One of my favorite things about the internet is having more people to talk about books with. And I love the reading challenges from my favorite writers and bloggers that pop into my inbox at the beginning of January. Except, I’m never on the ball enough to get going on January 1. So here we are mid-January and friends, I am finally ready!
Welcome to the CathLIT reading challenge. Get it? Catholic literature? Since last year’s challenge was so popular, I thought it would be fun to set up a new 2020 reading challenge of 10 Catholic books for the new year so we could all dive a little deeper into our faith and work our intellectual muscles a bit.
Here’s how it works: Choose one book for each category below. You can choose from the suggestions listed in each category, or pick your own read that fits the bill (if you pick your own, please share what it is in the comments so other folks joining in have more suggestions at their fingertips!). Since some of the categories are the same, you can also get inspiration from last year’s Cathlit challenge.
If you want to share your Catholic reads on social media you can use #cathlit2020
(Before we dive into the categories, here’s a few tips for reading more in the new year and my reasons for crafting a yearly reading list for myself and how to create your own.)
Caveat: I’ve read many of these but some were suggested by others and I haven’t read them yet. So…if you detest one of the suggested books, my apologies.
(Links to Amazon are affiliate links which manes if a purchase is made I will receive a small percentage of the sale–at no additional cost to you, of course.)
A Memoir by a Catholic
When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan
The Heart of Perfection: How the Saints Taught Me to Trade My Dream of Perfect for God’s by Colleen Carroll Campbell
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
A Spiritual Classic
The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe
Book by a Catholic Novelist
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Father Elijah by Michael O’Brien
Helena by Evelyn Waugh
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
Poetry by a Catholic
The Major Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers
Selected Poems of Czeslaw Milosz
The Stream and the Sappire by Denise Levertov
A Book by a Doctor of the Church
Story of a Soul by St Thérèse of Lisieux
The Life of St Teresa of Ávila by Herself
Prayer: the Great Means of Salvation and Perfection by St Alphonsus Liguori
On Social Justice by St. Basil the Great
On Faith, Hope, and Love by St Augustine
A Book about Beauty
How Catholic Art Saved the Faith by Elizabeth Lev
Beauty: What It Is and Why It Matters by John-Mark L. Miravalle
A Book about a Saint
The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run: Father Stanley Rother by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda
Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala by Michael Steltenkamp
St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton
A Book about Feasting
In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity by Josef Pieper
The Catholic All Year Compendium by Kendra Tierney
Short Stories by a Catholic
The Innocents by Gertrud von le Fort
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
A Recently Published Catholic Book
Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion by Abigail Favale
61 Minutes to a Miracle: Fulton Sheen and a True Story of the Impossible by Bonnie Engstrom
Thoughtful Theism: Redeeming Reason in an Irrational World by Fr. Andrew Younan
The Day Is Far Now Spent by Cardinal Robert Sarah
Bored Again Catholic: How the Mass Could Save Your Life by Timothy O’Malley
A God Who Questions by Leonard J. DeLorenzo
and ending this list with a shameless plug for my book…
The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture by Haley Stewart
Happy reading! And feel free to tag me (@haleycarrots on Instagram and Twitter) when you share your #cathlit2020 reads because I’d love to see what’s on your bookshelf this year!
I love this challenge! I read Kristin Lavransdatter a couple years ago on your recommendation and absolutely loved it – this year, for the Catholic Novel category, I’m going to pick The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene as I’ve had it on hold on my library app for months and it just came in today 🙂 I haven’t decided on the other categories yet, though.
‘The Power and the Glory’ is a wonderful book. One of the few I’ve read more than once (three times now – at school, in my early 20s and again a couple of years ago). It played a part in my returning to the Church after many years away. I hope you enjoy it.
Sarah Lewis says
The Power and the Glory is one of my all time favorites! I read it the second time last year when I suggested it for my book club – everyone enjoyed it. It’s sad, for sure, but impactful.
I’d bought a second hand copy of GK Chesterton’s Autobiography last week so I feel a wee bit ahead of the game as I’ll read that as my memoir by a Catholic. Have a few others I’ve had lying around in ever-growing my ‘must read’ pile which will fit into other categories. The others will all be new discoveries, smashing!
Theresa Linden says
I love this challenge too! And for those who want more contemporary Catholic fiction, check out these resources, “Catholic Fiction and Where to Find It”: http://www.carolynastfalk.com/2017/08/28/catholic-fiction-find/
Faith Hough says
I’m in! I enjoyed the challenge last year, though I got carried away on some categories and totally missed others. 😉
Rebecca Millette says
Can I shamelessly plug any Louis de Wohl book about a saint and Come Rack! Come Rope! by Robert Hugh Benson about St Edmund Campion (time-period) as top favourites? Go read them! Great list, Haley! Might join in this year 🙂
What a great idea and list, Haley! As an Anglican peeking through the cathedral window with great interest, I think I’ll add one or two of these to my list this year.
I’m also going to read An Immovable Feast (thanks for reminding me it’s been on my wish list forever!) and Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic by Kreeft, because I just love him so.
So where does Utopia by Thomas More fit?
Liz Tyley says
I really enjoyed this challenge last year, so I’m really glad you’re doing it again! Here’s my draft list:
A memoir by a Catholic: The Souls of Purgatory: The Spiritual Diary of a 17th-century Afro-Peruvian Mystic, Ursula de Jesus
A spiritual classic: The Diary of St Faustina
A book by a Catholic novelist: Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
Poetry by a Catholic: I’ll go with your suggestion of The Stream and The Sapphire!
A book by a doctor of the church: Scivias by Hildegard of Bingen
A book about beauty: How Catholic Art Saved The Faith by Elizabeth Lev, sticking with your suggestion again
A book about a saint: The Saint Who Saved Rome by Marie Syoen (about Catherine of Siena)
A book about feasting: I’ve been wanting to live more liturgically, so The Catholic Compendium will be great.
Short stories by a Catholic: I’ll stretch this slightly to include a collection by Catholic authors, plural: Infinite Space, Infinite God (edited by Karina Fabian)
A recently published Catholic book: From Fire, By Water by Sohrab Ahmari
GREAT choices on here! I’m especially a fan of the Rumer Godden novel, This House of Brede. Another author who fits nicely on the same shelf is Elizabeth Goudge……her novels can seem misleadingly childish, but are deeper than they look…..Pilgrim’s Inn is a favorite, along with The Little White Horse. Salut!
I JUST found this post and I am definitely going to join the challenge this year, even if I’m starting late. Thank you for putting this together!
So glad you’re joining in!
Thanks for this, Haley! Coming in very late but I picked one from each category. Looking forward to it!
The best book on beauty is Aesthetics, by Dietrich Von Hildebrand (there are two volumes; first defines beauty, second has specific works). I also love Caldecott’s Beauty for Truth’s Sake and Beauty in the Word (these books are especially great for educators).