7 Catholic Books to Read This Summer

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Remember getting that summer reading list from school when you were a kid? Even if all the books from your summer reading lists sat untouched in your backpack all summer long, it’s time to put the past behind you and start planning your summer reading list this year.

Don’t get lazy about your faith this summer. Instead, crack open philosophy, historical fiction, psychological thrillers, and wrecked romances. Invest in your interior life as the days get longer and the humidity levels rise.

Here’s a few books you’ll want to make sure are tucked into your beach bags this year.

1. Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper

It’s one of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, and it’s the perfect summer reminder. Are you looking at a stuffed summer schedule? Josef Pieper’s work will remind you about the value and importance of holy leisure. This book won’t encourage you to be lazy, but rather will convince you that leisure is the first foundation of any culture. Reclaim the art of holy leisure with this read.

If you’re tempted to stuff your summer schedule with to-do lists, Josef Pieper’s work will remind you about the value and importance of holy leisure. This book won’t encourage you to be lazy, but rather will convince you that leisure is the first foundation of any culture. Reclaim the art of holy leisure with this read.

2. A Most Dangerous Innocence by Fiorella De Maria

It is 1940, the time of the Phoney War. Britain stands alone with German invaders waiting across the Channel and an anxious population preparing for the bloody battle ahead. In an isolated girls’ boarding school, sixteen-year-old Judy Randall watches the coming of war with a mixture of fascination and fear. She is a misfit in an institution that prizes conformity; a Catholic with Jewish heritage at a time when anti-Semitism is still commonplace. Judy is autistic, and many misunderstand her behavior as eccentric and insolent.

If you’re looking for a glimpse at the early days of World War II, A Most Dangerous Innocence is a great book to pick up off the shelves for the summer months.

3. When God Wrecks Your Romance by Amanda Vernon and Matt Fase CSC

This books is the perfect Catholic alternative to the newest Nicholas Sparks release for your summer beach bag. Coauthored by a newly ordained priests and a young married mom of four, When God Wrecks Your Romance is the story of two kids who feel for each as teens and (spoiler alert!) didn’t end up together.

Without a doubt, it’s the opposite of any quaint and dreamy Hollywood romance you’ll find on the shelves. But it’s also the story of a happily ever after.

4. Common Sense Catholicism by Bill Donohue

Catholic teaching offers quite a bit of wisdom to remedy our insufficient understanding of the elements needed for a free and flourishing society. If you want to dive into the social teachings of the Catholic Church this summer, Common Sense Catholicism is a great place to start!

5. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

This winner of the 1961 National Book Award established Walker Percy as a major voice in Southern literature.

Binx Bolling is a young New Orleans stockbroker who lives the life of a Bourbon Street dandy. But the day before he turns thirty, he goes to the movies with his secretaries and finds the “treasurable moments” that were absent from his life.

One Mardi Gras, Binx adventures out on a quest that angers his family, endangers his cousin, and sends him through the chaos of the French Quarter. If you’ve never given Walker Percy a read, this is a great place to start. You’ll love this genuine American classic!

6. A Layman’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Father Timothy Gallagher

The Liturgy of the Hours isn’t just for consecrated religious. This summer, let the prayers of the Catholic Church transform your interior life. Father Gallagher shows readers the basic elements of the Liturgy of the Hours, how to incorporate them into your daily life, and how praying the Divine Office can revitalize your daily prayer life.

7. Be Brave in the Scared by Mary Lenaburg

In Be Brave in the Scared, Catholic writer Mary Lenaburg shares how the overwhelming demands of caring for her severely disabled daughter ultimately taught her—and can teach you—that trusting in God and accepting his will can lead to profound joy, no matter what challenges you face.

If you’re struggling as a parent to trust God’s will for your life and the lives of those you love, this book serves as a perfect summer reminder that you can rely on God, even in the most difficult days of your life.

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