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100 Catholic Books to Read for the Year of Faith

October 10, AD 2012 17 Comments

There”s a lot of great ways to engage in the Year of Faith. One of them is reading.

Often times, folks don”t know where to begin when it comes to what books to read. So I found a few lists from holy teachers and compiled them together for your benefit.

Unless you”re amazing, you will not get through most of these this year. But, this is a great list to have around nonetheless, in case you”re looking for something new and spiritual to read. (Note: these references will link you to Amazon.)

1. The Bible (Revised Standard Version translation)
2. The Lord. Romano Guardini
3. To Know Christ Jesus. Frank Sheed
4. The Life of Christ. Fulton Sheen
5. Jesus of Nazareth. Joseph Ratzinger
6. The Four Cardinal Virtues. Josef Pieper
7. What Happens at Mass. Jeremy Driscoll
8. The Confessions. Augustine
9. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word. Erasmo Leiva Merikakis (2 Volumes)
10. Fundamentals of the Faith. Peter Kreeft
11. Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis
12. The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis
13. The Essential Pope Benedict. John Thornton and Susan Varenne, eds
14. The Theology of the Body. Pope John Paul II
15. The Fulfillment of All Desire. Ralph Martin
16. A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist. Abbot Vonier
17. I Believe in Love. D’Elbee
18. Heart of the World. Hans Urs von Balthasar
19. The Birth of the Church: John: Volume IV. Adrienne von Speyr
20. Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Pope John Paul II
21. Life on the Lordship of Christ. Raniero Cantalamessa
22. The Eucharist: Our Sanctification. Raniero Cantalamessa
23. On Being Catholic. Thomas Howard
24. By What Authority? Mark Shea
25. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. David Currie
26. Crossing the Tiber: Stephen Ray
27. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli.
28. The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien
29. The Cost of Discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
30. Where We Got the Bible. Henry Graham
31. Called to Communion. Joseph Ratzinger
32. The Spirit of the Liturgy. Joseph Ratzinger
33. The Seven Storey Mountain. Thomas Merton
34. The Dialogues. Catherine of Siena
35. The Lamb’s Supper. Scott Hahn
36. The Handmaid of the Lord. Adrienne von Speyr
37. The World’s First Love. Fulton Sheen
38. Love and Responsibility. Karol Wojtyla
39. The Splendor of Love. Walter Schu
40. Witness to Hope: George Weigel
41. The Feminist Question. Francis Martin
42. Healing the Original Wound. Benedict Groeschel
43. A Refutation of Moral Relativism. Peter Kreeft
44. In Search of Wisdom. Leon Kass45. The Problem of Pain. C.S. Lewis
46. The Great Divorce. C.S. Lewis
47. Making Sense Out of Suffering. Peter Kreeft
48. God Is Near Us. Joseph Ratzinger
49. Confession. Adrienne von Speyr
50. Parochial and Plain Sermons. John Henry Newman
51. Triumph. David Crocker III
52. The Evidential Power of Beauty. Thomas Dubay
53. The Lord’s Prayer. Romano Guardini
54. Saints for Sinners. Alban Goodier
55. . Erasmo Leiva Merikakis
56. The Four Loves. C.S. Lewis
57. The Weight of Glory. C.S. Lewis
58. Flannery O’Connor. Collected Works
59. The Return of the Prodigal Son. Henri Nouwen
60. The Ecumenical Jihad. Peter Kreeft
61. The Unseriousness of Human Affairs. Lames Schall
62. Evangelium Vitae. Pope John Paul II
63. Fides et Ratio. Pope John Paul II
64. Woman in the Church. Louis Bouyer, ed
65. Catholic Bio-Ethics and the Gift of Human life. William E. May
66. Marriage: The Bedrock on Which Civilization Is Built. William E. May
67. The Clash of Orthodoxies. Robert George
68. Letters to a Young Catholic. George Weigel
69. Death on a Friday Afternoon. Richard John Neuhaus
70. Why Humanae Vitae Was Right. Janet Smith, ed
71. 20thCentury Martyrs. Robert Royal
72. Testimony to Hope. Xavier Nguyen
73. The Divine Comedy. Dante (Sayers translation)
74. Arise From This Darkness. Benedict Groeschel
75. Orthodoxy. G.K. Chesterton
76. Thomas Aquinas. G.K. Chesterton
77. Saint Francis. G.K. Chesterton
78. Edmund Campion. Evelyn Waugh
79. Brideshead Revisited. Evelyn Waugh
80. A Simple Path. Mother Teresa
81. The Rise of Christianity. Rodney Stark
82. The Manuel of Prayer
83. Fire Within. Thomas Dubay
84. Architects of the Culture of Death. Donald Demarco and Benjamin Wiker
85. Transformation in Christ. Dietrich von Hildebrand
86. The Hidden Manna. James O’Connor
87. Introduction to the Devout Life. Francis DeSales
88. Perelandra. C.S. Lewis
89. The Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis
90. Back to Virtue. Peter Kreeft91. The Crisis of Islam. Bernard Lewis
91. What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis
92. The Bible and the Quran. Jacques Jomier
93. What Difference Does Jesus Make? Frank Sheed

Essential Catholic Reference Books:

1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
2. The Documents of Vatican II
3. The Faith of the Early Fathers. William Jurgens, ed (3 Volumes)
4. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
5. Butler’s Lives of the Saints (4 Volumes)
6. United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
7. The Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II

About the Author:

Ryan Eggenberger is a partner at Little Flower Strategies, LLC. He writes about travel, marketing, and his terrible parking skills. Follow him on twitter at @RyanEggenberger.

  • Ryan,

    I like your choice of Bible versions!

    The Bible (Revised Standard Version translation)


  • How about the “Imitation of Christ” By St. Thomas Kempis. That book was for a long time the second most popular book of all time. Second only to the bible!

    “Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed is another good one.

    Otherwise, great list. +1 to “Introduction to the Devout Life” – great book if you need a spiritual kick in the pants! I have a lot of reading to do I see!

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  • Lydia F.

    My friends and I will be reading Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s Year of Faith book and Teresa Tomeo & Cheryl Dickow’s book Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women

    And I also like your #1 recommendation, the RSV-CE bible, my favorite!

  • Claire

    I also suggest Flannery O’Connor’s The Habit of Being (Collected Letters). I think she gets great respect among Catholics for her fiction but she doesn’t get enough credit for having been a great apologist and defender of the faith.

  • What a tremendous list, Ryan! There are some great books here. GREAT ones.

    Everyone’s internet savvy here for their book shopping, but if you’re interested in supporting a small Catholic publisher, Angelico Press publishes a version of Fulton Sheen’s “Life of Christ” (#4) , and Chesterton’s “Thomas Aquinas” (#76).

    Aside from the classics, which are undoubtedly amazing, I LOVE Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within”, “Testimony of Hope”, and am glad you included Rodney Stark’s “Rise of Christianity”.

    Another recommendation is “Souls at Rest” by Charlotte Ostermann. She has a real gift for beauty in simplicity, and has two more titles in the serious in process.

    [Side note: There’s a typo on # 61–I think 🙂 ]

    • Jessica- you are too kind! Thanks for your suggestions, and your sharp eye! 😉

  • Judy

    You forgot a pretty important “reference” book, although it is MUCH more than for just reference, and that is the Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I LOVE this book, as it shows the source of many Catechism “numbers”. Beautiful! Check it out : ) I see the hardcover is not available new at this time, yet used one is $15.85, in very good shape, meaning no highlighting. I recomend the hard covered copy… you will use it A LOT.

    Christ’s peace, Judy

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  • Alan

    Thanks for this very interesting list. Based on the dozen or so that I’ve read (and yes, they do include the Bible!) I’d have plenty of confidence in the quality of the rest.

    A few more suggestions:-

    The Rule of St Benedict
    Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
    Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
    John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua
    Gerard Manley Hopkins, Selected Poetry
    Evelyn Waugh, Sword of Honour trilogy
    Jacques Philippe, Time for God
    Margaret Visser, The Geometry of Love (a lovely book that introduces the Catholic faith by “reading” a church in Rome)
    Benedict XVI, encyclicals Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi

  • John

    Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset! It’s long but most excellent.

    Great list otherwise.

  • I wrote a response and an alternative list here if you’re interested…

  • I would add the RSV Catholic Bible Concordance to the list of reference books. Not so much a book to ‘read’ but if you’re reading your Bible, this is a must have topical resource.

    I too would add The Imitation of Christ as well as, (ugh! this is like reading an online recipe that people liked, but made all these changes…sorry) Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, anything by Father Jacques Philippe, Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli and Story of a Soul by St Therese the Little Flower.

  • Michaela

    I’m reading Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn….I believe that anything that Scott writes about the faith is worthwhile and easy to understand. After I finish that book, I’ll start looking at this list. 🙂

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  • Maria Vilmar

    thanks !!!