7 Books that Should Be on Your Shelf in 2019

March 7, 2019

The saints tell us that reading a good Catholic book can enrich your soul and help you grow in holiness. And I’ve found that maxim true in my own life. Here are 7 books I recommend reading this year.

1. Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile

(Dr. Peter Kwasniewski) In our rootless age, embracing tradition is a revolutionary act. One of the preeminent traditionalist writers of our times is Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. In Tradition and Sanity, Dr. Kwasniewski writes with prose at once poetic, winsome, and fierce, dissecting the reigning liturgical chaos with a surgeon’s precision, and pointing us to the remedy that is tradition.

This book is not an academic treatise (none of Dr. Kwasniewski’s books are), but is rather an accessible collection of essays, interviews, and reflections on the treasure that is the ancient Roman liturgy. As the title implies, it points us to the deep well of traditional practices that can help us restore our sanity and balance in a world gone mad. I highly recommend it.

2. Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build—and Can Help Rebuild—Western Civilization

(Fr. William Slattery) The Western world would not exist as we know it today without the Catholic Church. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. Thousands upon thousands of Catholic priests, monks, and laypeople made invaluable contributions to the development of art, literature, science, and technology that shapes the world as we know it today.

In the book Heroism and Genius, Fr. William Slattery focuses specifically on the tremendous contributions of Catholic priests to the development of our civilization. From monks copying ancient manuscripts by candlelight, to composers, to statesman, to educators, these men are true fathers of the western world. A fascinating and exhilarating read.

3. The Beer Option: Brewing a Catholic Culture, Yesterday & Today

(Dr. Jared Staudt) Many talk frequently about the importance of building a Catholic culture, but few know where to start. In The Beer Option, Dr. Jared Staudt argues that culture building is not about grand projects or movements, but rather about the small, ordinary details of daily life that are transformed through grace.

Dr. Staudt uses the monastic practice of brewing beer as a case study in how simple practices can be sanctified and can contribute to the formation fo a Catholic civilization. Drawing from the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, Dr. Staudt provides a rich and wise guide to living a robust Catholic life today.

4. Transfiguration: Notes Toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything

(Dr. Michael Martin) Nearly everyone agrees that we are faced with civilizational crisis of epochal proportions—intellectual, spiritual, and moral decay impacting everything from education, to the practice of faith, to our relationship to the natural world.

Faced with danger of any kind, it easy to fall back on tried and true solutions. It’s how we’re wired. But many of the problems we face today are entirely new. The ancients could have never imagined challenges like Artificial Intelligence, genetic modification, or transhumanism. How can we be faithful to our tradition, yet also think creatively about the challenges we face?

Dr. Michael Martin is one of the most provocative and original Catholic authors writing today. In Tranfiguration, he challenges us to think in new ways about these problems. This book is practical, yet Dr. Martin doesn’t get bogged down in prescriptions. Rather, he focuses on new ways of thinking and seeing that can ultimately open new vistas for living faithfully as a Catholic in a post-modern world.

5. Spirit and Life: The Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church

(Multiple Authors) The sacraments are the lifeblood of the Catholic Church. Without them, our souls would shrivel and die. Journeying through the seven sacraments, this stunningly illustrated book combines reflections from modern Catholic authors (I’m one of them) with the ancient teachings of the Church fathers, as well as excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I wrote two reflections for this book, and I was honored to be a part of the project. But that’s not the only reason I recommend it. I think you’ll find it a stunningly produced resource that will enrich your faith and understanding of the sacraments. I highly recommend it.

6. The Catholic Gentleman: Living Authentic Manhood Today

(Sam Guzman) I am proud to announce the release of my new book, The Catholic Gentleman, this April, just in time for Easter. I’ve poured a lot of love into this book, and I pray you’ll find it a useful guide! Here’s what it’s about.

The world today is changing rapidly. What was once settled is now questioned, and old traditions are discarded with reckless abandon. What does it mean to be an authentic man in such confusing times? What, if anything, does the Catholic Church have to offer to men today about living a life of true manhood and virtue?

The Catholic Gentleman is a solid and practical guide to manhood and holiness in the modern world. It offers the timeless wisdom of the Catholic Church to the many questions of men today on this important issue. 

7. A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction

If there is one thing that defines the modern world, it is distraction. Researches have even coined a term for the state of the contemporary mind: Continuous Partial Attention.

We could lament the situation without end. But the real question is, What do we do about it? I can’t think of a better answer than A Mind at Peace. Drawing from the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, philosophy, and psychology, Christopher Blum and Joshua Hochschild provide a compelling path to reclaiming our powers of concentration and ultimately, our inner peace.

What are you reading? What books do you recommend?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Sam Guzman


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Reader Interactions


  1. Randy says

    I just finished Joshua Gibbs’ “How to be Unlucky: Reflections on the Pursuit of Virtue,” and I can’t recommend it enough.

  2. Christian says

    Confessions and City of God both by st Augustine commentaries on the gospels by st Thomas Aquinas and St. Louis de Monforts the Secret of Mary and The Secret of the Rosary

  3. Christian says

    How about Confessions and City if God by St Augustine and Commentaries on the Gospels by St Aquinas and The Secret of the Rosary and True Devotion to Mary by St Louis de Monfort

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