Have you ever wondered what your favorite authors, speakers, pastors, and scholars are reading? What influences them? Which books do they re-read?

What’re They Reading? will make you privy to what’s being read by those you admire.

I corresponded with Marc Cortez, professor, blogger, and author, about what’s on his bedside table, influential biographies, and more.

What’s on your bedside table?

I’m almost always reading more than one book since I like to switch back and forth. At the moment, I’m reading Khaled Anatolios’ Retrieving Nicea, Warren Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Ronald Osborn’s Death Before the Fall.

Marc Cortez

What books do you regularly re-read and why?

I rarely re-read books unless (1) it’s a classic, (2) I’m using it as a required text for a class, or (3) it’s in a fiction series and I’m trying to remember what’s going on before the next book comes out. I’m assuming that you’re most interested in the first category, which would include things like Athanasius’ On the Incarnation, Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Making of Man, Augustine’s Confessions, Luther’s On the Freedom of the Christian, and Calvin’s Institutes.

What biographies and autobiographies have most influenced you and why?

For me, the most influential books in this category have been those focused on the theologians that have shaped me the most. So I’d have to include Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, Heiko Oberman’s Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, George Marsden’s Jonathan Edwards: A Life, and Eberhard Busch’s Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts.

What are your favorite fiction books and why?

This is a tough one because I enjoy fiction quite a bit, especially books that offer some insight into the shape that our humanity takes when it’s put under pressure. So let me offer just a snapshot of what I enjoy. For something with “classic” status, let’s go with the The Grapes of Wrath for its picture of economic/social pressure and how it shapes human lives. For something more contemporary, let’s go with All the Pretty Horses, which I like both for McCarthy’s brilliant prose and its picture of two young boys dealing with a variety of social and emotional pressures. And for stuff written in the last couple of years I’d have to go with Marilyn Robinson’s Home, though I like pretty much everything she’s written, and Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear, one of the best debut fantasy novels in recent memory.


You can also read Luke Geraty’s three-part interview with Marc Cortez.


You can follow Marc Cortez on Twitter.


Also in the What’re They Reading? series: Michael Bird, Trevin Wax, Doug Wilson, and Jason Meyer.