On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers. I corresponded with Rosaria Butterfield, former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University and author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, about what's currently on her nightstand, what she's learning about following Jesus, her favorite fiction, and more. Butterfield will lead two workshops, including “You Are What You Read” and “Homosexuality and Christian Faith,” next summer at The Gospel Coalition National Women's Conference in Orlando.


What's on your nightstand right now? 

The Bible (NASB)

Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings,

Richard Rushing, ed. The Book of Psalms for Singing,

Reformed Presbyterian Church of America Jesus on Every Page,

David Murray How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home,

Derek Thomas The Christian in Complete Armour,

William Gurnall Joni and Ken: A Love Story,

Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada Essentials of the English Language,

Leigh Bortins Saxon Math 5/4  Henle Latin

(You can see from the last three titles that my classical conversation home school co-op is in full swing!)

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

I am learning that doing things in my strength, even when I have the skill set to do them, is an act of traitorship against Christ.

I am learning that the hospitality that matters can never be recompensed.

I am learning that prayer must be constant and spontaneous.

I am learning that neighborhood prayer walks nurture community, care, mercy work, and God's holy name, refreshing me each time.

I am learning that I love more and more to pour myself into my children, my church, my marriage, my neighborhood, and my homeschooling co-op.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, because it exposes my sin of ungratefulness and impatience, and it gives me spiritual tools for contentment.

Overcoming Sin and Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen (this volume, edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, includes The Mortification of Sin, Of Temptation, and Indwelling Sin); and The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard. I re-read these books because my own sin and the bad habits I bring into my Christian life are insidious and benefit from the deep scrutiny of Owen.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, because hospitality under persecution teaches so much about the power of Christian fellowship as a means of grace.

What are your favorite fiction books?

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (I like the 1818 edition.)


Also in the “On My Shelf” series: Jared WilsonKathy KellerTullian TchividjianJ. D. GreearKevin DeYoungKathleen NielsonThabiti AnyabwileCollin Hansen, and Fred Sanders.