I was just listening to Matthew Kelly who speaks about becoming the best version of yourself. In his talk he recommended reading for 10 minutes every day. He said to read books that will help you become the best version of yourself. This got me thinking… what are the titles of those books for you? What books changed your life???
7 books for me actually - The Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony, especially the last one And Eternity.
I did not have a religious preference growing up. When I read these, it made me question so many things. I started researching different religions. I realized that I am Catholic. I was welcomed home last year, but I think I have been Catholic for much, much longer.
These books do not encompass my beliefs, but they opened a door for me.
Green Eggs and Ham.
Green Eggs and Ham is good but personally I prefer Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas because of their good moral messages (and because they aren’t as repetitive).
Hmm… how about the CCC? That’s another potentially life-changing and also very useful book and if you read it for 10 minutes a day you might just get through it in a couple of years…
At the moment I have been reading one of my textbooks - Fundamentals of Game Design by Adams & Rollings. They’ve done their research really well and its put together in a very readable and useful format, I’m learning a lot.
I read for enjoyment. I don’t demand that every book I read be A Big Deal and Life Changing. Right now I am on a Dean Koontz read-a-thon and enjoying myself.
However, one book I read caused me to think hard. It was Fundamentals of the Faith by Peter Kreeft. I still have it and re-read it occasionally.
Horton Hatches the Egg – which comes to mind every time I find myself doing something for the sole reason “because I promised someone I would.” No joy, no love, no fun – pure and simple duty.
I think Crossing the Threshold of Hope did a lot for me, as did some of the papal/conciliar letters.
I don’t know that it changed my life, but probably my favorite book, which I go back to time and time again for inspiration, is An interrupted life, by Etty Hilesum.
Mother Angelica’s book Answers, Not Promises was my first glimpse into Catholic theology. It really changed my life. Nothing like my 11 years of CCD :rolleyes:
And, I’m embarrassed to admit, Wayne Weible’s Medjugorie books also helped bring me back to the Church.
Saint Faustina’s Diary also was life changing for me.
Our Familia group’s study of Familiarus Consortio (forgive my creative spelling) also was life changing.
I read a lot of junk when I was younger–some I found profound at the time. Trying to reread it now, I can’t stand it.
The biggest change in my life was becoming Catholic, so I have to list the books that helped get me to that point:
C. S. Lewis’ books helped me embrace reason over feelings.
Then I read “The Faith of Millions” by John A. O’Brien thinking I could easily refute Catholic teaching. I couldn’t, which scared the living you know-what-out of me! LOL!
Followed by “The Song of Bernadette” (because I’d seen the movie as a girl). It opened the door to understanding Mary’s place in the Church even though it is not a work of theology.
And the book that finished me off was: “The Lord of the Rings,” which gave me my first glimpse into the Catholic world view. After reading that book I was no longer content as a non-Catholic Christian. I wanted to know and love Christ in the way Tolkien did, and for him (and me too) that was in the Eucharist.
In general CS Lewis via the Screw Tape Letters
I really liked “He Leadth Me.” It is by a Russian priest who was a prisoner in WW II by the Russians. Wow amazing! I also liked Mother Angelica’s new Daily Life Refections book that just came out. Good stuff!
This Tremendous Lover by Eugene Boylan
Malcolm Muggeridge’s book, Jesus, The Man Who Lives
I thought of “He Leadth Me” also. I love the way the priest has life all planned out and then God has an entirelyly different route for him.
As an 8th grader, I read Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. I would say that this book changed my life because it made me aware of how easy it is to be deceived and fall into sin.
I am a German American (my great-great grandparents came from Germany and settled in a German-speaking area of Illinois). I was a poster child for the Aryan race–blonde, blue-eyed, tall, well-built, strong, no defects. (Now I’m fat, so I would have ended up on the left side of Herr Doktor Mengele!)
As a young teenager, after I finished Mein Kampf, I asked myself, "If I had lived in Germany during the 3rd Reich, would I have gone along with Hitler, saluted him, joined the Deutsche Madchen, reported people who violated Nazi laws, supported the killing of the inferior races, etc.? Or would I have resisted the evil of National Socialism? Would I have even RECOGNIZED the evil of National Socialism?
Forty years later, I continue to ask myself these questions. It’s my belief that we all need to ask ourselves these questions.
Mein Kampf made me very cautious about jumping on bandwagons and going along with my peers. I found that I examined EVERYTHING before getting involved. E.g., certain rock songs, teen idols, books, fashion trends, tv shows, kids in my school, habits (e.g. drugs, smoking, alcohol) etc.–I examined these and if I felt they were evil or would lead me to evil, I refused to participate.
I’m still like this. I believe it’s one reason why I am Catholic now after 40 years of evangelical Protestantism. As a Protestant, I never quite “fit in.” I refused to follow after a lot of the Christian celebrities, and interestingly, many of them have fallen away from the faith. I never did become enamoured of “pop” Christian culture: CCM, a lot of the books, seminars, women’s speakers, etc.
I often objected to certain interpretations of the Bible that didn’t seem quite “right” to me. And I got involved with Catholic-friendly organizations (e.g., Bread for the World) that Protestants called “liberal.”
I was very opposed to the isolationist viewpoint the some of our churches held; i.e., do not mix with people from other churches, as they will drag you down into sin. I admonished the pastor of our Christian and MIssionary Alliance Church to DROP this stand and GET INVOLVED with local pro-life efforts, even if they DID mean that we would have to work with C-C-Catholics! And eventually, he did, and then our church started becoming more pro-life once the pastor got involved.
Because I was a pianist (a person of great value in Protestant churches!) and I was enthusiastically involved with many children’s and youth ministries, people in my churches were tolerant of my “different” viewpoints. I and my husband were often called “the fringe” by other Christians in our Protestant churches, but they loved us anyway. Unfortunately, eventually we became part of a church that DIDN’T love us. A woman minister in that church was threatened by our attitudes, made up lies about us, and we were thrown out of that church.
Eventually we were led into the Catholic Church, where so far, all my questions have good answers that I can accept.
So I guess, in a perverse way, I should be grateful to Hitler for writing Mein Kampf and causing a young teenaged girl to question everything, an attitude that eventually led me to the Catholic Church.
When I was a teenager, there were very few “Holocaust” books written for children and teens. One book that did come out when I was in high school was The Hiding Place byCorrie Ten Boom. This wonderful book was a life changer for me, too, because it showed me real, practical Christianity that was willing to work and die for others.
Now there are lots of holocaust books for kids (I’ve even written one!). But these two books, Mein Kampf and The Hiding Place were all I had, and they did the job of changing my life.
I’ll offer three: they were the first books on the faith that really had a substantial impact on me, nothing since has had as much influence in my life and faith, and I read them all at about the same time!
#1: Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn
#2: Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating
#3: Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli
With each one, I found myself saying, “I can’t believe how much sense this makes!” I still refer to numbers 2 & 3 on a regular basis.
Me too. I read that first and that opened up the whole world of modern Catholic writers such as Von Hildebrand, more CS Lewis (I know he wasn’t quite Catholic), Kreeft, Dubay.
Thomas Dubay’s “A prayer primer: Ignighting a Fire Within” is the one book that has changed my daily outlook the most.
I can’t narrow it down to just one.
Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – I would say this fundamentally altered my understanding of Evil. Not so much the petty wrongdoings of human beings, but their place in the universe. As Mephistopheles says, he is merely ‘part of that which would do evil forevermore, and yet creates the good’. Also, it’s one of the greatest products of Western civilization, and got me into reading old alchemical and hermetic texts. I owe Goethe a lot.
Also Sprach Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche. I am a humanist, to some extent a transhumanist, and a lot of it’s this guy’s fault. I don’t agree with him on nearly everything (really, I think if anybody does he’ll start spinning in his grave), but the central theme of Zarathustra, that we are meant to transcend ourselves by our own power, is a concept that never fails to inspire me.
The Sweet-Scented Name, Fedor Sologub. I found a hundred-year-old copy in a rundown bookshop years ago and fell in love with the symbolist fables. I still read fairy tales now, and I’m well past the age one is supposed to stop doing that.
Naked Lunch, William S Burroughs. Did what it was supposed to: tear a giant gaping hole through my perceptions and scream gibberish that never cohered but somehow worked into the rift. There really isn’t any explaining it.
Les Chants de Maldoror, Isidore Ducasse/Comte de Lautreamont. Aside from providing an excellent introduction to the fin-de-siecle Decadent movement (alongside Baudelaire), it redefined the concepts of art and beauty for me. It is vile, hideous, blasphemous, sensual, and beautiful not in spite of all that but because of it.
Charity and Sex and the Young Man by Herbert J. Raterman, S.J.
It concerns sexuality, mortal sin, etc. Really it is a must for young men (I’d suggest giving it to your kind around 14 however I think that it would be just as valuable to older teens who may not have been told about the Church’s teachings…).