The most recommended books on calvinism

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to calvinism, and here are their favorite calvinism books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Pursuit of Harmony: Kepler on Cosmos, Confession, and Community

Chary Rangacharyulu Author Of From Atoms to Higgs Boson: Voyages in Quasi-Spacetime

From my list on stargazers' strife and joy since antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been pursuing nuclear and particle physics as a career for nearly half a century, mostly in Western countries and Japan. As a professor of physics and engineering physics, I always strive to bring conceptual clarity to what I teach for application-oriented and abstract physics, even when I cannot bring the same level of connection to physical reality in my research. I am deeply concerned that physicists have gone astray in their mathematical quest to develop a glamorous picture of the building blocks of matter and the basic interactions among them. This book is an outgrowth of my search to understand the limits of human knowledge to unravel nature’s mysteries. 

Chary's book list on stargazers' strife and joy since antiquity

Chary Rangacharyulu Why did Chary love this book?

Professor Rothman, a historian of Science, presents the little-known fact that Kepler’s search for harmony in astronomy has deep connections to the search for harmony in the European community of his time. In less than 400 pages, Professor Rothman takes us on an educational tour of Kepler’s evolution of his ideas of cosmic harmony and his professing those ideas for harmony in an inclusive, diverse society.  

There are many untold stories and circumstances that drive a person to pursue a path of discovery or innovation, making them immortal. Kepler was the main player in laying the firm foundation of the heliocentric solar system. It is fascinating to learn that the world politics of his day were contributing factors in this regard.

By Aviva Rothman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pursuit of Harmony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A committed Lutheran excommunicated from his own church, a friend to Catholics and Calvinists alike, a layman who called himself a "priest of God," a Copernican in a world where Ptolemy still reigned, a man who argued at the same time for the superiority of one truth and the need for many truths to coexist German astronomer Johannes Kepler was, to say the least, a complicated figure. With The Pursuit of Harmony, Aviva Rothman offers a new view of him and his achievements, one that presents them as a story of Kepler's attempts to bring different, even opposing ideas and…

Book cover of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Michael Golding Author Of A Poet of the Invisible World

From my list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.

Michael's book list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey

Michael Golding Why did Michael love this book?

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson is one of literature’s most intimate records of the struggle to know God. Emily Dickinson spent most of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the Calvinist home where she grew up. But while she eventually drifted away from organized faith, she found God in other ways: “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church/ I keep it, staying at Home.” Like so many spiritual seekers, Dickinson experienced doubt: “Of Course—I prayed—/ And did God care?”  Yet her faith persisted: “I know that He exists/ Somewhere—in silence—”. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson reveals the seeker’s need to move beyond forms. And it shows how God, in the end, permeates everything.

By Emily Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Though generally overlooked during her lifetime, Emily Dickinson's poetry has achieved acclaim due to her experiments in prosody, her tragic vision and the range of her emotional and intellectual explorations.

Book cover of Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America

David S. Reynolds Author Of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights

From my list on John Brown the abolitionist.

Why am I passionate about this?

David S. Reynolds is a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author or editor of 16 books, on subjects that include John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman Andrew Jackson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the literary and popular culture of the American Renaissance. He is the winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Lincoln Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Book Prize, the Ambassador Book Award, the Christian Gauss Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

David's book list on John Brown the abolitionist

David S. Reynolds Why did David love this book?

Engagingly written, this book humanizes John Brown by portraying him as a man “of deep, varied, and sometime conflicting capacities.” Carton describes Brown’s family, business failures, friendships, and deep Calvinistic faith. By fledging out the human picture, Carton challenges simple categorizations of Brown as bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, or criminally insane. Carton places Brown against the background of debates over politics, slavery, and racial issues.

By Evan Carton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Patriotic Treason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a combination of scrupulous original research, new perspective, and a sensitive historical imagination, Patriotic Treason vividly recreates the world in which John Brown and his compatriots lived as well as the biography of John Brown and the history of the events leading up to the Civil War. Evan Carton narrates the dramatic life of the first U.S. citizen committed to absolute racial equality. In defiance of the culture around him, Brown lived, worked, ate, and fought alongside African Americans. Inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Golden Rule, he collaborated with black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin…

Book cover of Rembrandt's Eyes

Simon Worrall Author Of Star Crossed: A True WWII Romeo and Juliet Love Story in Hitlers Paris

From Simon's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Investigative reporter Writer with National Geographic Travel and book lover Passionate reader Cooking enthusiast

Simon's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Simon Worrall Why did Simon love this book?

I loved this book because of its larger-than-life main character, Rembrandt van Rijn, the Golden Age Dutch painter who took the world by storm with his bravura artworks, like Night Watch. And who better to write about this great artist than the scholar Simon Schama?

I loved the way he brings Rembrandt to life, weaving into his life story the creation of his great works. I felt it was a bit like reading a Shakespeare tragedy as Rembrandt, once rich and famous, gradually descends towards poverty and loneliness as his marriage to Saskia fails and his debts spiral out of control. I loved the extraordinary detail of Schama’s almost forensic account of the creation of the paintings and his sympathy with the great Dutch artist’s genius and life. 

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rembrandt's Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This dazzling, unconventional biography shows us why, more than three centuries after his death, Rembrandt continues to exert such a hold on our imagination. Deeply familiar to us through his enigmatic self-portraits, few facts are known about the Leiden miller's son who tasted brief fame before facing financial ruin (he was even forced to sell his beloved wife Saskia's grave). The true biography of Rembrandt, as Simon Schama demonstrates, is to be discovered in his pictures. Interweaving of seventeenth-century Holland, Schama allows us to see Rembrandt in a completely fresh and original way.

Book cover of Imaginings of Sand

Gretchen McCullough Author Of Shahrazad's Gift

From my list on books influenced by Thousand and One Nights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a fiction writer and currently live in Cairo, where I have lived for over twenty years. I noticed that the way I started telling stories was influenced by learning Arabic and by listening to the stories of the people in the city. My interest in Arabic also led me to read Arabic literature, like A Thousand and One Nights.   

Gretchen's book list on books influenced by Thousand and One Nights

Gretchen McCullough Why did Gretchen love this book?

I admired the creativity and originality of this epic novel. Brink has yoked the harsh political reality of South Africa with the frame of the One Hundred and One Nights

On the eve of cataclysmic change in nineties South Africa, a young South African émigré, Kristien, who lives in London, has been summoned back to her grandmother’s deathbed. In between the tense atmosphere before impending elections in post-apartheid South Africa, the ancient Ouma tells her granddaughter the history of all of the women in their Afrikaans family, blending fable, African folktale, and actual fact. One relative even turns into a tree! Once Ouma finishes her last story, there is one more tragedy which hits very close to home.

I loved the wide sweep of this novel, which reminded me somewhat of Faulkner, that traces the literal Calvinism and fierce militarism of the first Afrikaans settlers to South Africa—and…

By Andre Brink,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imaginings of Sand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When expatriate Afrikaner Kristien Müller hears of her grandmother's impending death, she ends her self-imposed exile in London and returns to the South Africa she thought she'd escaped. But irrevocable change is sweeping the land, and reality itself seems to be in flux as the country stages its first democratic elections. Kristien's Ouma Kristina herself is dying because of the upheavals: a terrorist attack on her isolated mansion has terminally injured her. As Kristien keeps vigil by her grandmother's sickbed, Ouma tells Kristien stories of nine generations of women in the family, stories in which myth and reality blur, in…

Book cover of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Catriona Child Author Of Trackman

From my list on showing the hidden parts of Edinburgh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Scottish writer who has lived in Edinburgh for over twenty years and feel a deep affinity for the city. Edinburgh is known for its festival and its castle, which are the parts of the city that the tourists flock to, but there is so much more to it than that. I like books that show the city in a different light: the ones in which Edinburgh itself becomes a character and not just a backdrop; the books that invoke the darker side of Edinburgh, the bits that stay hidden, the bits that only the locals know about. 

Catriona's book list on showing the hidden parts of Edinburgh

Catriona Child Why did Catriona love this book?

This was the first book I read when I started my English degree at Aberdeen University and I remember reading it on the train home one weekend and being completely gripped by it. The novel is about two brothers, George and Robert, one of whom is murdered. The structure of the novel is interesting in that, although it is a work of fiction, it presents itself as a found and true document, with the first part being narrated by the ‘editor’ and the second part told from the point of view of Robert. Robert is the quintessential unreliable narrator and his fate can be interpreted in a number of different ways from demonic possession to schizophrenia. It’s a dark and gothic novel that leaves you feeling unsettled long after you have finished it and unsure about what is real and what isn’t.

By James Hogg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in 1824, James Hogg's masterpiece is a brilliant portrayal of the power of evil. Set in early eighteenth-century Scotland, the novel recounts the corruption of a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing by a mysterious stranger under whose influence he commits a series of murders. The reader, while recognising the stranger as the Devil, is prevented by the subtlety of the novel's structure from finally deciding whether, for all his vividness and wit, he is more than a figment of the imagination. This is the only complete edition of Hogg's Confessions, since it was first published. All subsequent editions, until…

Book cover of Caleb's Crossing

Amy Belding Brown Author Of Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

From my list on New England’s forgotten conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical fiction set in New England and based on the lives of real people. My New England roots go back to the 1630s when my English ancestors first came to the region so I’m steeped in its traditions and literature. I love doing the research for my books, especially when my characters lead me in new directions. I spent ten years digging into the conflict between the Puritans and the indigenous Natives and in the process discovered a largely forgotten story that has long-lasting implications for our day.

Amy's book list on New England’s forgotten conflict

Amy Belding Brown Why did Amy love this book?

When Caleb’s Crossing came out I couldn’t wait to read it. Not only was it written by one of my favorite authors, it was inspired by a true story and set in the same place and time period as the novel I was working on. Brooks’ depiction of the love between a Puritan minister’s daughter and the son of a Wampanoag leader is fraught with tension as two very different cultures collide. The novel brings to life the forces driving the conflict through the characters of Bethia and Caleb as they struggle to navigate a perilous time and the looming prospect of war.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Caleb's Crossing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestselling tale of passion and belief, magic and adventure from the author of The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest…