Collin Hansen's Bookshelf

Books . Movies . Music . More
Collin Hansen's Bookshelf
Collin Hansen's Bookshelf
Books . Movies . Music . More

Collin Hansen

Editorial Director

My Current Favorites

Five books, movies, or songs influencing me now
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
by Jane Leavy
WHY I LIKE IT
Gotta get in the mood for baseball season!
Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
by Sigrid Undset
WHY I LIKE IT
This one will take a while, but I'm enjoying the journey back to 14th-century Scandinavia.

My Essentials

My all-time favorite books, movies and music
Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
by Diane McWhorter
WHY I LIKE IT
To understand my city you must read this Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the watershed year of 1963.
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library)
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library)
by Shelby Foote
WHY I LIKE IT
This book inspired me to start the Shelby Foote Society in my hometown. Novelists who write history make for a remarkable combination. Don't be daunted by the length.
Night (Night)
Night (Night)
by Elie Wiesel
WHY I LIKE IT
If your theology can account for what's recounted in this book, then it can handle anything.
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America
by Michael O. Emerson,Christian Smith
WHY I LIKE IT
I should have read this book 10 years ago. It has explanatory power.
This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel
This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel
by Trevin Wax
WHY I LIKE IT
I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book, which orients us toward the story of the gospel in a world that wants to distract us in sin.
Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life
Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life
by Ed Shaw
WHY I LIKE IT
Everyone in your church needs this book. It's not just for those attracted to the same sex. We all must count the cost of following Christ. And bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters.
Letters of John Newton
Letters of John Newton
by John Newton
WHY I LIKE IT
This may be the most spiritually edifying work I've read outside the Bible. Reminds me of a combination between Jonathan Edwards and Tim Keller.
Hammer of God
Hammer of God
by Bo Giertz
WHY I LIKE IT
Most insightful and encouraging critique of evangelicalism I've ever read. Especially gripping for pastors.
The Hiding Place
The Hiding Place
by Corrie Ten Boom,Elizabeth Sherrill,John Sherrill
WHY I LIKE IT
What simple faith that steeled up under the worst possible circumstances.
None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing)
None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing)
by Jen Wilkin
WHY I LIKE IT
There's a reason this one racked up so many awards.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
WHY I LIKE IT
This book has it all—drama, conversion, heroism. It just has the wrong title. No book better reveals the power of the human spirit and the spiritual captivity of sin. Read it yourself and give it to everyone you know.
The Prodigal God
The Prodigal God
by Timothy Keller
WHY I LIKE IT
Probably no book better helped me understand and experience the grace of God. This book is my standard evangelistic giveaway.
God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible
God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible
by Vaughan Roberts
WHY I LIKE IT
This is the best, simple Bible overview I know. I'd give it to anyone.
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue)
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue)
by Peter Brown
WHY I LIKE IT
This book is the best biography of the most significant Western theologian. But it's so much more. You'll get the inside track on almost every major theological and ecclesial development of the later Roman Empire.
Christianity and Liberalism, new ed.
Christianity and Liberalism, new ed.
by J. Gresham Machen
WHY I LIKE IT
Machen has long since passed, but his argument stands today as many claim the name of Christ while rejecting his teaching.
Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City
Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City
by Timothy Keller
WHY I LIKE IT
I've never seen a more helpful, wide-ranging guide to ministry. It can be used as a textbook for seminary classes or group study among elders. Churches would be much more effective and equipped for modern challenges if they studied and applied this book.
Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being
Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being
by Zack Eswine
WHY I LIKE IT
Ministry can rob you of joy and freedom in your relationship with God. Eswine understands the struggle. And he's an excellent counselor to guide you back to your first love.
Calvin
Calvin
by F. Bruce Gordon
WHY I LIKE IT
I always like to read a biography before I read the primary sources. That gives me context to understand the writer's personal struggles and aims. Gordon gives us a fascinating peek into Calvin the man, the pastor, the husband, the writer.
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
by Ross Douthat
WHY I LIKE IT
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) didn't take over America overnight. Douthat is the best columnist in America, and he'll help you see where and how the nation went wrong.
The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue (Penguin Classics)
The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue (Penguin Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
WHY I LIKE IT
Read this one with a friend and don't be afraid to ask for help. It's tough. But chapters such as "The Grand Inquisitor" will repay your careful attention again and again. There's a reason many regard this book as the greatest novel of all time.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt
WHY I LIKE IT
Probably no single book has so powerfully and quickly changed my thinking. If you want to know why liberals and conservatives can't even talk to each other, read this book. Then you'll see how and why people really change their minds.
The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism
The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism
by Carl F. H. Henry
WHY I LIKE IT
This small book, originally delivered as a lecture, packs a powerful punch, even today when the issues have in many ways shifted. Henry delivers a compelling case for evangelicals to engage culture with "sober optimism."
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
by Michael J. Sandel
WHY I LIKE IT
I'm not the sharpest reader when it comes to philosophy, so to trace the trajectory of Western thought it one small book in a way I can understand is quite a feat.
The Religious Affections
The Religious Affections
by Jonathan Edwards
WHY I LIKE IT
At first I wondered if I were really a Christian as I read this renowned treatise. But then I saw how Edwards wanted to help me love God more than I love the gifts he sends. He is himself our greatest gift.
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days
 
WHY I LIKE IT
This might be the best movie you didn't even know had been made. I walked away from this movie motivated to give my life for God in a cause far larger than myself. Not bad for a film.
Jonathan Edwards: A Life
Jonathan Edwards: A Life
by George M. Marsden
WHY I LIKE IT
You can find other books that explain the depth and breadth of Edwards's thought. But no book will better help you understand the man in his time and place. Before you read anything else from Edwards, start here.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
by Taylor Branch
WHY I LIKE IT
I'm not sure you can understand anything important about America unless you see how the nation has been shaped by the traumatic and triumphant years of the civil rights movement. You'll be alternatively inspired and horrified with this definitive account, the first in an epic trilogy.
Emigrants: The Emigrant Novels Book 1 (The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 1)
Emigrants: The Emigrant Novels Book 1 (The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 1)
by Vilhelm Moberg
WHY I LIKE IT
The whole series deserves reading, especially if you can trace your family history to Scandinavia trough the American Midwest. You'll understand why your ancestors left, and you'll gain new appreciation for what they did to give you a better life.
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion
by Allen C. Guelzo
WHY I LIKE IT
This might not be the first book you read about the most famous battle in American history. But it will probably be the best one to give you a sense for strategy and politics in three momentous days.
Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America
Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America
by Tanner Colby
WHY I LIKE IT
A strange story, indeed. But one that must be told an re-told.
The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity
The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity
by Robert Louis Wilken
WHY I LIKE IT
Church history didn't skip from the Bible to your grandmother (or even the Reformation). So get educated on the half of church history between Jesus and the Great Schism between East and West.
A Soldier of the Great War
A Soldier of the Great War
by Mark Helprin
WHY I LIKE IT
This one came highly recommended, and I was not disappointed. This saga will take you from the streets of Rome to the trenches of World War I. Enjoy the well-crafted characters of this epic saga.
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
by Roland H. Bainton
WHY I LIKE IT
You don't even need to love history to appreciate this short, captivating biography of the great reformer and scourge of Rome. Start here in your Luther studies.
Jayber Crow
Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry
WHY I LIKE IT
Part romance, part tribute to community and place, part treatise against modern farming practices—Berry covers a lot of ground in what I regard as his best novel.
The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic About the Outbreak of World War I
The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic About the Outbreak of World War I
by Barbara W. Tuchman
WHY I LIKE IT
The Great War has been largely eclipsed by World War II in modern memory and history. But you'll never understand the 20th century until you see the horrific way it opened in 1914, ending an era of Western optimism and prosperity.
Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie (Perennial Classics)
Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie (Perennial Classics)
by Ole Edvart Rolvaag
WHY I LIKE IT
This classic novel about Norwegian immigration is set in my home state of South Dakota. And it packs a punch. Brace yourself.
Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen
Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen
by Joe Drape
WHY I LIKE IT
I've never read a better book that captures rural, small-town life, particularly the central role of sports and school.
Gilead: A Novel
Gilead: A Novel
by Marilynne Robinson
WHY I LIKE IT
No less than John Piper says this book captures the feel of the pastorate, which is no small feat, since Robinson has never been a pastor. I've enjoyed Robinson's other novels, but none has yet topped her Pulitzer Prize-winning account of John Ames in the Iowa town of Gilead.
The World Is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good
The World Is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good
by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
WHY I LIKE IT
Following Wigg-Stevenson’s lead, we can start small by cultivating peace among our family, friends, and church. Energized by his gospel-rooted agenda, we can trust God by forfeiting our instincts of self-protection.
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
WHY I LIKE IT
Harper Lee gave us some of the most famous characters in American literature with this moving story that transcends time and place even as you can practically feel and smell the humidity of Alabama.
April 1865: The Month That Saved America (P.S.)
April 1865: The Month That Saved America (P.S.)
by Jay Winik
WHY I LIKE IT
You probably don't know how many things still hung in the air as the American Civil War wound down in the spring of 1865. Expect much greater appreciation for the contingencies of history when you read this gripping account.
The Denial of Death
The Denial of Death
by Ernest Becker
WHY I LIKE IT
So many pastors and friends recommended this one to understand our culture's uneasy relationship with death. It turns out it's about so much more. The basic thesis is that no matter how we try to console ourselves, we'll never avoid the basic problem of death.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
by Neil Postman
WHY I LIKE IT
We scrapped TV and cable before I read this book. With the internet this book feels like a relic. But it's still vital reading especially for Christians whose authority is the Word.

My Bookshelf Archive

my archived books, movies, music, and more
God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right
God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right
by Daniel K. Williams
WHY I LIKE IT
This is probably the most widely cited historical survey of how the Republican Party became the political home of religious conservatives.
The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo
The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo
by Jared C. Wilson
WHY I LIKE IT
Hand this book to someone you know. The gospel liberates us from our efforts to build big churches by merely human means.
Revitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again
Revitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again
by Andrew M. Davis
WHY I LIKE IT
This is the best book I know on an important topic. Davis roots everything in Scripture and the gospel. Just his list of 10 good reasons to be humble before your opponents is worth the whole book. I'm praying for a movement of the Spirit where this book might be used by God to change many churches.
The Children's Blizzard
The Children's Blizzard
by David Laskin
WHY I LIKE IT
These events took place where I grew up on a farm in southeastern South Dakota. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my great-grandparents as they settled on the wide open prairie.
The Blood of Emmett Till
The Blood of Emmett Till
by Timothy B. Tyson
WHY I LIKE IT
I don't know how you can read this book without crying and throwing up. How utterly horrible. And yet this story, described by the esteemed author as the most famous racial incident in world history, remains poorly known by many whites in the region where it took place. It's crucial to understand how the defense approached the case, and how media coverage led by Till's courageous mother helped tip the nation into a full-scale battle over civil rights for African Americans.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
by Anthony Doerr
WHY I LIKE IT
I'm not sure I've ever read anything that so powerfully describes how a whole civilization can go mad. This one will grip you as you wait to see where all the different roads of the story finally converge. And you'll be shocked at where they end up.
The Nightingale: A Novel
The Nightingale: A Novel
by Kristin Hannah
WHY I LIKE IT
Just a well-crafted dramatic story with many captivating twists and turns. This period lends itself to powerful storytelling.
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
by Nathaniel Philbrick
WHY I LIKE IT
It's remarkable the American Revolution ever succeeded.
Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God
Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God
by Rankin Wilbourne
WHY I LIKE IT
Highly recommended for all readers. Offers biblical, historical, and practical perspective on this most vital doctrine.
1916: A Global History
1916: A Global History
by Keith Jeffery
WHY I LIKE IT
A good, longtime friend picked this one up for me. He said it would make me feel better about what's happening in our own days.
Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots)
Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots)
by Matt K. Lewis
WHY I LIKE IT
Donald Trump's candidacy explains why this book is necessary.
The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism
The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism
by Yuval Levin
WHY I LIKE IT
The call to tend to our communities and spend less energy fretting over national politics is especially suited for this election season.
The Chosen
The Chosen
by Chaim Potok
WHY I LIKE IT
Moving, especially if you're a father of a son. Great insight into the tensions of religious life in modern America.
The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy
The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy
by Shelby Foote,Walker Percy
WHY I LIKE IT
There's gold in these letters from two of the American South's most accomplished writers in a friendship that spanned much of the 20th century. But this inside look also reveals the very human and often sinful perspective of these legends.
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
by Erik Larson
WHY I LIKE IT
Larson is one of the masters of narrative non-fiction, and this is one of his earlier classics.
Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story
Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story
by Timothy B. Tyson
WHY I LIKE IT
There are too many stories like this from Southern history. But we must not forget them. If you've read about King and his era of the civil rights movement, you must follow up with this book.
The Southern Tradition : The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism
The Southern Tradition : The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism
by Eugene Genovese
WHY I LIKE IT
This election demonstrates the need for a new kind of conservatism, which might mean an older kind of conservatism. But I don't think Genovese avoids the obvious problems with racism from Southern identity.
The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945
The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945
by Nicholas Stargardt
WHY I LIKE IT
These aren't exactly sympathetic people. You'll learn a lot about how and why the Germans fought so bitterly to the end under unthinkable circumstances.
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson
WHY I LIKE IT
Steve Jobs affected all of our lives even more than we probably imagine. He was not a pleasant person. But many of his worst qualities contributed to his greatest successes. For all of us, the flip side of our great strengths are our greatest weaknesses.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
WHY I LIKE IT
You'll be gripped by this tragic story of injustice as you realize how far our state and country must still travel to pursue genuine justice.
Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
by Mark A. Noll
WHY I LIKE IT
If you're looking to become a student of Christian history and want something beyond a mere survey, this is your book.
From Beirut to Jerusalem
From Beirut to Jerusalem
by Thomas L. Friedman
WHY I LIKE IT
Some elements of this book are dated, but you can't understand the Middle East today unless you understand its past. It's devastating to see the hope of this book snuffed out by our current reality.
The Prince of Tides: A Novel
The Prince of Tides: A Novel
by Pat Conroy
WHY I LIKE IT
I don't think I've ever underlined so much in a book. Be warned: it's deeply disturbing. And just as deeply moving. A deserved classic.
The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
by William E. Leuchtenburg
WHY I LIKE IT
The size doesn't suggest it, but this book is for general readers, not experts. Leuchtenburg is a legend in the field of presidential politics.
The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War
The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War
by Steven Pressfield
WHY I LIKE IT
Before I left for Israel, so I read up on this transformative and shocking event in relatively recent history.
At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
by Taylor Branch
WHY I LIKE IT
The first two books of the Branch trilogy have been life-changing to me. This one messed me up pretty good. Read and you'll see why.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
by Laura Hillenbrand
WHY I LIKE IT
No one is better in historical nonfiction than Laura Hillenbrand.
Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign
Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign
by Thomas A. Desjardin
WHY I LIKE IT
Reached out to the author afterward for help in my own research, and he came through for me.
The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud (Background: Essential Texts for the Conservative Mind)
The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud (Background: Essential Texts for the Conservative Mind)
by Philip Rieff
WHY I LIKE IT
This classic was written in 1966 but could have been published yesterday without missing a thing.
Wit
Wit
 
WHY I LIKE IT
Deals with heady, heavy themes. So be sure you're in the right temperament.
How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor
How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor
by James K. A. Smith
WHY I LIKE IT
Intimidated by reading Taylor? Start here. Smith is an able guide.
All the King's Men
All the King's Men
by Robert Penn Warren
WHY I LIKE IT
There's no doubt why this is one of the most widely acclaimed political novels of all time.
What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
 
WHY I LIKE IT
Everyone loves a debate over counter-factual history! If only...
The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive (9Marks)
The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive (9Marks)
by Mark Dever,Jamie Dunlop
WHY I LIKE IT
This is everything you've come to expect from 9Marks. What a compelling vision for evangelism, discipleship, and ultimately love for God and one another.
Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian
Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian
by Wesley Hill
WHY I LIKE IT
You don't need to agree with everything to appreciate Hill's analysis of our culture's aversion to friendship.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson
WHY I LIKE IT
You won't be able to put this book down. The story of this great ship's sinking by a German U-boat is a lot more interesting and provocative than you may expect.
John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
by Jonathan Aitken
WHY I LIKE IT
I can't understand why I waited to long to read about Newton. His story blows my mind. He is so much more than the author of "Amazing Grace."
Then Came the Morning
Then Came the Morning
by The Lone Bellow
WHY I LIKE IT
The title track will grab your attention, but songs like "Call to War" will stick with you day after day. I love the blending of voices and diversity of sounds from this band with Christian roots.
Fury
Fury
by Video
WHY I LIKE IT
This movie isn't for everyone, due to the violence. But war is horrible, and this movie makes you feel it. And the "Bible" character (Shia LaBeouf ) is perhaps the most compelling Christian character I've seen in film.
The Road to Character
The Road to Character
by David Brooks
WHY I LIKE IT
Brooks has obviously been influenced by a number of Christian sources, whether Augustine in history or Keller today. But this book aims at a broader audience with its rejection of "expressive individualism" in favor of time-tested ways for cultivating virtue.
Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons
Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons
by Sidney Greidanus
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
by Jon Krakauer
Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg
Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg
by Troy D. Harman
WHY I LIKE IT
He makes a compelling case to ignore the "accepted" version of Longstreet's attacks on days two and three of Gettysburg.