I read thirty-five books throughout this past year (not including the New Testament). The following are my top twenty-five recommendations along with a brief summary of each book. (Thank you to everyone who loaned me a book this year or gave me gift cards to buy some!)
25. No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton
Some reflections by the famous Trappist monk on the monastic and spiritual life.
24. The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
A collection of visions a woman had of Jesus’ Passion which Mel Gibson used when planning his film, The Passion of Christ.
23. True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis DeMontfort
The classic work that explains how Mary leads us to Jesus.
22. Unplanned by Abby Johnson
The story of a former director of Planned Parenthood who is now a big name in the Pro-Life movement.
21. A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn
An easy-to-follow overview of God’s covenental love with humanity found in the Old and New Testament.
20. In the Beginning by Pope Benedict XVI
Some insightful reflections on the opening chapters of Genesis.
19. Made for More by Curtiss Martin
A brief and easy-to-read defense of some of the basic objections to the Christian faith.
18. The Unaborted Socrates by Peter Kreeft
A hypothetical dialogue in which Socrates debates on the topic of abortion.
17. Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars by St. John Vianney
Short reflections on many aspects of the Christian life.
16. St. Therese: A Treasured Love Story by Fulton J. Sheen
A collection of manuscripts from talks Archbishop Fulton Sheen gave about St. Therese and how we can become saints.
15. Persuasive Pro-Life by Trent Horn
A helpful tool for Pro-Life advocates to be able to engage in more fruitful dialogues with those who do not hold the same views.
14. Calvary and the Mass by Fulton J. Sheen
Some incredible reflections on the connections between the words Christ uttered on Calvary and the words spoken at the Mass.
13. The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva
999 hard-hitting quotes to help men become more intentional in their discipleship.
12. The Priest is Not His Own by Fulton J. Sheen
An overview of the theology of the priesthood with practical applications for priests.
11. My Life With the Saints by Fr. James Martin
The spiritual memoir that explains how several saints deeply impacted the life of one ordinary man striving for sainthood.
10. Three to Get Married by Fulton J. Sheen
An expertly crafted work that shows the beauty of marriage as a vocation.
9. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The classic, humorous, dreadfully accurate, hypothetical dialogue that explains the ways in which the devil works in our everyday lives.
8. Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
The famous autobiography of one of the most popular saints.
7. Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II
The manuscript of an “interview” the Pope did on numerous different topics in the Church.
6. Treasure in Clay by Fulton J. Sheen
The autobiography of the man who has helped bring Christ to millions of people.
5. Be a Man! by Fr. Larry Richards
A self-help book for Christian men to become better men of God.
4. No Turning Back by Fr. Donald Calloway
The incredible story of how one young man went from being a law-breaking punk to becoming a Catholic priest.
3. St. John Paul the Great by Jason Evert
A heart-warming and inspirational biography of Pope John Paul II with a special emphasis on the five things he loved the most: Love, Mary, the Eucharist, the youth, and the Cross.
2. Jesus the Bridegroom by Brant Pitre
A scavenger hunt through ancient texts and traditions to better understand and appreciate the role of Jesus as bridegroom.
1. Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen.
It’s 650 pages long, but I’ve managed to read Sheen’s reflections on the life of Christ twice now. There’s a reason Mother Teresa carried a copy around with her wherever she went.