ACTION ITEM: A reader needs your help! Book recommendations.

From a reader:

I run a gift/book shop in our parish. Our town (here in the south) doesn’t have any catholic stores so we provide that service for four parishes in a two city area. Our new priest will not let our vicar recommend books for me to buy for our store. I don’t understand. I plan on talking directly to our priest but I doubt if I will get very far. I do not have the experience or the expertise to recommend books on my own. The few books we did get had a sign “recommended by Father…” I was told to take it down. Am I doing something wrong? Our parishioners have been buying the books like hot cakes and seem to appreciate the recommendations as much as I do. What do I do? Also I would like to say thank you. I read your blog daily. Most of it goes way over my head but I am learning. I appreciate your steadfast solid faith.

My heart goes out to you.

You are trying to do something good.

Let’s stick the needle into the deep artery… MY READERS!



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Paulus says:

    Anything by Cardinal Ratzinger. You can’t go wrong with Ratzinger – the man’s a marvel.

  2. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    What is the best translation of the Life/Autobiography [Libro de su Vida] of St. Teresa of Avila? (To answer a question with another question, with apologies!)

  3. NBW says:

    “Explanation of the Holy Mass” by Dom Prosper Gueranger O.S.B.

    “The Spiritual Combat” by Dom Lorenso Scupoli

    “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Frances de Sales

    “Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux

  4. Papabile says:

    Amerio, Romano; Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century

    Carrol, Warren; The Founding of Christendom: A History of Christendom (vol. 1)
    Carrol, Warren; The Building of Christendom, 324-1100: A History of Christendom (vol. 2)
    Carrol, Warren; The Glory of Christendom, 1100-1517: A History of Christendom (vol. 3)
    Carrol, Warren; The Cleaving of Christendom, 1517-1661: A History of Christendom (vol. 4)
    Carrol, Warren; The Revolution Against Christendom: A History of Christendom, Vol. 5
    Carrol, Warren; The Crisis of Christendom, 1815-2005: A History of Christendom (vol. 6)

    Ripperger, Rev. Chad; The Binding Force of Tradition

    Trese, Leo; The Faith Explained

  5. anna 6 says:

    Picture books for children:
    “Friendship with Jesus”, Welborn/Engelhart
    “Be Saints!”, Welborn/Engelhart
    “Bambinelli Sunday”, Welborn/Engelhart

  6. Filumene says:

    Humility of Heart
    by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo

    The Sinner’s Guide
    by Venerable Louis of Granada

    Dominus Est – It Is the Lord! Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy Communion
    by Rev. Athanasius Schneider, Nicholas L. Gregoris and Malcolm Ranjith

    The Catholic Sanctuary and the Second Vatican Council
    by Michael Davies

    Anything by Anne Catherine Emmerich

    Anything by Bishop Fulton Sheen

    Pocket Catholic Dictionary
    by Father John A. Hardon

    ANYTHING by Father John A. Hardon

    Padre Pio – The True Story
    by C. Bernard Ruffin

    Saint Philomena, the Wonder-Worker
    by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan

  7. Magpie says:

    Venerator Sti Lot :

    St. Teresa of Avila. “The Way of Perfection” and “The Interior Castle.” In The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume Two, trans. K. Kavanaugh and O. Rodriguez
    ICS Publications

    Paperback ISBN: 0-9600876-6-4

  8. Magpie says:

    Venerator Sti Lot – you can find all your reading needs here for St. Teresa of Avila:

  9. Paul Young says:

    Catholic bibles, particularly anything other than the NAB. It can be annoyingly difficult to find a non-Evangelical study bible, even in a Catholic book store.

  10. monmir says:

    The books I have read lately and some I always return to
    Frequent Confession:its place in the spiritual life by Benedict Baur
    Defending the Free Market by the Rev Robert Sirico
    Dominican Saints by Dominican Novices
    The way of Prayer learning to pray with the Our Father (from the Way of Perfection Teresa of Avila)
    And besides: anything Charles Journet particularly The Seven Words of Christ on the Cross and anything by Cardinal Ratzinger-Pope Benedict

  11. MikeD says:

    Somebody said anything by Joseph Ratzinger. I’d second that. I think the same could be said about Bishop Fulton Sheen’s writing. For a parish setting, I would particularly highlight three:

    1) Life of Christ
    2) The Priest Is Not His Own
    3) Three to Get Married

  12. Priam1184 says:

    The Douay-Rheims Bible, the Clementine Vulgate (that one may be difficult but it is the best way I know of to say WE ARE CATHOLIC in big letters, and if you can find a copy to sell then let me know and I will come in and buy it from you!), Benedict XVI’s trilogy on the life of Our Lord (Jesus of Nazareth), pretty much anything else by Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger, and St. John and the Apocalypse which is a fascinating Catholic commentary on the book of Revelation written by Fr. C. C. Martindale SJ back in the 1920s.

  13. TLM says:

    All of Frank Sheed’s books are great
    The Sign of the Cross – St. Francis de Sales
    Preparation for Death – St. Alphonsus de Ligouri
    Okay, all of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s books
    Abandonment to Divine Providence – Jea Pierre De Caussade
    The Dark Night of the Soul – St. John of the Cross
    Books by G. H. Chesterton

  14. Lepidus says:

    Mitre and Crook – Bryan Houghton – a pre-S.P. fiction story about a bishop who took things into his own hands in fixing the liturgy

    A Doctor at Calvary- Pierre Barbet – a detailed depiction of the Crucifixion based in part on the Shroud

    The Sword of the Prophet – Trifkovic -a good introduction to Islam and why the differences between them and Christianity are significantly more than what a lot of people would like you to believe.

  15. fib09002 says:

    William Thomas Walsh is the best Catholic historian to have ever written in the English language, in my opinion. I would particularly recommend the titles Characters of the Inquisition and Our Lady of Fatima. Besides that, Charles Coulombe is a fine historian as well. His book on the Papal Zouaves was one that was especially enjoyable for me to read.

  16. mfm123 says:

    “The Interior Castle” translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The Life of Christ Rosary (Also Known as the Carthusian Rosary) – Attributed to Saint Dominic of Prussia, compiled and introduced by Daniel Frattarelli

    To Magpie, thank you! When I read St. Teresa’s Life, it was wonderful, but I have not read it in English!

  18. Maria says:

    Stock up books written by:
    1.) Pope John Paul II
    2.) Pope Benedict/Card Ratzinger – All
    3.) Dr John Senior
    4.) Bishop Sheen
    5.) GK Chesterton on St Thomas Aquinas & St Francis of Assisi
    6.) Romano Guardini
    7.) Bishop Schneider
    8.) St John of the Cross – Dark night of the soul
    9.) St Thomas Moore – Care of the soul
    10.) St Catherine of Siena – The Dialogue
    11.) St Therese of Lisieux – The Story of a Soul
    12.) St Damien of Molokai

  19. flyfree432 says:

    A few suggestions for the average readers you probably have visiting:

    1) The space trilogy and/or Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
    2) A Michael O’Brien book or two.
    3) A Map of Life by Frank Sheed
    4) 4 Signs of a Dynamic Catholic (visit and for great Catholic books you can stock for $2.00. The Mary Foundation also has $1.00 CDs).
    5) A few books by the Saints. Tan Books has put out some really excellent editions recently with great little study guides.
    6) A nice edition of the Hobbit.
    7) Marriage: Man & Woman a Defense is a recent wonderful little title.
    8) A 1962 missal (such as the Campion)
    9) A useful Catholic Bible. Not the oversized family Bibles, but a RSV-CE Bible and maybe a couple of study Bibles, like the New Catholic Answer Bible.
    10) Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs.
    11) Catechism of the Catholic Church (the big green one).
    12) Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed
    13) Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft
    14) Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron
    15) Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church by Prof Christopher Kaczor
    16) Bible Basics for Catholics by Dr. John Bergsma
    17) Life is Worth Living by Fulton Sheen
    18) In Soft Garments by Ronald Knox
    19) A couple of Scott Hahn titles never hurt. You can get Rome, Sweet, Home for $1 right now.
    20) A book or two on chastity and theology of the body.
    21) Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI
    22) A few kids books – look for books published by Magnificat/Ignatius Press.

    So many more…Look for books by TAN, Ignatius Press, St. Benedict Press.

  20. Magpie says:

    The Imitation of Christ: A Timeless Classic for Contemporary Readers.
    Translated by William C. Creasy. Ave Maria Press.

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    There are all sorts of books that are old enough to be out of copyright, and so to be online somewhere for free, yet it is always nice to have a real book in hand, which can make a reprint attractive:

    For example,
    Robert Hugh Benson, Lord of the World [an end-of-the-world novel written a century ago]
    Everyman [a late mediaeval/Early Modern play, acailable in transslated/modenized versions]

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I just saw the old BBC interview with Evelyn Waugh on YouTube and he though his own best novel was Helena [about St. Helena and the discovery of th Cross]

    Magpie, thanks again: I was wondering what a good Imitatio Christi translation was…

  23. jameeka says:

    Father Hardon wrote a book called the Catholic lifetime reading plan, and has included many many titles and recommendations from early church years through about 1989–I don’t see how you could go wrong picking any of the titles recommended.

  24. William says:

    “Catholicism for Dummies” by Revs. Trigilio and Brighenti
    “The Rhine Flows into the Tiber” by Ralph Wiltgen

  25. Some good books that are more currently written are those by the author/editor Matthew Levering. I would fully recommend anything that he has written/edited.

  26. fib09002 says:

    One more thing. I’m reading one of Archbishop Lefebvre’s books, J’accuse le councile!, in French, a book that I would definitely recommend, right now, and I just encounter a particularly moving passage. I will here type it up:

    “J’ai toujours eu la conviction que cette question [the question to which he is referring is the one of aid for missionaries. He was a missionary in Africa and so this was a something about which he knew very well.] n’est pas insoluble, du moins jusqu’a un certain point.
    En complement a tout cela , nous devons ajouter l’indispensible secours de la priere. Et, afin d’obtenier ces prieres pour les missions, il pourrait exister un oeuvre vouee a susiter ces prieres et a renouveler leurs intentions. Nul n’ignore, en effet, que tout est possible avec le Christ et, sans Lui, rien.” (79-80)

    Perhaps you might also consider having some of the Archbishop’s writings at your store.

  27. Joy says:

    HA! I am in the middle of reading Lord of the World right now!
    Any book by Louis Le Wohl: Michael Edward Giesler: both for average readers.
    I also agree about Michael D. O’Brien. My spiritual adviser asigned Island of the World & The Fathers Son for my reading.
    joy in MO

  28. William says:

    Oh, and another good one: “The Desolate City” by Anne Roche Muggeridge (a must!)

  29. Moro says:

    Pretty much anything from Scepter Publishers is good. I especially like In Conversation with God, it goes through the liturgical year on the OF Calendar but still very good. I also recommend He Leadeth Me and With God in Russia, both by Fr. Walter Cizek, SJ

  30. AndyCap says:

    Father Michael Gaitley, MIC
    – 33 Days to Morning Glory
    – Consoling the Heart of Jesus
    – The One thing is Three

    Anything by Scott Hahn

    Vinny Flynn
    – 7 Secrets of the Eucharist
    – 7 Secrets of Confession

  31. Legisperitus says:

    How Christ Said the First Mass – Fr. James Meagher
    The Heresy of Formlessness – Martin Mosebach

  32. Ng says:

    Hignett, Charles. A History of the Athenian Constitution.


  33. radloffn says:

    Fulton Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book. If you’re anywhere near a military base, they’re needed. I’ve taken mine with me on every deployment. It’s also a great gift for anyone heading overseas.

  34. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Another commenter recommended books by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905 – 1991). Since shelf space for your books is presmably tight, perhaps it would be a wise idea to limit your list of authors to (a) Catholic, and (b) in good standing.

    On June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre, together with another bishop and four priests incurred the penalty of automatic excommunication by attempting to ordain the four as bishops, after being warned by the Vatican that to proceed with the ordination without the Holy Father’s approval would be a schismatic act.

    “I prefer to be in the truth without the Pope than to walk a false path with him,” the late Archbishop was quoted as replying. (New York Times, Obit., March 26, 1991.) Tragically, the Archbishop died a few years later, unreconciled with the Catholic Church, insofar as the excommunications were not lifted until some years after his death.

    May God have mercy upon his soul.

  35. B16_Fan says:

    Some very good recommendations so far. In the current times we are now living in I would most definitely recommend “The King’s Good Servant But God’s First – The Life and Writings of St. Thomas More” by James Monti.

  36. Marc M says:

    These are all fantastic suggestions, but I may interject that many are at a high level–make sure you have everyday fare as well! So I strongly second the Jesus of Nazareth trilogy and anything else by B16, a good selection of Scott Hahn (Rome Sweet Home, Hail Holy Queen, The Lamb’s Supper), GK Chesterton, and some good Catholic and Christian fiction (Evelyn Waugh, Michael O’Brian, CS Lewis, Tolkien)….

    A couple of my other favorites that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist,” Brant Pitre
    “Why Do Catholics Do That?” Kevin Orlin Johnson
    “The Seven Storey Mountain,” Thomas Merton

  37. pberginjr says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Baltimore Catechism (1, 2, and 3) yet.
    Baronius Press has a nice reprint in their “Paperback Classics (A-Z)” series actually that whole series is rather well done too).

    Also, how about the Documents of Vatican II, Papal Encyclicals (esp. Humanae Vitae and Casti Connubii), and some of the Church Fathers (Akin’s The Father’s Know Best may be a good summary, but there’s also the three-volume set by Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers, Benedict XVI’s excellent General Audiences (gathered in The Fathers and The Fathers vol. 2), and Rod Bennett’s Four Witnesses).

  38. pberginjr says:

    Also, why not include some music books such as those published by the Church Music Association of America? The Parish Book of Chant (Rev. 2nd Ed.) has an excellent selection of chants, a guide to reading/performing the music, and is (or at least has been) available for bulk purchases.

  39. Elizabeth D says:

    Those who suggested the writings of the Carmelite Saints from ICS Publications are right on, these are the best translations–in fact the ICS edition of Story of a Soul is the only one to go to since it is actually what she herself wrote versus the editions from other publishers which are almost all based on a highly edited version. Volume 2 of the works of Saint Teresa is also an ideal thing to stock since it includes two of her most important works in one volume. The ICS edition of the Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross is a good value and THE translation of his writings you want to have, the only thing anyone should buy. Some of the modern ICS works are not as good, and their “study editions” are best avoided. But their translations of the classics by the Saints are great.

    The edition of the Imitation of Christ that you want to stock is the little hardcover one from Ignatius Press, it is very attractive and it is the terrific translation by Ronald Knox if I recall. This is a must because people love to give it as a gift, it is even a great gift to Protestants.

    You definitely want books by Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger though it wouldn’t surprise me if these stop selling quite as well now there is a new Pope (which is a shame). For instance his Jesus of Nazareth books, his book Introduction to Christianity.

    You want some Bibles!!! You want to offer the New American Bible (which is the one used for readings in the Novus Ordo Mass), the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament (trust me this is a must), and other Ignatius Press RSV-Catholic edition Bibles (the hardcover one is a good buy), and if it is at all a traditional type of parish have a Douay-Rheims. I just got Bibles for my 6th gr catechism class that I am quite satisfied with for this age group and they were low cost, this was the “Prove it! Teen Study Bible” if I am remembering the name correctly, edited by Amy Wellborn if I recall correctly. It is NAB-RE.

    You should offer Christian Prayer for sale, which is a one volume edition of the Liturgy of the Hours often used by lay people. There is another version called Shorter Christian Prayer that is even easier to use for people who think the LOTH is complicated. A prayerbook that is hugely popular where I live is the Handbook of Prayers from the Midwest Theological Forum. It is a little burgundy colored softcover. If it is a Traditional Latin Mass parish then you must stock hand missals, perhaps the one from Baronius Press.

    Go to the Ignatius Press website and check out their link to a list of their best sellers–these are generally sure-fire. One book that is a must-stock is Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. Some of Peter Kreeft’s books like Prayer for Beginners are also a must, and Fr Thomas Dubay’s Deep Conversion Deep Prayer, and/or The Fire Within. The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis is among the classic fiction works that is a good bet, also get some of their “Image” fictionalized lives of Saints for youth readers. Ignatius Press is your BEST FRIEND if you are stocking a parish bookstore. They also have GREAT GREAT GREAT LOVELY children’s books. GREAT. It cannot be said enough. Ignatius Press is GREAT. And the books are physically of high quality too. You might consider the Catholic Truth Society booklets which Ignatius markets a selection of, they are inexpensive, well written and attractive, if you go to CTS’s UK website they have a massive selection of these and if you ask they will give you a parish distributor account which gives you a healthy discount on them (I myself am a CTS parish distributor. I have also run Ignatius Press book fairs… love both these organizations. Both are nonprofit. If you have a parish bookstore contact them and see if there is some kind of program that can help you to stock your store at a discount. Ignatius has great Catholic DVD movies too.

    Have the Catechism of the Catholic Church available. The Documents of Vatican II is also possibly a smart thing to offer.

    Don’t get Christopher West books, he is popular but he distorts Catholic teaching on sexuality in subtle but significant ways. There are better works–again Ignatius is a trustworthy source. Maybe others will suggest other books on sexuality and marriage and women and men that are the right stuff. This is a key topic and these books often sell well.

  40. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I keep thinking of good authors who appear to be out-of-print and only available second-hand (if a quick check of is anything to go by), like

    Pius Parsch
    F. van der Meer
    Gustav Schnurer

    but then it occurred to me to suggest (if possible/permitted) the value of a second-hand shelf/bookcase/section!

  41. fib09002 says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae:

    Marcel Lefebvre may well have been the one of the greatest archbishops the Church ever had. That he was excommunicated means not a thing when considered in light of the fact that when Tradition is finally restored in the Church, we’ll have no one to thank for such a happy ending to this crisis but him. But in any case, my intention isn’t to argue with you about his legacy. I’m just shocked that you implied that he wasn’t even Catholic. That, I think, is going to far. Hopefully this site’s moderator will chip in, so to speak, and correct on at least that particular issue.

  42. There is something very odd about this situation. Is “your priest” the “pastor,” or what is called in canon law the “rector”? And is the “vicar” the priest (so called in canon law) who is commonly called the “assistant pastor”? If that is the case, then there seems to an unseemly conflict going on among the parish clergy? If so, I would be very careful to avoid doing anything that looks like taking sides in a cleric conflict.

    That said, I would recommend some history books that no one involved in some theo-political conflict could object to, unless they let ideology trump scholarship. And all are good reads for non-academics.

    First, get some good histories of the Crusades: There are many titles by Jonathan Riley-Smith, first of all for the lay reader, _The Crusades: A History_. He is former Dixie Professor of History at Cambridge. Then make sure to have the works of Thomas F. Madden, esp. for lay readers, _The New Concise History of the Crusades_. Riley-Smith is the world authority on the Crusades; Madden is the foremost American scholar. And, happily both are Catholic and both are sane.

    Next, after Bibles and prayer books, the most common thing people want are saints lives. I can only give advise on one saint, because I wrote a book on him (, but you should also stock: Andre Vauchez, _Francis of Assisi_ and Raoul Manselli, _St. Francis of Assisi_. I hate to say this, but do not push G. K. Chesterton’s biography. It is beautifully written, spiritually inspiring, but his version of St. Francis reflects an early 20th century stereotype of the saint rather than what we now know about him. Which is that he was actually an even more amazing saint: just read the studies I have listed above to see that.

  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Thompson,

    I was thinking of mentioning The Little Flowers – of which there seem to be many editions and translations in print (including a ‘Dover Thrift Edition’): do you have any most (or least) favorite translations?

  44. green fiddler says:

    *The Lamb’s Supper* by Scott Hahn
    *The Story of a Soul, Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux*
    *The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life* by Fr. Charles Arminjon … St. Thérèse said, “Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life.”
    Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s *St. Thérèse: A Treasured Love Story*

  45. av8er says:

    Patrick Madrid’s 1- Where’s that in the Bible 2- Where’s that in Tradition?

    C.S. Lewis- The Screw Tape letters and Mere Christianity

    Karl Keating’s – Catholicism and Fundamentalism The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians”

    Archbishop Sheen’s “Life of Christ” is one of my favorites.

  46. APX says:

    “The Ways of Mental Prayer” -Dom Lehodey
    “Divine Intimacy”
    “Spiritual Theology” Jordan Aumann
    “The Little Office of the BVM”
    “True Devotion to the BVM”
    “Butler’s Lives of the Saints”
    “The Sermons of St. Alphonse’s Liguori for all the Sundays of the Year”
    “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” -Ludwig Ott

  47. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Speaking of saints’ lives,

    I thought the original version of this was good, but do not know this “re-edited and enhanced and updated and corrected” version:

    Edith Stein: The Life Of A Philosopher And Carmelite (Stein, Edith//the Collected Works of Edith Stein) by Teresia Renata Posselt, Susanne M. Batzdorff, Josephine Koeppel and John Sullivan

    Also, however much there is online, I like dictionaries of saints, like the old Attwater, Coulson, and Farmer ones – but what current ones would anyone recommend?

  48. CJ says:

    The following are three books that should be in every Catholic’s library…
    1.) Introduction to Christianity ~ Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI
    2.) Between Heaven and Hell ~ Peter Kreeft
    3.) My final recommendation is The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. Although the author was not Catholic, the setting is very much so; it takes place in Peru in the eighteenth century, and some of the main characters include the Archbishop of Lima, an abbess, and an earnest, yet ultimately confused and mistaken, monk. This novella deals in a very rich and nuanced way with issues surrounding free will, predestination, the problem of evil, redemption, grace, communion, etc, and it does all that in only 107 pages!! Read it and you will see that Wilder had a very Catholic mind and understood the world/cosmos in a truly Catholic manner. It even won the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1928. It’s my favorite book!

  49. Dear Venerator Sti Lot,

    I love the _Fioretti_, so long as it is understood that is is fiction and has an ideological edge. The great French Franciscan scholar Jacques Delarun called it the “combat manual of the spiritualist Franciscans.” There is nothing overtly heretical in it, but the constant presentation of the Franciscans as spiritually superior to all the rest of the clergy (and the popes), and so implicitly the only real disciples of Christ, presents problems to say the least.

    But I do think that the bookstore should stock it, Raphael Brown’s translation ( is well done, inexpensive and the best in print. I am using it this term in my Church History course. But, then the version in the fourth volume of _Francis of Assisi: Early Documents_ is probably better. But I doubt most people will want to buy that volume. But the store should also have the whole series of translations:,,,

  50. Sorry, make that “in the third volume” for where to find the Fioretti in FA:ED.

  51. Jacqueline Y. says:

    Be sure to stock the basics: 1) The Bible (NAB and RSV-CE), 2) The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and perhaps the Compendium of the CCC, and 3) some good Lives of the Saints.

    Children’s books (good ones) are essential. You can’t go wrong with the Little Acts of Grace series from OSV, individual lives of saints from Pauline Books, My Bible: the Story of God’s Love by Melissa Wright/illustrated by Augusta Currelli (also from Pauline Books, and well worth the price), and for preschoolers, The Bible for Little Ones from Magnificat.

    Study the Catalogs of reliable publishers, especially Ignatius Press and OSV Books.

  52. Elizabeth M says:

    Don’t forget the moms! Our Catholic Mom’s group recommends:
    “The Handbook for Catholic Moms” by Lisa Hendey (creator of
    and “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms” also by Lisa Hendey.

    Our family takes these to Mass. “Seek and Find Bible Stories” by Carl A Mortensen and “Can You Find Saints?” by Phillip Gallery. Great book to keep on hand if your little one isn’t old enough to sit still, but likes to look at pictures. (Now that I think about it, that could cover a large group!)

  53. UncleBlobb says:

    Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

  54. Anne M. says:

    Any books by Fr. Thomas Dubay
    Brian J. Gail’s three books: Fatherless, Motherless, and Childless
    No one has mentioned Stuart’s Study blog
    yet. He reviews 2 new Catholic books each week and has tons of good recommendations.

  55. jflare says:

    I had a whole list put together, then deleted it all by accident.
    In particular, I’d recommend “Orthodoxy” by GK Chesterton, “Witness to Hope”, George Weigel’s biography of JP II, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
    Also, if you’re looking for biblical fiction, you might try Children of the Lion and ensuing books.

  56. donato2 says:

    Don’t forget the Bible.

    The Gospel of Life.

    I agree with those above who recommend anything by Ratzinger.

    The Spiritual Writings of Flannery O’Connor (Robert Ellsberg, editor)
    Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor

    Any number of Peter Kreeft books would be good for a parish library. Kreeft probably appeals to a wider audience than Ratzinger or Flannery O’Connor.

    A Testimonial To Grace, Avery Cardinal Dulles (Cardinal Dulles’s spiritual biography)

    St. Augustine’s Confessions

    The following by Josef Pieper: The Christian Idea of Man, Happiness and Contemplation, and The Silence of St. Thomas


    Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor
    The Violent Bear It Away, Flannery O’Connor
    Paul Horgan, Things As They Are
    Francois Mauriac, Viper’s Tangle
    George Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest
    Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothed
    Silence, Shusaku Endo

  57. donato2 says:

    As for history books, anything by Christopher Dawson. He deserves greater attention from Catholic intellectuals.

  58. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    Also, anything by The Sacred Monster of Thomism and greatest theologian of the 20th Century, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

  59. Antioch_2013 says:

    One thing that is lacking in all these lists are the writings of the Church Fathers. I recommend getting copies of the Popular Patristics Series published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The St. Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation” even has a forward by C.S. Lewis. They’re really handy, and have many wonderful titles from the Eastern and Western Church Fathers.

    Other suggestions include:
    The Cloud of Unknowing,
    Selected Works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Classics of Western Spirituality edition)
    The Communion of Love by Matthew the Poor
    Despondency: The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Acedia by Gabriel Bunge
    The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy

    For a children’s book I recommend “St. George & the Dragon” by Jim Forest, which just won a children’s book award. The illustrations are stunning and everyone loves St. George.

  60. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Anything by Dr Peter Kreeft. Great Catholic philosopher.

    For apologetics and history:
    The Fathers know Best, by Jimmy Akin
    Upon this Rock, Stephen K. Ray (Ignatius)
    History of the Catholic Church, James Hitchcock

    The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, Dr Scott Hahn and others

    You might also want to check with Catholic Answers, they have tons of great books and other material!

  61. Joboww says:

    I’ll keep it simple, anything by the following authors is fantastic!

    Michael Davies
    Joseph Ratzinger (BXVI)
    Peter Kreeft
    John Henry Cardinal Newman
    JRR Tolkien [?]
    Alphonsus Liguori
    dietrich von hildebrand

  62. MikeM says:

    It looks like my recommendations have already been covered, but here are the ones that I can back up:
    Frank (sometimes known as FJ) Sheed: Theology and Sanity and to Theology for Beginners (both are very readable and the latter was one of the main books that I used to gain the foundation to start studying the Faith).
    Fulton Sheen: The Life of Christ
    Dom Lorenso Scupoli: The Spiritual Combat
    Michael D. O’Brien: Fr. Elijah (anything of his books are good, but Fr. Elijah is his best selling)
    Divine Intimacy (If you can find it!)
    Robert Hugh Benson: Lord of the World
    Romano Guardini: The Lord (this one is a favorite of the Pope AND the Pope Emeritus).
    And, of course, anything by Benedict XVI/Ratzinger or Fr. Hardon is going to be excellent.

  63. Bea says:

    I too run a bookstore.
    Father trusts me and knows I won’t buy anything “iffy”
    If I have any doubts as to the books to order, I simply ask him.

    It’s too bad you can’t have the sign posted that you did for recommendations, but the pastor is the pastor and we must co-operate as best we can. We’ve never had any sign but simply by word of mouth we tell our “customers” (I use that word loosely because we are really an apostolate and make very little profit, only enough to keep the bookstore growing) that we only buy SOLID books approved by the Church.

    Your best bet is to stock up on the classics written by saints. (anything from the ’40s/50s and beyond.)
    Many books that are “popular” can do more harm than good. Some actually contain errors and others are more self-help/psychological books rather than books that lead to Holiness. Some translations are so watered down that they lose their “bite”.

    Eg: “Imitation of Christ” abridged versions. We have carried a few because people say the original is too deep for them. We tell them it is watered down but if they want to get the general idea, but their best bet is to go for the original translations.

    another Eg: to look out for (we also carry dvd’s and cd’s) that first movie that came out “The Nativity” We never ordered that. It shows Mary responding to St. Joaquim a bit snippety and she gives birth in pain, which the Church teaches and the saints profess that she did not, other errors as well.

    We are fortunate that we know some very good orthodox priests that recommend to us which books to buy. We follow the recommendations but do not publicize it. If asked we simply say a good priest recommended it.

    Don’t forget “Liturgy of the Hours”
    Explain the difference between bibles.
    We always recommend Douay Rheims and tell them why.
    Most people seek the NAB because that’s what the NO Mass readings are based on.
    Ignatius bible was Mother Angelica’s preferred version.

    Ignatius Press has some excellent coloring books for children
    They also carry books that are used by homeschooling parents: Vision Books and Bethlehem books.
    Novels about saints by Louis de Wohl
    Tan Books is very solid, you can never go wrong on their books.
    APX had an excellent list
    Maria, monmir and Filumene had good recommendations too, papabile and NBW, too.
    Watch out for youcat, some teens were getting the wrong message from them.
    as MORO said Scepter Publishers is good too. They are affiliated with Opus Dei.
    You have to be careful with Archbishop Lefebvre’s books, although the SSPX bookstore/publisher (Angelus Press) has some excellent old-time books.
    Loreto Publishers is good too. as is Ave Maria Press.
    We order books by Fr. Lovasik for children from Catholic Book Publishers and some books in Spanish. We really need more Spanish books out there. Many immigrants lose their Faith when they come to the USA. Good books would be a great help for them.

  64. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    Some excellent recommendations above:

    Any books by Mgr Ronald Knox, which are reprinted. Particularly “The Mass in Slow Motion”.
    Books by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and if you can get them, the audio-tapes of his television talks.
    Books on the Saints, an excellent one by Fr Philip Schofield.
    Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings cycle.
    CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

    The Holy Ghost works in funny ways. This has been a good chance for many of us to think, and you will end up with a far better, wide and orthodox Catholic stock than if your priest had not interfered! One is tempted to say “serves him right”, but that misses the point that he was an instrument of Grace.

  65. StWinefride says:

    I would add:

    Divine Mercy in My Soul – Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska.
    Letters of Direction – Thoughts on the Spiritual Life from the Letters of Abbé de Tourville.
    The Imitation of Mary – Thomas à Kempis.

  66. Rachel K says:

    I think it would be good to start with a good Bible and th Catechism, plus YouCat which is excellent.
    For the younger children, how about some items from Bethlehem Books?
    But please, don’t circulate books by Lefebvre. That could do much damage.

  67. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Great suggestions here!

    Here are mine:

    “The Navvare Bible” series by Four Courts Press is flat excellent. It is the RSVCE version with commentary by the facutly of Theology of the University of Navarre. (I echo Paul Young’s caution on the NAB Bible – the *text* is approved, but the footnotes and introductions can be problematic at times)

    “Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI” by Dr. Scott Hahn is excellent. (goes into some of the problems with “modern” or “historical” Biblical exegesis)

    “The Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church” by Ignatius Press reproduces the actual texts of the footnotes for the CCC (not all of them, but a lot of them). For example: on page 320-8 it cites “Redemptoris hominis” pghs. 18-21. It is a 1000 page resource for those who would like to study the texts.


  68. JonPatrick says:

    For those that found some translations of “The Imitation of Christ” challenging, I would recommend the Knox/Oakley translation, which I believe is the one sold by Ignatius Press. It is very readable.

    True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort.

    Anything by Hillaire Belloc, I particularly like “how the Reformation Happened” which destroys many of the myths (mostly put out by Protestants who seem to be the ones that wrote all the histories).

    Although he is not Catholic, CS Lewis books are worth reading especially Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, and the Great Divorce.

    GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, although he may be a bit more challenging for many readers.

  69. cwillia1 says:

    The Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander
    Life in Christ by Nicholas Cabasilas
    The Way of the Disciple by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

  70. cwillia1 says:

    I forgot to add

    The Revised Grail Psalter

  71. Andreas says:

    Might I respectfully recommend stocking some books on sacred music and art in your collection. In addition to the fine books described above, you might consider including the following:

    – Day, Thomas (1991). Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste. New York: Crossroad Publishing.

    – Maus, Cynthia A. (1938). Christ and the Fine Arts. New York: Harper & Brothers.
    – Maus, Cynthia A. (1947). The World’s Great Madonnas. New York: Harper & Brothers.
    Splendid timeless anthologies that include fine art, poetry, music and narratives on the lives of Christ and Mary.

    – Skeris, Robert A. (Ed.) (1990). Cum Angelis Canere: Essays on Sacred Music and Pastoral Liturgy in Honor of Richard J. Schuler.

    – There are several beautiful medieval Books of Hours that have been published. These include those of Catherine of Cleves , the Duc de Berry (Tres Riches Heures), The Cloisters Apocalypse and others. Several have been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). You might also wish to include: Harthan, John (1977). The Book of Hours New York: Park Lane on your shelves.

    CD-based audio versions (where available) of some of these very fine books noted here and in the other recommendations found on Father Z.’s BLOG comments pages.

    You might also wish to keep in stock CDs and DVDs of sacred music, either sung/played during Mass or in concert. This would be a fine way to introduce your customers to the vast treasury of truly sacred music. There is a huge body of sacred repertoire that one might visit in this regard and one must be especially careful to avoid the pitfalls of confusing ‘popular’ music for Mass with that which is sacred. To do this, you might therefore wish to consult with some of the quality publishers and distributors of sacred recordings and books. Many of these have been mentioned in the recommendations made by others above on this website. You might also wish to visit Jeffrey Tucker’s very fine BLOG on this topic, “The Chant Café” which can be found at:

    Finally, might I add one of my favorites to the list: Bede’s ‘A History of the English Church and People’. New York: Dorset Press. 1985.

    Wishing you all the very best with your shop.

  72. tcreek says:

    Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

    Review by Helen Alvare

    “There are so few books today that “matter,” that talk about their subject, in light of the divine destiny of every human being. So I might be forgiven for my effusive enthusiasm on discovering what many have called the greatest Catholic novel ever written.” …

    “Any young woman under my influence will get a copy of Kristin to read the day she turns 16. And every young woman to whom I have recommended Kristin in the past year has reacted to it as if they had discovered a new world.”…

    “Planned Parenthood’s message is that sex is a purely physical manipulation of body parts that can have “some physical side effects.” One of its worst effects, a baby, can be “erased.” And then the sex is erased, too. In a world where such messages can be given to young women, Kristin Lavransdatter must be given to them as well.”

  73. MattH says:

    Carrol, Warren; 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle. A Catholic perspective on a key moment.

    My First Catholic Bible. I am very happy with this because each Bible story is the actual inspired text, not some modern author’s retelling of it. In other words, instead of being a Bible storybook, it is selections from the real Bible, with a picture accompanying each selection. My five year old loves it and it isn’t that expensive – recommended for all young kids.

  74. Filumene says:

    The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background
    by Klaus Gamber (Author) , Klaus D. Grimm (Translator)

  75. Amy Giglio says:

    For teens, I recommend getting YouCat, as well as maybe one or two study guides for it to have on hand, and Amy Welborn’s entire Prove It! series from OSV. For children, I’d recommend The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso, ill. by Katalin Szegedi. It’s a wonderful gift book for a First Communion and it’s beautifully illustrated.

  76. PA mom says:

    “How do you tuck in a superhero? ” And “Bless me father, I have kids ” Are two good family life books. The second one contains Latin, as the mother attends the Byzantine Liturgy..
    “Tales of Irish Saints” , “the Squire and the Scroll”, ” “Adventures of St Paul” Pauline books, “Heaven is for Real”, “100 Things every Catholic Teen should know”, “A Book of Angels” by Sophia Institute press (I like a LOT of their things)..
    Happy, Happy, Happy was also a good read and those Duck Commander guys are very popular. The Duggars books gave me ideas to help with parenting more than two, also…

  77. Darren says:

    I’ll try not to repeat what others recommended if I can, but from among those I have read and highly recommend:

    1) Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fr. John Croiset, SJ
    2) Divine Mercy in My Soul, The Diary of Saint Faustina
    3) The Mystical City of God, Venerable Mary of Agreda (it’s long… expensive… but well worth it, just stock one of each volume)
    4) The Curé D’Ars: St. John-Marie-Baptiste Vianney, Abbé Francois Trochu
    5) Fatima, the Full Story, Fr. John deMarchi, IMC
    6) Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco
    7) Lepanto, GK Chesterton (and others)
    8) The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings, Peter Kreeft
    9) Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Christian Youth, Father Maurice Meschler, S.J.
    10) Sermons of the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney & some others
    11) The Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney
    12) Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J., & St. Cladue de la Colombiere
    13) The Wonder of Guadalupe: The Origin & Cult of the Miraculous Image…, Francis Johnston

    Of course… Catholic Bibles – RSV-CE, DR…
    Apologetics… any of Karl Keating’s books

  78. Shane says:

    Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart. Does a wonderful job of stripping away the falsehoods and myths about Christian history and belief that percolate around popular culture these days.

    Witness to Hope by George Weigel is bound to be a popular book.

    How about some Catholic literary works? The Divine Comedy, Gerard Many Hopkins, Evelyn Waugh, some of T.S. Eliot’s religious poems (even though he wasn’t Catholic, there’s a Catholic mindset to works like Ash Wednesday). And of course, Chesterton’s catalog.

    I wonder if you could bundle Catechisms (like the Baltimore with the Youcat)?

  79. PA mom says:

    For color books, “Fun with the Holy Family” Pauline kids and “The First Christmas” by Warner Press kids. And of course a Rosary color book.

  80. acardnal says:

    Instead of writing a bibliography myself, I refer you to others’:

    1. The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.:

    2. Fr. C. John McCloskey, a priest of Opus Dei, has developed a list of recommended books which also include works of fiction:

    N.B. A personal favorite which comes to mind now is This Tremendous Lover by Fr. Dom M. Eugene Boylan, O.C. S.O. First published in 1946 and it’s still in print! He also wrote an excellent book on prayer: Difficulties in Mental Prayer.

  81. The Masked Chicken says:

    Many excellent suggestions. One book by Peter Kreeft I caution on is, Ecumenical Jihad. I don’t think he has thought out the implications, enough. Unfortunately, you would have to read the book to see what I mean. Otherwise, he is solid and his 21 proofs for the existence of a God in, “A Summa of the Summa,” is excellent.

    Catholic fiction is almost non-existent compared to Evangelical fiction. Some writers include Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Msgr. Ronald Knox Mysteries, Anthony Boucher mysteries (Rocket to the Morgue), Ralph McInerny mysteries (Fr. Rowling), A Canticle for Liebiwitz, by Frank a Miller, diary of a Coutry a Priest by George Bernanos, Francois Muauriac, Percy Walker, Rummer Gooden (In This a House of Brede), Robert Hughs Benson, John (?) Powers, Robert (?) O’Brien, to name a few.

    The Chicken

  82. trad catholic mom says:

    Lots of great recommendations already, so I’ll just list a couple I didn’t see.

    Blessed Be God
    This is the Faith by Canon Francis Ripley
    Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Walter Ott
    The Companion to the Catechism of The Catholic Church: A Compendium of Texts referred to in the Catechism.
    A Year with the Church Fathers, by Mike Aquilina

  83. bsjy says:

    Since nobody has yet mentioned her, I recommend a number of works of fiction by Rumer Godden.
    Godden was an English author who converted late in life to Catholicism.

    “In This House of Brede” is better known, but “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy” is a great story that readers will find hard to put down. Both books revolve around life in a convent, but there is nothing saccharine about the presentation of that life.

  84. The Masked Chicken says:

    Interesting suggestion:

    Why not copy a lot of free Catholic material from the Internet onto thumbdrives and sell those?

    The Chicken

  85. Angie Mcs says:

    This is a fabulous list for a new Catholic. I have already read a few of these books but I will be printing out these posts and will get started reading some of these titles. To the bookstore owners, I wish you great success. Sounds as if you have some wonderful reading to offer your customers! Nice of everyone to be so helpful.

    I wish I had a Catholic bookstore near me. Living in a community with a high percentage of people of a different faith, these titles are difficult to find at our library and are not kept or requested. But there’s always Christmas coming up!

  86. acardnal says:

    In the catechetical genre, I recommend a book, We Believe by the late Englishman Msgr. A. N. Gibley which was just recently re-printed by TAN Books. It’s similar to “This is the Faith” by Canon Ripley but is aimed toward college students to whom Fr. Gibley was the chaplain at Cambridge.

  87. I didn’t read all the above comments so I’m guessing all or most of the works I’m about to recommend have already been suggested, but be that as it may, this is my list of books I think every Roman Catholic should be in possession of:

    1. The Knox Bible.

    2. The Confraternity New Testament

    3. The Douay-Rheims with Haydock Commentary

    4. Missale Romanum (1962)

    5. Breviarium Romanum (1961)

    6. Divine Intimacy

    7. The Rule of St. Benedict

    8. The Confessions of St. Augustine

    9. St. Ambrose’s On the Mysteries

    10. The Imitation of Christ

    11. Denzinger’s Enchiridion

    12. Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma

    13. Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

    14. The Summa Theologica

    15. The Catena Aurea

    16. The Roman Catechism

    17. The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas

    18. The Baltimore Catechism

    19. The Catechism of the Catholic Church

    20. Gueranger’s The Holy Mass

    21. Cardinal Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy

    22. Bishop Schneider’s Dominus Est

    And if they’re available in print as stand-alone titles, these Papal documents (if not, print them out and have them on hand):

    23. Pius XII’s Mediator Dei (I know Angelus Press sells this as a title)

    24. St. Pius X’s Tre La Sollecitudini

    25. John XXIII’s Veterum Sapientiae

    26. Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum

    27. John Paul II’s Redemptionis Sacramentum

  88. Quanah says:

    Ignatius Press has a lot of great books. That’s where you’ll find most things by Ratzinger. I also highly recommend Joseph Pieper. Ignatius Press has a lot of his books as well. They also have a lot of G.K. Chesterton and other works by or concerning Catholic English writers. They also have a great selection of books about saints. They’re a great publisher for starting a library or store, or for beefing one up.

  89. stroseym says:

    The Way, Furrow, The Forge, Friends of God, and Christ is Passing By all by St. Josemaria Escriva and all come in convenient pocket form. They are wonderfully spiritually enriching and cover pretty much all aspects of life.

    Also, St. Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation”- the translation by St. Vladimir Press has a wonderful introduction by C.S. Lewis

  90. departing contestant says:

    I have enjoyed:
    “The Pilgrim’s Regress” – C.S. Lewis
    “The Death of Christian Culture” and “The Restoration of Christian Culture” – John Senior
    “The Layman and His Conscience” – Ronald Knox

  91. Charlotte Allen says:

    How about some Catholic cookbooks? They are great guides to observing the liturgical year at home, with the added bonus of delicious food. Here are some of my favorites (and I hope they’re still in print:

    1. Evelyn Vitz’s “A Continual Feast”

    2. John Zmirak’s “A Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living” and its companion volume, “A Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey & Song”

    3. Joanna Bogle’s “A Book of Feasts and Seasons” (some of the recipes are, um, kind of English, but there’s also fantastic liturgical-year lore)

    4. Anything in the “From a Monastery Kitchen” series by Brother Victor D’Avila LaTourette (there are a zillion of these books, and all the recipes–at least in the two “Monastery” books that I own–are meatless and thus ideal for Advent, Lent, and Fridays)

    And for English history and Anglican Use buffs, I recommend these two books:

    Eamonn’s Duffy’s magisterial “The Stripping of the Altars” (1992)

    Ronald Hutton’s “The Rise and Fall of Merry England” (1994)

  92. a catechist says:

    In fiction:
    “Eifelheim” by Michael Flynn
    “A Canticle for Liebowitz” by Walter Miller, jr.
    Ron Hansen
    Everything Gene Wolfe has written, but at least “The Best of…”, The Solar Cycle, “The Fifth Head of Cerberus” and “Peace”. top notch prose, strongly pro-life ‘though it’s subtle

    Much more likely to appeal to male readers than, say, Rumer Godden.

  93. ml1948 says:

    Anything by Peter Kreeft
    Anything by George Weigel
    Anything by Scott Hahn

  94. OrthodoxChick says:

    All but one of my suggestions have already been mentioned above. My last one might not qualify for sticking the needle deep in the artery, but I think it’s a nice collection in the genre of “a meditation a day”. It’s pocket-sized and usually retails for under $10.00. It is called, “Lead, Kindly Light” and edited/compiled by the late Rev. James C. Sharp. It has a short mediatation for every day of the year taken from the works of Cardinal Newman. The language has been “updated” slightly, and while that’s a bit of a negative for the more traditional-minded set, it’s a nice introduction to Cardinal Newman for N.O. Catholics. For me, it helped me get the idea that some of the “oldies” really are the “goodies”. And that’s a message that I think a lot of N.O. Catholics could benefit from.

  95. alexmfarmer says:

    And now for something completely different:
    The Catholic Guide to Depression by Aaron Kheriaty, MD. I think this is a really important book with an extremely well-founded approach to something which affects many people.
    Perhaps some encyclicals in booklet form.
    Maybe you can put up a sign saying “readers’ recommendations”.

  96. robtbrown says:

    I would recommend three authors:

    CS Lewis: I have some hesitation with his works, but they are usually excellent in distinguishing liberalism from Christianity. (BTW, “The Discarded Image”, which concerns the Medieval world view, is superb).

    Chesterton: Obviously

    Dom Hubert van Zeller: The English Benedictine.

  97. wmeyer says:

    I would also recommend Divine Intimacy, which according to Baronius Press, is back in stock now.

  98. Skeinster says:

    For short accessible reads on the spiritual life: Fr. Jacques Phillippe
    Any by Carryl Houselander- but most especially The Reed of God
    For children: My Path to God, a child-friendly version of the Spiritual Exercises. Can’t find my
    copy- must have lent it to somebody- but it is illustrated by Houselander.

  99. dep says:

    Anything by Msgr. Ronald A. Knox, some of which are mentioned above (including his exquisite translations of “The Imitation of Christ” and of course the recently republished — but fairly expensive — Bible). I would add by name these, which are fairly inexpensively reprinted and which I reread at least annually:

    The Creed in Slow Motion — a wonderfully inspiring collection of talks he made to a convent school during World War II (as are “The Mass in Slow Motion” and “The Gospel in Slow Motion”); in this volumn, he explains the Apostles Creed word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase, in funny and sometimes very touching prose, of which he was a master.
    Retreat for Lay People — What it says on the tin. You could spend a year in meditation of the points he raises.

    You can’t go wrong with Knox. Who will surely oneday be canonized.

  100. AnnAsher says:

    In the event they have not yet been mentioned, as I do not have time to read 99 entries, here are my suggestions:
    Douay Rheims Bible and Catholic Bible Tabs
    Michael O’Brien’s Fictitious Novels
    Ignatius Press renditions of Classics like Dracula, etc
    Flee to the Fields – Dr. Tobias Lanz
    A New Dictionary of Saints – John Cumming, et al
    The Great Heresis – Hillaire Beloc
    The Weight of a Mass – Josephine Nobiso (children’s book)
    Take it to the Queen- Josephine Nobiso (children’s book)
    Hinds Feet in High Places – Hannah Hurnard
    King of the Golden City – Mother Mary Loyola (Eucharist preparation)
    St Francis Books “Holy Communion” and “First Confession”
    Eastern Catholic Churches – Edward Faulk (because Roman’s should know we’re not alone)
    The Mystical Language of Icons – Solrunn Nes
    Mary Fabyan Windeatt Saint Biographies for children ages 9-13
    The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan – Venerable John A. Hardon ( and some of the titles therein)

  101. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The Catholic Guide to Depression by Aaron Kheriaty, MD. I think this is a really important book with an extremely well-founded approach to something which affects many people.”

    That may be the case and reading the book might be an eye-opener for some people, but, while I have not read the book, such books must always be read as being summaries of the state-of-the-art. The truth is that we really don’t understand depression all that well, although psychiatrists like to dress things up in scientific language. We do have some treatments that seem to do some things, although we have no idea why, exactly. We, also, do not understand the mind/brain/spirit connection all that well, so we do not know how one affects the other. I saw the huge number of 5 star ratings on Amazon and for someone who wants a summary of our understanding, to date, as limited as it is, this seems like a useful book. It is not, however, a classic, because the proper theory of depression has yet to be written. Depression is intimately connected to humor (an area of active research), so I have to keep up on research in both fields, as well as the theology. To my knowledge, a comprehensive Catholic treatment of depression and other mental aberrations is still wanting.

    One can find a few of these Catholic psychology books in libraries or on-line. I have not read extensively in the area. A couple, among many, that look interesting:

    We Neurotics: a handbook for the half-mad, Bernard Basset, S. J.
    Loving and Curing the Neurotic, Terruwe and Barr (posits a Thomistic theory of personality)
    People of the Lie, M. Scott Peck

    As a scientist, I have to approach such works with skepticism. Too much in the psychological sciences is squishy science and, goodness knows, it has had too much of an influence in Catholic life in recent years (one need only think of the epic failure of psychology in the priest sex abuse scandals). Still, man is a material and a spiritual being, so, certain aspects of psychological study might be helpful.

    The Chicken

  102. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was a little bit of a Debbie Downer in my last comment. Sorry. The topic of the book is of interest to me and I let my fingers get away from me. I think I may be coming down with cold so not thinking as clearly as I might (or, I might just be a heartless idiot).

    The Chicken

  103. Augustin57 says:

    One of my favorite books of all time, “Peace of Soul” by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

  104. MJFarber says:

    For children:
    A Sense of the Sacred Coloring Books for children by Dominic de Souza
    If there’s interest in the TLM: The Mass Explained to Children by Maria Montessori, and Know Your Mass.
    And My Path to Heaven-A Young Person’s Guide to the Faith by Geoffrey Bliss SJ and Illustrated by Caryll Houselander
    King of the Golden City by Mother Mary Loyola
    Traditional Holy Cards (and Medals)
    Six O’Clock Saints
    Daniel A. Lord’s Miniature Lives of the Saints series for prereaders to look at at Mass
    For older people:
    Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know
    Memorize the Faith

  105. MJFarber says:

    Forgot one: My Catholic Faith by Bp. Morrow <—the 1954 version

  106. donato2 says:

    A book that I thought was really excellent is entitled “After Asceticism, Sex, Prayer and Deviant Priests.” The author, a man named Patrick Guinan, is a urologist who is on the faculty of the University of Illinois’s medical school. The book appears to be self published and is riddled with typos. It however is very well written and makes a very compelling argument that the sexual abuse scandal has its roots in the dissenting ethos that overtook the Church beginning in the late 1960s. Perfect for the parish library!

    Here is the Amazon link:

  107. VexillaRegis says:

    This book store will certainly not lack good books! Perhaps you could just put ” HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” labels on certain books – you don’t have to tell people exactly *who* recommend them ;-)

  108. donato2 says:

    A review on Amazon reminded that “After Asceticism” is about more than the sex abuse scandal. The reviewer wrote:

    “[T]his book is about more than the sex abuse scandal. It is about how the ‘therapeutic mentality,’ which is inconsistent with Thomist psychology in many fundamental ways, has corrupted large swaths of the entire American Catholic Church. This book made me realize that the sex abuse scandal was just the tip of the iceberg. The criminal element is largely gone from the priesthood, but there remains a large contingent of dissenting and overly worldly priests who continue to do damage to the Church.”

  109. Alex P says:

    Spirit of the Liturgy- Cardinal Ratzinger
    The Spiritual Life- Adolphe Tanquerey
    Frequent Confession- Benedict Baur
    The Four Last Things- Martin von Cochem
    Introduction to the Devout Life- St Francis de Sales
    The Holy Mass- Dom Prosper Gueranger
    Spiritual Friendship- St Aelred
    These Are the Sacraments- Fulton Sheen

  110. Adam Welp says:

    I’m not sure if anyone has suggested this but a few copies of the MTF Daily Roman Missal would be a good suggestion.

  111. Rich says:

    STEP #1 – Continue quietly taking recommendations by the vicar, which would not be a sin, such not allowing oneself to be strongarmed by a priest in such a matter would not be.

    STEP #2 – Have the books which have been quietly recommended by the vicar presented nicely in a display just inside the entrance to the store. Overall, the increased likelihood that people will check out the books due to their being so prominently displayed may have a similar effect as having the little signs next to them.

    That being said, I would go forward with presenting any books published by Ignatius -AND- being on the subject of faith (it being the Year of Faith) and/or being about Pope Francis (though still published by Ignatius).

  112. Titus says:

    The only way to operate a bookstore operation on a running basis is to focus on purchasing from a collection of publishers that you know and trust.

    Sure, you can think of a few titles that you know you always want, and shop around for those.

    But there are too many books out there, new and old, to keep track of in a job like this. You have to use your faith in the publisher as a proxy for the quality of the works published. Get the catalogue every quarter or month and decide what looks interesting.

    To which publishers should a Catholic bookshop proprietor be paying attention? Ignatius Press, TAN, Neumann Press (looks like they closed, actually, how terrible), Baronius, Catholic Book Publishing Corp. (the folks who put out the St. Joseph editions of, well, everything). That should keep you busy.

  113. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Titus (and others) sensibly (so far as I can see) direct attention to reliable/useful publishers.

    However, not knowing such things as the size of the bookshop, nature of its finances, and time available to the bookseller, I will go on with titles (etc.):

    I am surprised I have not (nor seemingly has anyone else) thought of mentioning the Don Camillo books till now!

    Following up on OrthodoxChick’s suggestion, are there other good books of daily selections from single authors (or more varied selections)? I recall this was discussed a bit in a recent post and its comments here about St. Augustine, but have not tried to look it up yet.

    Is there a good, affordable Vulgate to recommend?

    Sort of following up on The Masked Chicken’s suggestion about tying into things available free online, would it be an idea to provide a ‘service’ of downloading public domain audiobooks (for example, from LibriVox) for the price of a blank writable CD, for those who do not use internet or ‘burn’ their own disks, but do like listening to CDs?

  114. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Speaking of selections, I am enjoying James Kelly’s “Jacques Maritain Reader”, Christianity, Democracy, and the American Ideal: but soes anyone have Maritain titles they would especially recommend?

  115. Lisa Freeman says:

    Your sign can now read “Recommended by Fr. Z’s readers”

    Little Catechism on the Eucharist by Fr. Roberto Coggi (for children and teens)
    Parents, Children, and the Facts of Life by Sattler
    Sophia Institute Press – easier reading, solidly Catholic

    This list is great, but I know most of the people at my parish would not read “Stripping of the Altars” (even though they should). Our book club made a rule that it had to be 200 pages or less and cost about $10. Those are the books that average Catholics might read.

    May God bless you all,

  116. jul says:

    Blood Drenched Altars, by Bishop Kelley- also a fiction book by him: Problem Island
    Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness by Warren H. Carroll and any book by his wife Anne W. Carroll
    Never Give Up by John Janaro
    The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins by John Zmirak- he makes self-improvement really enjoyable
    Fr. Michael Gaitleys books have been mentioned already: I would just add that if I could only keep 2 of my thousands of books they would be The One Thing is Three and Consoling the Heart of Jesus
    Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik’s books are good, especially the ones for children. Most parents will learn as they read to their little ones: no dumbing down there

  117. Gratias says:

    Louis de Wohl – The Last Crusader a novel about Don Juan de Austria.

    By Jose Maria Gironella: The Cypresses Believe in God. Spain on the eve of the civil War.

  118. whitewings says:

    This may have been already mentioned but I’d like to add Pope John XXIII’s “Journal of a Soul” – whatever your views on Vatican II, this is still a book that is well worth reading.

  119. jflare says:

    If I were you, I wouldn’t fool with the YouCat, but go straight to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s not that tough to find various subjects-matter in it and it’s quite thorough. If someone needs more concise answers, the Baltimore Catechism (3 volumes, last I knew) would be a good choice.

    I also recommend a few other books that we haven’t mentioned (I don’t think):
    – The Virtue Driven Life, Fr Benedict Groeschel
    – The Temperament God Gave You, (I don’t remember the author’s name)
    – The Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius Loyola, good for discernment (I think)

    These next aren’t Catholic, spiritual, or theological, but might be good material to learn anyway:
    – Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, the classic work on economics
    – Rich Dad, Poor Dad (and succeeding titles), Robert Kiyosaki, an easier read for matters of personal finance
    – The Richest Man in Babylon, (I don’t remember), same idea as Kiyosaki
    – Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, similar to the last two, but a slightly different approach
    – What Color is Your Parachute, (I don’t remember), good book for career and life..discernment, setting goals for oneself and maybe a family

  120. TimG says:

    This might be the right time to bring it up…..I have a 1868 Catholic German prayer book that has been handed down thru the years within our family. I do not read German (and it couldn’t take regular use), does anyone have ideas on what to do with it? Sitting on my shelf just doesn’t seem to do it justice!

  121. VexillaRegis says:

    TimG: Keep it and think of your pious ancestors. Perhaps your children or grand children will learn German some day!

  122. KAS says:

    History: anything by Dr. Warren Carroll

    My favorite publishers: ICS for Carmelite studies; Scepter for anything they carry(very orthodox), Baronius for beautiful editions, & Ignatius for generally excellent orthodoxy.

    Historical fiction: Louis de Wohl did wonderful Saints stories.

    Fiction: The Catholic Writer’s Guild does a Seal of Approval for Catholic writers of fiction and non-fiction. The books are checked for faithfulness to Church teaching and quality of writing. There are some very good books coming through their screening for the Guild’s Seal of Approval. As a bookstore owner, you will benefit greatly from connecting with them.

    Specific authors: Karina Fabian and Ellen Gable– both EXCELLENT and entertaining. The former writes delightfully imaginative and humorous stories, the latter Theology of the Body based romance/suspense. I also like Declan Finn’s action stories.

  123. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    The advice of Vexilla Regis sounds good to me, too (to which it occurs to me to add, maybe someone in the family will happen to marry a German, or German speaker/reader).

    Fascinating to think it would have been quite a new book when Bismarck started his Kulturkampf – and, for that matter, have been published within a year of the success of the Papal Zouaves at the Battle of Mentana, at a time when that international force included some 116 Germans/Austrians.

    If you have any concerns about possible practical details of how “sitting on my shelf just doesn’t seem to do it justice” – about how best to keep it, perhaps there is some library nearby (public or university) with a rare books/special collections department which you could consult (for free, one would hope) about how best to keep it safe, clean, not too dry or moist, etc.

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