Chris Hoke's Christmas picks

Two months ago my wife and I walked downtown to see Mr. Holmes, with Sir Ian McKellen playing an aging version of the science-conquers-superstition Sherlock Holmes. I found myself crying in the dark as McKellen’s trembling, frail Sherlock struggled in his final years to solve one final mystery: why a woman he almost loved took her own life.

Reggie Williams's Christmas picks

Kelly Brown Douglas is an accomplished scholar with a prophetic theological voice that speaks to Christians in the pews and the theological academy.

Thomas Lynch's Christmas picks

I recommend Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters (Norton), a selection of short stories about mostly hardscrabble, down-market women in southwestern lower Michigan. Campbell makes fiction look easy.

Terra Brockman's Christmas picks

My Christmas picks take you from the soil to the supper table. The essays in Dirt: A Love Story (ForeEdge Books) celebrate the mystery and meaning of soil. Artists, scientists, farmers, and writers take you from community gardens transforming the Bronx to the oldest soils in the world in Venezuela to the past and possible future of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl.