bel Canto) An engaging story about a hostage situation in South America, involving a rather diverse group of people. Romance emerges from the terror and insanity of the story. Tragedy, engrossing, weird.
Peretti, Frank (Piercing writer) I don’t like his stuff. It’s not cool. Very overdone Christian thriller.” Spiritual warfare forced to reality, much like the Left-Behind series was Revelation forced to reality. Things spiritual should stay there.
Phillips, Dan (World-Tilting Gospel) A prolific blogger who put out some excellent writing in 2010-2011. I read WTG in a couple of days and can’t really find anything worth griping about, except maybe it was too short. DJP is a witty but devoted theological writer with a keen grasp of Christian doctrine, making an edifying yet entertaining read – excellent for new Christians or as a gift for someone you’d like to share the Faith with. I want his Proverbs book next.
Piper, John (Don’t Waste Your Life, Think) Charismatic Semi-CalvinisticPreacher of Great Fame who has a lot of insight and encouragement from a just-plain-soap-box sort of stance. He puts passion into his work.
Plato Plato (Philosophical).
Poe, Edgar Alan Edgar Alan Poe (Pendulous Pen) I can’t say I liked reading Poe. The phenomenon I could call Shakespearablah applies (almost every book I was required to read in grade school ended up on my most hated list).
Pratchett, Terry Terry Pratchett (Funny Fantasy) Pretty much Douglass Adams in Fantasy. I love the stuff. Parody of just about every political or social situation around. His Tiffany Aching stories are some of the best I’ve read ever. Really. Pratchett can turn words so well that in one page the reader goes from helpless giggling to hollow-hearted wistfulness. Amazing how he can be so ridiculous and moving at the same time.
Rand, Ayn (Atlas Shrugged etc.) Very selfish philosophy. She portrays so much that’s just on the verge of being right (such as “all men are NOT created equal” and “minorities are NOT victims”), but humanism is still corrupt, noble as we might think it is. I still enjoyed the good guys’ victory, and she makes badguys very unlikable. She had a frighteningly good understanding of relativistic reasoning and passive-aggressive villainy.
Ravenwolf, Silver (Pagan) Example of pluralism at its worst. Anything is okay. Christian witches, all sorts of stuff. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Rawn, Melanie (Dragon Prince) Still my all-time favorite series. Competes with LOTR. I LOVE her imagery, detail, passion and everything. This is one of the stories I read at least once every two years. Soundtrack is the score from Last of the Mohicans. An alternative story, just as good though not the epic long, built-up joy of Dragons is the Golden Key (written with Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott), a fascinating new twist in fantasy that definitely makes for good times.
Rice, Anne (Vampires, dead people) Beautiful imagery and some deep thought circling deity and religion, powerful enough to make you think. Rice is queen of sensual, emotional imagery. She can tweak the conscience or stir the belly with color and vibrancy that leaps off the pages. And it’s good Sci-Fi, too, studying the affect of immortality and god-like powers on both regular people and the fantasy creatures themselves. It’s worth the read. Especially Memnoch the Devil, but you have to read the previous books in the series first.
Ripken, Nik (The Insanity of God) One heckova story about a guy who went straight to missionary heaven (or hell, depending on your perspective). It’s essentially the journal of a man who did trips in Africa and Asia. I found it entertaining, somewhat inspirational, but more a Christianized Quatermain story. I was repeatedly turned off by “God spoke to me” and mysteriously prescient encounters. Too much Holy Spirit Mysticism for my taste. The inspiration in this book is in doing rather than believing. Hearing God “speak” is not so trustworthy as many authors would have us believe. God speaks in His Word, not in our minds and ears, nor in visions and spectacular events. Overall, I still liked it – a moving tale with a valid argument for missions work.
Roberson, Jennifer (Cheysuli) Writes Books, fantasy, yay. Not. I couldn’t get into her with exception of that which Melanie Rawn mentions above.
Robinson, John J. (Freemasonry) Historical stuff intrigues me and this guy seems to have done good footwork. Problem is I lost interest in the topic. Oh well. Might come in useful someday, but I ditched my copy.
Robinson, Spider (Heinlein’s Twin) almost, especially now that he’s co-authored one with the Master.
Ryle, J.C. (So You Think You’re Converted) A worthy read that begs the Christian to double up on all those things that brought him to Christ. It is well constructed to intensify the desire to flesh out the convictions and challenge the comfort levels of any Christian life.
Salvatore, R.A. (Fantasy and Star Wars) His Dark Elf and Icewind Dale stories were like the meat & potatoes of pulp fantasy. Gamers eat this stuff up, and Salvatore did a better job than most of his contemporaries.
Seuss, Dr. (Green Eggs etc…) Great Guy, reminds me of my brother. Actually, if Seuss were younger, it’d be a short stretch to convince me that he was my brother.
Shakespeare Shakespeare (Dead).
Shatner, William (HORRIBLE WRITER) Fair starship captain. He’s found his niche in commercials. You want the best of Shatner? Look no further: Rocket Man is it.
Shelley, Mary (Frankly Scary) Falls in with Poe under Shakespoopie
Smith, E.E. (Lensman) LONG-winded and hard to read. Maybe I’m too young.
Socrates (Dusty thinking) Philosophy is at odds with Christianity, but being able to argue, think, speak and comprehend are advantageous. I’ve recently begun to rethink my position on philosophy, wondering if it’s truly at odds with Christianity or simply another right-thinking system that is misguided by human self-interest. God gave us brains and means to think with them. We observe and come to conclusions that really are sensible. Often, our reaction to our conclusions is what is telling, not necessarily the facts or truths leading up to compiled observations. The jury is still out in this court.
Sproul, R.C. (Holiness of God) and Much more. This man has done a ton of writing over his lifetime and has probably benefited more people than he can count. I’ve read and studied through his Holiness of God a couple of times and it never ceases to draw me into new considerations of how vast the glory and awe of God can be for us little people.
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (All of Grace and more) This man’s testimony to the Faith is incredible. If more of us could be like him…
Starhawk (Pagan) Another very popular author. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Stevenson, Robert Louis (Treasured).
Strobel, Lee (The Case For Christ) His associations may not be to my liking, but this book played a very powerful part in my salvation. My problems with God were dealt with directly by Strobel’s work in the book.
Sun Tzu (Art of War) See note on Five Rings.
Tchividjian, Tullian (Glorious Ruin) In line with Give Them Grace, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tchividjian is writing to give Christians grace, hope, Gospel, grace and more hope. He looks at our miserable conditions and, unlike most Christian help-literature, does not toss our sorrows and losses aside as if we can overcome them. Nor does he slam the door on us with a pat “God is all-powerful” sort of platitude. He points sinners to God’s means of grace that carry us when we’re too broken to walk, too lost to see straight. Massive recommendation from me to anyone whether or not they have experienced “glorious ruin” in their own lives.
Thiessen, Henry (Lectures in Systematic Theology) I’m working on Hodge and Horton now. Both are really hard work.
Thoreau, Henry David (Walking) What an appropriate name for this book. Rambling on, starting with a walk and ranging to a discussion of life, humanity, the universe and about everything in between. Pretty engaging. (Walden) Better and more deliberate than Walking, I think. Really nice. Lots to think on. I don’t think HDT had much love for people, overall.
Thorsson, Edred (Runes) One more book on a magical system. Oracle or fortune telling, some religion too. I no longer recommend this or other new-agery. Rhymes with sewagery.
Tolkien, J.R.R. (LOTR and all else) He’s had the same attacks as Lewis, but I don’t get why. He didn’t claim Gospel content. He wrote a Beautiful story that defined fantasy, showed depths of depravity and heights of awesomeness rarely seen in fiction today. The movies were nearly as good. Put the imagination in me. I think Tolkien could be the seed of my love for languages and, to my discredit in many cases, magic. Tolkien didn’t preach Gospel. He wrote a very Catholic story of endurance and merited faith and intervening, nearly conveniently coincidental graces. It was still good, and valuable, just don’t look for Lewis’ redemption story in there.
Tozer, A. W. (The Pursuit Of God, The Attributes of God) An authoritative writer on Christian ideas. He put out a LOT. So much that his posthumous publication alone is a substantial library. Worth reading.
Torrey, R.A. (The Fundamentals) Motivating and convicting. A collection of some of the most thoughtful articles on what is important to Christianity today. More Christians should read them. They’re free, too.
Trevallion (Shibumi) Another Eastern Philosophy story but with some serious cool assassin stuff. I loved the garden and the peaceful scenes. Never heard of the Basque either, until this book. The hero could take out an opponent with a pen or a playing-card, even a coin. Very cool. Also, this book presents the first recorded “Volvo-Bashing” tournament in all history, including a very thorough reasoning for the event and how it is carried out.
Tripp, Paul David Christian Counselor and Author
Vonnegut, Kurt (2BR02B) Admitted, I can’t do a fair review having only read this short (SHORT) story. 2BR02B is just a dystopian quick-sketch of a perfect world with perfect means of maintaining said perfection. Perfection likely being less than attractive to readers (and one of the characters).
Verne, Jules (All Wet) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is almost a catalog of aquatic life forms. Almost. It’s frequently broken up by interludes of action, suspense and a good bit of speculative technology discussions. Good stuff. More recently, “The Mysterious Island” captured my interest. There is a sequel to 20,000 Leagues! And it’s good. Very intriguing and not a dull moment.
Warren, Rick (Purpose Driven Drivel) His work was poopy. I didn’t like the abuse of text from the Word. I am not a member of a corporation and my purpose is NOT to get along in society, though I would love to do so. How to read a Christian book in one simple sentence: Ask what the gospel is to the author and where it is found in the book.
Weiss, Margaret (See Tracy Hickman. Pulp).
Welch, Ed CCEF Counselor and Writer
Wells, Orson (World War).
Westminster Divines (Catechetically Correct) Seriously – these are a very thorough distillation of Christian doctrine. It’s an expression of generally orthodox beliefs that have stood the test of time in the Church of Christ. That they are all entirely subscribe-able for all Christians is doubtful, but they are so worth studying, that it would be a disservice to any Christian tradition to miss them.
White, E.B. (Trumpet of the Swan) This book really affected me; being one of the earliest I can remember reading. I wanted to Be the boy. I wanted to go to the warm springs in Montanabanana., (Web of the Spider) Not so much as the Swan thing, but still a good read. I think the pig needed to be roasted, but not until right after the book ended, which might well have happened. “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”
Wilde, Oscar (Photogenic) Sadly, it took a movie “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” to find out about this book. And it was worth the time. Good, tragic. Can’t say much bad about it
Williams, Tad (Otherland) Scope. Complex. Engrossing. Mastery of including just about every genre in writing. I loved it. The soundtrack is Deep Forest Comparsa. There’s a real theme of what immortality is worth to those who seek it, as well as a multi-faceted study of power, how it is gained, its manifestations and how it is wielded. Fantastic work. This story is a terrific exploration of a multitude of characters with very different hang-ups and quirks. Williams does a great job of teasing out cultural interaction. Put an aborigine, South-African black woman, Hispanic gangster teen, a white gamer kid with an incurable and lethal disease, a blind Frenchwoman, drunken Zulu descendant, and a dozen other unique oddities into a team and what do you get? Good Sci-Fi!
Wolverton, Dave (On My Way To Paradise) Still a favorite of mine, shocking, thought provoking and on a level similar to Gibson in it’s dreamy sort of style. If I could draw a line of comparison, this great story is sort of a cross between Neuromancer and Ender’s Game. And it works.
Wurts, Janny (Master of Whitestorm) Just plain classic stuff. Great story, great idea, well done. Surprising even when predictable. Love how Wurts keeps the suspense up concerning the background and motivation of Korendir, the hero of the story.
Wyss, Johann David (Swiss Family) Survival, invention, solitude, adventure. All you could ask for in a L’Amour but Disney made a movie about it. Interesting how the general 1800s survival sort of story seemed to arrive on the scene. Mysterious Island, Swiss Family, pirate-story type adventures all popped up in the vicinity of that century.
Zahn, Timothy (Star Wars, the morning after) I am a Star Wars fan. Of the original form that excludes JarJar, Teen Romance and other retarded filth that should never have perverted the minds of Lucas or the actors from whom I would have expected far more (Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson). Yoda and Vader are-were rolling in their graves to this day, though the movies are already three years old. Anyway, rant over, Zahn did a masterful job of writing what I think are three novels so good that they must be considered the only acceptable possible candidates for Episodes 7-9. That good.

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