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3 friends offer 3 great books for the summertime

A question I am often asked is “when are you going to write a book?” The answer I give is “never.” I suppose if someone wanted to pull together some of my best articles, what could I say but “sure.” Otherwise, my life is good as it is.

I have three friends who have written books that couldn’t be more different. All provide good reading, especially if they land in the genre you’re looking for.

I wrote about two of the authors, Kieth Merrill and his cousin Marilyn Green Faulkner, back in 2011 (see "Merrill's 'The Evolution of Thomas Hall' a good read"). They have each come up with a new book entirely different from their first.

Kieth, always the imaginative artist, cartoonist and movie producer, has written his first book in a high fantasy saga that fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin will find appealing. It is told in a sweeping cinematic style and is titled “The Immortal Crown: Saga of Kings, Book 1” (Shadow Mountain, $26.99).

Just coming up with all the clever names, such as Drakkor, The Oracle of Oum’ilah and Ereon Qhuin, took some serious thinking and must have kept him up a few nights. I think readers of this genre will spend some sleepless nights reading his book.

Note to parents: A teenager with his or her nose in a good book is much better served than a teen playing video games all day.

Marilyn’s book, “The User-Friendly Book of Mormon” (Cedar Fort, $18.99, see, has a story. A friend told me about a guide to the Book of Mormon. I was leaving for a trip the next day, so I ran to the bookstore, grabbed a book without looking at the author, and went home to pack.

When I returned from the trip, my friend said, “Sherry, you got the wrong one.” I said, “No, I got the right one, and I loved it and you should go get it too.”

In her book, Marilyn gives us object lessons from a woman’s perspective that a man will enjoy as well. It can also be an introduction to someone wondering about the book.

I especially related to her take on the rather confusing story of the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. Marilyn makes it personal by comparing herself to an olive tree. She views her talents and accomplishments as her branches that the world sees. Her roots are her character and spiritual strength.

She says, “As LDS women, we want to live lives of service yet not be relegated to the status of a martyr. We want to use our gifts for good yet we don’t want to be deceived in our priorities. How do we find the right path?”

She admits to having mixed feelings about her role as she found herself feeling ashamed to admit to being just a homemaker yet ashamed to admit to being otherwise. She wanted it all.

The allegory gave her courage to embrace the time with her young family with faith that God had her back and would provide opportunities to “branch out” in the future.

In retrospect, Marilyn says, “Rather than selfishly pursuing my passions, I‘ve tried to bring passion to whatever I’ve been given to do, knowing that doing so would help my roots go down deep and allow the branches to blossom in God’s time.”

The third book is from Dr. Steven Dahl. If you’ve missed one of his other five books, start with his most recent, titled “The Onion Dome” (SDP Publishing, $17.95). It is an exciting adventure staged in Eastern Europe. Just when you think you know what will happen next, don’t count on it.

Steve was a successful obstetrics and gynecological doctor in the Phoenix area who always liked to write. His first mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was served in Germany and Italy, then years later, after retiring, he and his wife, Paula, went on medical missions to the North Pacific Islands and northern Europe. On returning to Gilbert, Steve served the North America Southwest Mission.

Because of his background, his books have lots of history and interesting medical situations along with adventurous surprises and insights into tricky life situations.

There’s no time like summer to sit, relax and enjoy a good book.