Truth be told, there is nothing I’d rather receive for a gift than a book. Jewelry, nope. Clothing, nope. Perfume, nope, not for me. But books? Bring ’em on! I am a book-oholic for sure, as I can’t resist buying one with an intriguing title or one where I just heard the author on the radio or one a trusted source recommends. So suffice it to say I have stacks!

For the last year or so, I just can’t seem to quench my thirst for Catholic books, and I’ve read quite a few over that period. Here are a few that I’d recommend as gifts for the newbie Catholic OR the cradle Catholic — a good book is a good book.

Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly – This is perfect for an RCIA candidate, someone new to Catholicism, someone who’s fallen away from the faith or someone who just wants an easy-to-understand refresher about the holy Catholic church. This book helped sell me on becoming Catholic. Kelly made sense of all the things that, to me, seemed outdated and illogical: fasting, going to mass EVERY week, penances and more. It is a simple read that can make a big difference in a person’s life. You can get FREE copies at

RCIA CatholicismGod’s Bucket List” by Teresa Tomeo – Listening to Teresa Tomeo, who hosts a national radio show on Catholic Radio every morning, is one of the favorite parts of my day. She is fun to listen to — you feel just like you’re chatting with your girlfriend — and she gives a Catholic perspective on the news of the day, as well as interviews all sorts of authors and experts in Catholicism. She’s helped me make sense of my new faith on many an occasion. In her characteristic personable style, she’s written a new book all about discerning God’s plans for you. A play on the pop culture phrase “bucket list,” she encourages readers to follow God’s bucket list for their lives instead of their own and gives you step by step instructions to start making that shift. A fun and insightful read.

Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom” by Marge Fenelon – This book is a wonderful study of Mary for moms. Fenelon walks you through all the key stories in the Bible that mention Mary, encouraging you to imagine how she must have felt. She then points out her most blessed virtues in the face of much surprise and sadness and shows us how we can embrace those virtues as moms with action steps for each chapter. Every Catholic mom should read!

Holy Land by Father Mitch PacwaThe Holy Land: An Armchair Pilgrimage” by Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J. – I also love listening to Father Mitch on Catholic Radio when takes questions about Catholicism on shows like Open Forum. He was the first one who made sense of purgatory and redemptive suffering for me! He explains things so simply and clearly, and in this new book, he helps you understand the geographical setting of the Bible in order to better understand the scriptures. It’s a lovely book, which literally takes you step by step through all the key sites in the Holy Land, offering insight, prayers, meditations and scripture readings. This is a good gift for any Catholic, or especially those who are are tough to buy for.

The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux – Learn from this beautiful little saint how you can turn all the “little” things in your life into gifts to God. She shows you that God doesn’t always require big actions and that the simplest acts of denial and sacrifice can benefit other souls when offered up to God. She is my confirmation saint and I love her dearly :).

Theology of the BodyThese Beautiful Bones” by Emily Stimpson – This book is one of the best written books I’ve come across — she truly turns words into a work of art. I’d recommend it for those interested in theology or who want to deepen their Catholicism. It may prove to be a tough read for a newbie unless they’ve dived headfirst into theology. I loved this book, though. She shows you how to use the body God has given us for His glory in everything we do from cooking and cleaning to how we dress and more. It’s full of quote after quote. If you’re looking for a truly lyrical read about Catholicism, this is it!

These are some of my favorites from the past year that I think others would enjoy. Get them for yourself or for others for Christmas or as books to read in the New Year. Happy reading!