A few weeks ago I asked the question, “what is the most compelling book you’re ever read and why?” The responses were vast and varied and I thought I’d share some of them here.
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a great book. Yet I’ve found most of my favorite books not by chance but through recommendations from others. So browse this list and you just might find some titles to add to your own “must-read” stack:
The Seven Storey Mountain (Thomas Merton)
“(T)he book that has stayed with me for over 40 years and signaled the beginning of my journey into the Catholic Church…Accompanied by my love of Gregorian chant in my teens, (this book) caused me to yearn for the companionship of God through contemplative prayer and song. Took me years to figure it all out but that book was the start.” – Mrsmibsy
Pierced By a Sword (Bud McFarlane)
“Made me think, cry, and laugh!” – Aleeta
The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
“(This book) formed in me a Catholic mindset before I ever knew I’d been baptized as a Catholic infant.” – GeekLady
Priestblock 25487 (Jean Bernard)
“No words can really describe how moving it was!” – TV
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
“Something about that book has always moved me to tears. It might be because when I was a little girl, my dad used to read a chapter to me every night before I went to sleep.” – Mary S.
The Story of a Soul (St. Therese of Lisieux)
“(Through this book I) learned to appreciate God’s blessings, both large and small, and the perspective of living for Him.” – Mike
Anne’s House of Dreams (L.M. Montgomery)
“The first book I remember that made me cry…The chapter involving the loss of her child was just heartbreaking.” – JoAnna Wahlund
Discovering the Feminine Genius (Katrina Zeno)
“(This book) changed my life. I had no clue that it would, of course; I just picked it up while I was in Boston because the cover was pretty. One chapter in particular spoke to me, which included a prayer for healing. I happened to be reading in a chapel, with my fiance next to me. As I read this prayer, I got down on my knees and wept….I wish I could purchase this book for every woman in my life.” – Angela S.
Love Is Stronger Than Death (Dr. Peter Kreeft)
“I was nearly brought to tears at some points where he describes the beauty of coming into everlasting life, only by passing through the door of death first. Since then, I have never failed to think about my mortality every day, and with a joyful anticipation awaiting the day of my death.” – Tom S.
Evangelical is Not Enough (Thomas Howard)
“(This book) is something that was instrumental in my path towards the Catholic Church. Having come from a non-denominational, believer’s baptism sort of background, I was incredibly drawn to Howard’s story. In hindsight it was the first “Catholic” book I ever read, and what a wonderful introduction it was!” – Brianna H.
The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence)
“Many books come to mind but the one that impacted the most recently was “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. At each paragraph I was drawn to close my eyes and to call upon the Lord. Powerful and profound words for everyone.” – Benoit M.
A Priest Forever (Fr. Benedict Groeschel)
“Just last night my son caught me with tears running down my face as I read A Priest Forever: The life of Father Eugene Hamilton. Fr. Hamilton was a seminarian stricken by cancer who received permission from the Vatican for an early ordination. He died hours after he became a priest. The first and only time he wore priestly vestments was in his coffin at his funeral. The story of his intense longing to be a priest, combined with his suffering as he hung on to the hope of becoming a servant of Jesus, cut into my heart and soul.” – Bob S.
The Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
“My teenage son asked me to read the Bridge to Teribithia for his book report. I ended up re-reading the book several times. The first time, I was swept away by the tragedy and sacrifice of the protagonist which brought tears in my eyes. My son told me to get over it.” – Roel C.
Jesus of Nazareth (Pope Benedict XVI)
“Got me thinking about scripture like the Pope! Has had a lasting effect on me. Tu es Petrus indeed!” – Jeff C.
The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Bianco)
“I devoured that book as a child. I took a copy everywhere I went and frequently lost them. I don’t believe my parents ever purchased one item so repetitively other than food. The story is about a stuffed Rabbit who is told by other toys that a toy becomes real if its owner really and truly loves it; the kind of love that cares not that you are shabby or used, the kind of love that “lasts for always.” I don’t know if the author intends to convey a Christian message, but as I reflect on it, one can certainly see parallels.” – Elizabeth R.
Where the Red Fern Grows (Wison Rawls)
“I read it when I was pretty young and I remember it bringing tears to my eyes. I think it was also somewhat pivotal because it was one of the first books I ever read, and as a young kid it showed me that books could be interesting and it helped me to develop a love for reading.” – Adam S.
An Introduction to the Devout Life (St. Francis de Sales)
“(A) must read for every Christian. Despite being written 400 years ago, it is so relevant.” – HappyCatholic
What did we miss? What book has had the most impact on you?
If you’re looking for more compelling books, check out the best Catholic books of all time or this collection of classic Catholic eBooks.