While virtual learning provides a myriad of obstacles, one thing we have been particularly missing here at #bsuenglish is our faculty-student connections. In attempt to strength the bonds between our students and their professors, we present Faculty Favorites! Here, our College of Sciences and Humanities professors will be sharing everything and anything that they’ve been loving lately. 

English Department Playlist

You read that right! We here at #bsuenglish have our own departmental Spotify playlist, currently curated by our Department Chair, Pat Collier.

Enjoy these jams as you write, read, and study!





Michael Begnal, Assistant Teaching Professor of English


  • The Edge of Necessary: An Anthology of Welsh Innovative Poetry 1966-2018 (ed. John Goodby)
  • From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • Noise/Music: A History, Paul Hegarty
  • Milkman, Anna Burns


  • Fun House, The Stooges
  • On the Corner, Miles Davis
  • Tago Mago, Can
  • Self-titled 1st LP, Funkadelic
  • Self-titled 1st LP, Betty Davis

Watching: Deutschland 83/86 (TV); Midsommar (film); Mets baseball
Joys: Keeping on writing
Message to students: Hang in there, be safe, wear a mask, it’s a collective effort.


Amy Bosworth, Assistant Teaching Professor of History


  • The Marcus Didius Falco series, Lindsey Davis (mysteries set in Ancient Rome)
  • The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, Jodi Taylor (historians from the not-so-distant future travel back in time to experience the past as it happens –   drama ensues)
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (a re-telling of the Trojan War through the eyes of women)

Listening: a lot of podcasts – “How Did This Get Made” and “We Hate Movies” (both review “bad” movies); “You’re Dead to Me” (history podcast with a comical bent)

Eating: olive oil cake, cuban black beans, potato and cheese taquitos, anything else with cheese, and cooking bbq short ribs (for the non-vegetarians in the house!)

Joys: crafts, LEGO, puzzles, walking Max (the dog) in the woods


Sarah Drake Brown, Associate Teaching Professor of History


  • All the Days Past, All the Days to Come, Mildred D. Taylor (I read her first book about the Logan family in 5th grade and I’ve read all the others, so I had to finish)
  • The New Yorker (I start with the cartoons and look at them back to front – always – then I actually read)
  • The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson
  • I need another Maisie Dobbs book. I love that series.


  • Norah Jones’ new CD
  • St. Paul and the Broken Bones
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band (but I can never connect a song with the artist; I’m always like, “Who sings this? Oh yeah, I like them.”)

Eating: Whatever someone else makes for me


Suban Nur Cooley, Assistant Teaching Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies


  • The Blue Clerk, Dionne Brand
  • What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, Damon Young
  • The Crunk Feminist Collection, Cooper, Morris, Boylorn
  • There There, Tommy Orange
  • Salvage The Bones, Jesmyn Ward
  • The Hate Race,  Maxine Beneba Clarke

Eating: Thai coconut soup, I can’t stop eating these dark choc almonds.

Listening: Summer Vibes, This is John Coltrane (for work),  On Things We Left Behind (podcast).

Watching: Marcella, all of the cooking/baking shows (Street Food, Chef’s Table BBQ, Zumbo’s Just Desserts) All on Netflix.

Spooky Season Movies 

  • Death Becomes Her
  • The Craft
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Witches of Eastwick
  • Practical Magic

Digital Joys: Elsa Majimbo’s hilarious Instagram account, heeeeeeeey.com, Gizoogle, and VERZUZ BATTLES

IRL Joys: My family, walks, funny audio/video and GIFs in student discussion posts.

Message to students: There’s a LOT going on in 2020. A lot. Remember that we’re in this together, and we’re here for you. Talk to us when you need to!


Rani Deighe Crowe, Assistant Teaching Professor of English

Eating: Couscous, Jeni’s ice cream


  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Rage, Carol Anderson
  • Heavy, Roxane Gay
  • Code Girls, Liza Mundy


  • Girlfriends on Netflix
  • Never Have I Ever on Netflix
  • Pose on Netflix
  • Broadchurch
  • The Office
  • The Farewell (Amazon Prime)
  • 37 Seconds on Netflix

IRL Joys: my animals, sparkling wine with elderflower syrup, listening to the classical station and NPR news, working with actors to make short films and monologues

Digital Joys


Nicole Etcheson, Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History

Baking: an almond cake with raspberry jam and ricotta cream filling and a rhubarb pie.


  • Cane, Jean Toomer
  • The Civil War Letters of William T. Sherman
  • Piles of magazines: The Economist, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker

Watching: STAR TREK: Deep Space Nine. Not as good as the original series, but none of the sequels are.



Max Felker-Kantor, Assistant Professor of History

Reading: Prison by Any Other Name, Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law (a new book thinking about prison reform and the need to think beyond current popular reforms).

Eating: Coffee


  • RTJ4, Run the Jewels
  • Whatever new artists come up on NPR’s New Music Friday podcast
  • Nice White Parents (Podcast)
  • You’re Wrong About (Podcast)
  • Throughline (Podcast)

Watching: NBA playoffs mostly!

Joys: Hanging out with our dog Dudley, who has really taken to online learning.



Nidia Flis, Associate Lecturer of Spanish

Music: Eclectic. I like a little bit of everything


  • Community
  • Enola Holmes
  • Arrested Development
  • Black Mirror
  • One-Punch Man
  • The Office


  • Some books of the Bible
  • A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Big fan of articles related to teaching

Joys: Love TEDTalk lectures

Message to students: Remember that this pandemic is temporary. Stay close to family and friends even if it’s virtually. Zoom has helped me do that. It’s helped me to reconnect with old friends, be part of an amazing book club, talk to my family, watch movies with friends, take dance lessons, teach some of my classes, workout with my lovely nephews, and so forth. I’m also planning things I’d love to do when things are back to normal. They will be. It’s just a matter of time.


Silas Hansen, Assistant Professor of English & Director of Creative Writing


Listening: I’ve been doing podcasts, mostly, which feels like I’m listening to my super smart friends have great conversations. My current favorites include…

  • You’re Wrong About
  • Noble Blood
  • Dolly Parton’s America
  • Reply All
  • Why are dads?

Also, thanks to Dolly Parton’s America, I’ve embraced my love of Dolly and more broadly of country and bluegrass.


  • I fell in love with Schitt’s Creek early in quarantine and it’s helped me to feel more optimistic about the world.
  • I’m also trying to branch out and watch more movies–I discovered my love of Christopher Guest this summer (in part because I needed to watch everything that Eugene Levy & Catherine O’Hara have done after seeing them in Schitt’s Creek).
  • Also, 9 to 5, Clue, and Mean Girls never fail to cheer me up.

Reading: This semester, we’re reading Heavy by Kiese Laymon, The Girls in My Town by Angela Morales, Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, and Midwestern Strange by B.J. Hollars in my advanced CNF class–highly recommend all four. Eula Biss also has a new book out, Having and Being Had–can’t wait to read, as she’s one of my favorites.

IRL Joys: Outdoor time with friends from a 6-foot distance. I’ve gotten really into playing croquet with my friends (easier to stay six feet apart than euchre!) and my fire pit. Also, as always, my cat.


Matthew Hartman, Teaching Professor of English

Eating: So many tomatoes

Currently Reading: The Idiot, Elif Batuman

Read this summer: The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe; The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

Listening: Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated Side B (don’t judge me!); Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud


  • Modern Love
  • Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
  • The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)


  • Knives Out
  • Parasite
  • Moonstruck (always good)

The Internet: Not sparking much joy right now. Avoiding when possible. (Narrator: It’s not possible).

IRL joys: running, taking walks, phone calls with family 

Stephen Hessel,
 Associate Professor of Spanish

Recipe: Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta


  • Spotify Playlist: This is Sigur Rós (perfect for getting work done)
  • Conan Needs a Friend
  • Armchair Expert
  • Critical Role Podcast
  • FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast
  • Radio Ambulante

Watching: Cobra Kai (guilty pleasure), Community, Street Food Latin America


  • 2666, Roberto Bolaño
  • How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh

Joy: Playing Dungeons and Dragons 5e on Roll20


Emily Suzanne Johnson, Assistant Professor of History


  • Bunny, Mona Awad (a creepy, funny, magical novel about a woman in an MFA program)
  • The Chief Inspector Gamache series, Louise Penny (cozy murder mysteries in rural Quebec)
  •  If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin (a classic novel that feels like it was written yesterday)

Baking: All of the recipes in American Cake by Anne Byrn, in chronological order. 12 down, 113 to go!


  • Lots of Neko Case
  • Arcade Fire
  • You’re Wrong About (Podcast)
  • We Hate Movies (Podcast)

Watching: Schitt’s Creek and Season 2 of Fargo

Eating: Crackers and cheese and cold brew (those were Teddy Roosevelt’s “three c’s,” right?)


Darolyn “Lyn” Jones, Assistant Teaching Professor of English and an African American Studies Affiliate


  • Fresh veggies from my garden turned into a new salad daily, fresh seafood that I love to prepare in my air fryer, herbalicious and light pastas with herbs from my garden, and lots of chicken, beef, and pork on my grill. 
  • I LOVE to cook and create. My indoor and outdoor kitchens are my happy spaces.

Listening: I have been listening to Dolly Parton, the Carter Sisters, Johnny Cash, Black Panther musical score (amazing!), and lots of 90’s music on Youtube on my tv while I food prep and cook.


  • Waiting for new episodes of Grace and Frankie, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Crown
  • Daily dose of CNN, Lakefront Bargain Hunt on HGTV, and Log Cabin Living on HGTV. I own a cabin on a lake that we will start renovating next year so I’m looking for ideas.
  • Any cooking show- I love The Kitchen, Girl Meets Farm, Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, Supermarket Stakeout, and Valerie’s Home Cooking
  • Because football season has started, my husband I will rewatch our very large collection of football movies— I own over 20! Marshall is my favorite!


  • Reading all of the wonderful and new collections of YA Black Lit —just finished Draper’s Blended, am currently reading Hoose’s Indiana Author Award YA nonfiction winner Attucks! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City
  • I’m reading the latest and my favorite edition of Creative Nonfiction on memoir and of course, getting through several monthly journals I receive.

Writing: I am revising two articles that were accepted for publication- a case study on counter narrative and a duoethnography in disability studies. And I’m revising the 4th edition of my education book. Sadly, I typically take on a writing project every semester, but because teaching online is more work, I won’t be doing that this summer. 

Digital Joys: Recipe hunting online – I follow several Food Network blogs, a few Paleo blogs, my friend Terry’s write up’s with Indianapolis Monthly, and shopping online! 

 IRL Joys:  Sitting down for dinner and conversation daily with my husband, reading my son’s favorite stories and watching him smile, weight lifting, daily walks, and again—coming up with new recipes and cooking! 

Message to Students: Stay the course. Finish the semester strong. Stay in school and work through this difficult time; Ball State needs you. We, in the English department, need you and want you to succeed. And the world needs your thinking and contributions.  Reach out for help- it’s there for you.  We are here for you.


Kathryn Ludwig, Assistant Teaching Professor of English


  • As my oldest son dives deep into 90s grunge, I’ve been revisiting some of my faves from high school days, including Wilco, Paul Westerberg and Tori Amos.
  • Also loving “Out of the Game” by Rufus Wainwright (the music video has Helena Bonham-Carter as a librarian)
  • “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
  • Most songs on XM radio’s First Wave channel
  • I love audiobooks for leisure reads and that includes all the things by Neil Gaiman (he reads his own books) and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (shout out to Mary Clark-Flynn for getting me into this series).


  • Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson
  • Normal People, Sally Rooney
  • The Book of Salt, Monique Truong
  • The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch
  • The Power, Naomi Alderman
  • Also recommend What is Not Yours is Not Yours, Helen Oyeyemi (I recommend this book a lot).


  •  Jane the Virgin
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Never Have I Ever
  • The Good Place
  • Great British Baking Show (for the illusion of a tranquil existence).


Kevin Smith, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Humanities


  • Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, Sheryll Cashin. Contextualizes the Loving v. Virginia case within the history of interracial intimacy and law.
  • Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It, Larrie D. Ferreiro. Emphasizes the dependence of American independence upon foreign aid (money, munitions, ships, and men)
  •  The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, Jemar Tisby. Current best-seller discusses the sobering history of American Christianity’s interaction with white supremacy.
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, Erik Larson. Grim reading in vignettes aboard the doomed ship and the U-20 that sank her.

 Joys: Our granddaughter celebrated her first birthday, and her aunt, our youngest daughter got married in July with COVID precautions and no infections reported afterward.


Andrea Wolfe, Assistant Teaching Professor of English

Reading Recommendations

  • Trust Exercise, Susan Choi
  • The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai
  • There There, Tommy Orange
  • The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
  • American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins (controversial but still good, I think)





We know this doesn’t make up for valuable in-person class time with your favorite professors, but we hope that you have enjoyed our Faculty Favorites and picked up a few recommendations along the way!