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On My Shelf

Stacks of books I'm reading now for the Benedict Option project
Stacks of books I’m reading now for the Benedict Option project

Last fall, I did an interview with Matt Smethurst of The Gospel Coalition for a feature called “On My Shelf,” which is about books. It’s just been published online. Excerpt:

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

I often return to the essays of Wendell Berry, which are full of uncommon sense and integrity. It’s like they recalibrate me. To be honest, I always have such a long queue of new books to get to that I don’t do a lot of re-reading, but I find that those volumes refocus and reground me. The books I return to most often, though, are P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels. There never was a funnier writer in the English language. Most of what I read is burdened by maximum heaviosity. Sparkling Wodehouse is the perfect antidote. I took Dostoevsky to the beach last summer, finally said to heck with it, and went back to Wodehouse, which restored me to sanity.

What books have most profoundly shaped how you serve and lead others? 

You know, I can name several books that have profoundly formed me, but that’s not the question. When it comes to leadership, there’s no doubt that Ken Myers’s Mars Hill Audio Journal has been more influential than any series of books. I’ve bought many books based on interviews he’s done with guests, been inspired and challenged by them, and found a community of friends within the Mars Hill orbit (I’m looking at you Alan Jacobs, and you Ralph C. Wood). I tell every intellectually engaged Christian I know that they absolutely have to subscribe to the Journal. There is nothing else like it in equipping us how to think about and respond to the challenges of our time and place. Once you get hooked, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Read the whole thing. Let me put the same two questions above to you readers. Go.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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