On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.

I asked Andy Crouch—senior strategist for communication at the John Templeton Foundation and author of The Tech-Wise Family (2017) [interviewreview], Strong and Weak (2016) [review], Playing God (2013) [review], and Culture Making (2008) [review]—about what’s on his nightstand, his favorite fiction books, books that have shaped his thinking on cultural engagement, and more.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Well, I read very little in bed, but here are the books on top of the wobbly stacks in our living room:
Which books have profoundly shaped the way you lead and serve others for the sake of the gospel? 
Which books have most shaped your thinking on cultural engagement?
What are your favorite fiction books?
(Apparently I like magical realism!)

What’s your favorite book that no one has heard of?

Well, it’s probably not the case that no one has heard of Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War, but let’s say it’s the book I consider to have the highest greatness-to-name-recognition ratio of any book I’ve ever read. It’s just a stunning novel.
But the best answer, at least from 2016’s crop of books, is The Penultimate Curiosity, which is still at the top of a pile because it rewards endless rereading and browsing. Physicist Andrew Briggs and artist Roger Wagner trace the relationship between art, religion, and science in a generously illustrated Oxford University Press book. It probably could have used a more reader-friendly title, but the text and illustrations are quite engaging and accessible, and the argument that underlies the book is subtle and groundbreaking. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

When I was younger, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) seemed like a grand and totally inaccessible spiritual truth. These days it seems like a completely concrete and economical description of reality.

Also in the On My Shelf series: Walter Strickland • Hannah Anderson  S. D. Smith • Curtis Woods • Mindy Belz • Steve Timmis • David Mathis • Michael Lindsay • Nathan Finn • Jennifer Marshall • Todd Billings • Greg Thornbury • Greg Forster • Jen Pollock Michel • Sam Storms • Barton Swaim • John Stonestreet • George Marsden • Andrew Wilson • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler

Browse dozens of book recommendations from The Gospel Coalition’s leaders and sign up your church at Hubworthy.