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
Editors’ note: Register to see Keller speak on various topics at our 2015 National Conference, April 13 to 15, in Orlando.
Also in the On My Shelf series: Bryan Chapell, Lauren Chandler, Russell Moore, Jared Wilson, Kathy Keller, Tullian Tchividjian, J. D. Greear, Kevin DeYoung, Kathleen Nielson, Thabiti Anyabwile, Collin Hansen, Fred Sanders, Rosaria Butterfield, Nancy Guthrie, and Matt Chandler.