For Love of the Written Word, Celebrating Book Lovers Day

It should come as no surprise that we love a good story around here. Of course, these adventures usually are brought to life on the fine stages of The Smith Center instead of paper pages. However, today, Aug. 9, is just the day to find a cozy corner and settle in with your favorite tale as it is Book Lover’s Day. Below, Spotlight talks to The Smith Center artists and staff about the works that they most cherish.

My favorite book is a book that was originally titled “Coming Attractions,” it then was republished under the title “Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man.” It’s by Fannie Flagg, and it is hilarious. I discovered it when it first was published in the early 1980s and I have read it at least a dozen times. I even read it aloud with friends at gatherings. It’s so funny. I love the book because it reminded me to keep my humor, even when times were tough and lean. It doesn’t cost anything to laugh and Fannie Flagg has a way with words that I, as a southerner, really understand and find most amusing.


The title may sound like a downer, but for me, James Agee’s “A Death in the Family” is a celebration of living. Agee’s name is not generally recognized anymore, but he won the Pulitzer Prize for this book, and his beautiful writing deserves to be rediscovered. I have a fondness for the way he so sensitively recreates the southern lifestyle that was part of my own boyhood. His vivid prose is always very musical. In fact, the prologue (Knoxville: Summer of 1915) was set to music by the great American composer, Samuel Barber.


I am a fan of any Mozart bio. I’m fascinated by Mozart and I love reading all the different bios and seeing the different interpretations of each author to try to sum up my own version. 


I like Carlos Castaneda’s books – all of them. Right now, I am reading “A Separate Reality.” I like his work because it’s always an abstract story that relates to today. It is timeless. I have several of Castaneda’s books. I can pick up any of them at any time and find a passage that relates directly to my life.

I also like Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.” I like it because I like what he is saying in the book. It gives me hope.


I have several favorite children’s books, but my all-time very favorite book to give as a gift to someone who is feeling a bit down is “Children’s Letters to God” by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall. The pure unfiltered thoughts and questions of children will fill your heart with joy. Share this book today with some who needs a bit of cheer.  


Reading is one of my most beloved past times. When I was young, instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I would read the latest edition of “The Baby-Sitters Club.” To this day, I still love fiction. One favorite is “The Kite Runner,” a heart-wrenching story of guilt and redemption that was highlighted by Khaled Hosseini’s detailed description of Kabul, a place I’ve never visited but could easily envision with his beautiful prose.

  • Sara Gorgon, associate director of public relations and communications at The Smith Center






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