On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers. I talked with Tim Keller about what’s on his nightstand, books he re-reads, biographies that have shaped him, and more.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
I’m reading Augustine’s Confessions very slowly in two different translations and using a commentary on the Latin by J. J. O’Donnell. I’m reading a bit every night using all of those.
Other books I’m working through the next few months:
- Charles Taylor’s Dilemmas and Connections: Selected Essays
- Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
- David Skeel’s True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World
- David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
- Hughes Old’s Holy Communion in the Piety of the Reformed Church
- Peter Berger’s The Many Altars of Modernity: Toward a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age
- Grace Davie’s Religious America, Secular Europe?: A Theme and Variations
- Christian Caryl’s Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century
- Erving Goffman’s Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity
- John Updike’s Self-Consciousness: Memoirs
- John Owen’s Meditations on the Glory of Christ
- Marilynne Robinson’s Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien books—because they “baptize my imagination.” Even their essays and non-fiction do that.
What biographies or autobiographies have most influenced you and why?
These are just some Christian biographies that have been important to my thinking:
- Arnold Dallimore’s books on George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon
- George Marsden’s biographies (one short and one long) of Jonathan Edwards
- F. Bruce Gordon’s biography of John Calvin
- Henry Chadwick’s biography of Augustine (though I really should read Peter Brown’s)
- Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther
- Iain Murray’s biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- Alister Chapman’s biography of John Stott
- John A. D’Elia’s biography of George Ladd
- Barry Hankins’s biography of Francis Schaeffer
- Donald MacLeod’s biography of C. Stacey Woods
- Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of J. R. R. Tolkien and of The Inklings
- Alan Jacobs’s biography of C. S. Lewis