The Best of My 2013 Reading



It was a banner reading year, oh yes it was. According to my records, I clocked 114 books last year, which is a record for me. (I don’t think I’ll beat it for a while. But that’s a different post.)

Given all the reading I did, I thought I’d share the ones I marked “favorite” on Goodreads (if you want to see all of my favorite reads, here’s a link). There are quite a few, and they’re listed here in the order I read them, with links to my review or comments if you want more (and if I wrote about them).

I realized a few things, looking back over this list. One is that I need more good to-be-marked-favorite fiction. Another is that this kind of listing may not be helpful for anyone. (And if it’s not, just skim it and smile at my silliness, and move along.)


  1.  The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  2. Love Among the Chickens, by P.G. Wodehouse
  3. Rapunzel Let Down: A Fairy Tale Retold (Book #6), by Regina Doman (review)
  4. Do No Harm: A Novel, by Fiorella de Maria (review)
  5. A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands, by Arthur Powers (fiction) (review)
  6. The Spear, by Louis de Wohl (fiction) (review)
  7. Mind Over Psyche, by Karina Fabian (fiction) (review)
  8. A Rich Young Man: A Novel Based on the Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, by John Edward Beahn


  1. Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacioius: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, by Pat Gohn (review)
  2. Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent, by Margaret Rose Realy (review & another review)
  3. Love & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters, by Amy Andrews & Jessica Mesman Griffith (review)
  4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (review)
  5. Living the Beatitudes: A Journey to Life in Christ, by J. Brian Bransfield (review)
  6. Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery, by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim (review)
  7. My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir, by Colleen Carroll Campbell (review)
  8. The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid, by Greg Willits (review)
  9. Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to to the Transfiguration, by Pope Benedict XVI
  10. Francis, Pope of a New World, by Andrea Tornielli
  11. Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family, by Robin Davis (review)
  12. Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood, by Ginny Kubitz Moyer (review)
  13. Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century, by George Weigel
  14. The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, by Daria Sockey (review)
  15. Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat, by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC
  16. 21 Ways to Worship: A Guide to Eucharistic Adoration, by Vinny Flynn (review and another review)
  17. Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, by Elizabeth Scalia (review)
  18. 7 Secrets of Confession, by Vinny Flynn (advance copy) (review)
  19. Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves, edited by Helen M. Alvaré (review)
  20. Theology of the Body for Every Body, by Leah Perrault (review)
  21. Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry Weddell (as part of the Lawn Chair Catechism study at (review)
  22. Rebuilt: The Story of a Catholic Parish: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter, by Michael White & Tom Corcoran
  23. Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross, by Edward Sri (review)
  24. Saint: Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away, by Lino Rulli (review)
  25. The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, by Simcha Fisher (review)
  26. Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, by Donald H. Calloway, MIC
  27. These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, by Emily Stimpson
  28. When Faith Feels Fragile: Help for the Wary, Weary, and Wandering, by R. Scott Hurd
  29. Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Blessed John Paul II, by Fr. Brian McMaster
  30. Yes, God! What Ordinary Families Can Learn about Parenting from Today’s Vocation Stories, by Susie Lloyd
  31. Chesterton Is Everywhere, by David Fagerberg

Your turn:

What did you read and “favorite” during 2013?

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. Oh, wow, my book is on your list! Thank you!

    I’m going to be adding a lot more to my “To Read in 2014 List” thanks to this post. Thanks for reminding me about Louis de Wohl; I was browsing his books a while back and they looked intriguing.

    I also love your shout-out to P.G. Wodehouse. (By the way, if any readers enjoy his Jeeves books, Sebastian Faulks wrote a new Jeeves story last year that is apparently very close to the original author’s style.)

    So much to read. I’d better get crackin’!

    • Yes, indeed, your book made the list. 🙂

      De Wohl and Wodehouse probably rate as my Finds of the Year (oooo…post idea!). I’m going to go dig up Sebastian Faulks… 🙂

  2. Brian K. Kravec on

    Loved, Lost, Found – 17 Divine Mercy Conversions by Felix Carol

    7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn

    I can’t wait to read 7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn!

    • Yes, I have Vinny Flynn’s Eucharist book on my shelf too, Brian, and I’m looking forward to it, too. (Someday, someday.)

      Going to go look up Felix Carol’s book right now. Because, you know, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a good book. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  3. Sarah…I read many of the same books! Right now, I’m reading Elisabeth Lessuer’s diary, and fictional books by Julie Lessman (kind of like Regina Doman). I’m also going to read a book by Sr. Ann Shields about the Holy Spirit.

  4. I think I may have a reading problem (the way some people have a drinking problem)… I read an average of a book a day! I carry them around the house with me. (Of course, I’m a very fast reader – and I re-read books constantly).
    Best books I’ve read this year? “Cold-Case Christianity”, J. Warner Wallace (“A homicide detective investigates the claims of the Gospels”); “Rome Sweet Home”, Scott & Kimberly Hahn; “Reasons To Believe”, by Scott Hahn; “Consuming the Word”, by Scott Hahn (are we seeing a pattern here?); “Lead, Kindly Light”, Thomas Howard; “Evangelical Is Not Enough”, Thomas Howard; “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic”, David B. Currie; “Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine”, Patrick Madrid; “Orthodoxy”, by G.K. Chesterton… and my “must-buy-and-read” list has about 80 books on it! Help!

    • Jeri, maybe we need to start a support group. We’ll meet once a month and swap books.

      But a book a day? I’m trying not to be envious…

      I remember the moment I had when I thought to myself, “Wait, should I NOT be taking a book with me on {fill in with event…i.e., date, work meeting, get together with friends, etc.}?”

      Yeah. I hear ya. Loud and clear.

      Looks like you read a lot of n/f. 🙂

      • Hi Sarah,
        I actually used to read while I was walking to school! Got over doing that when I halted at a corner where a policeman was directing traffic, waited until he signalled the other direction to go, then started to step out – only then realizing that the traffic was AGAINST me! (Too bad they didn’t have audio books back then…)
        I actually do read a lot of fiction – mostly mysteries – but most of my favourite authors are dead (Agatha Christie, Emma Lathen, Dorothy L. Sayers, JRR Tolkien). One very good fiction series – and Christian, although not Catholic – is the Mitford series by Jan Karon (At Home In Mitford, A Light In The Window, etc.)
        My biggest problem is finding books to read that aren’t offensive in some way (at least to someone who’s trying to lead a holier life!)
        Of course, you realize that one reason I can read so much is that I tend to do it when I should be doing other stuff!

  5. Impressive list. Did you keep the details from Goodreads, or did you — as I suspect — create an evernote? One downfall of writing is less time to read… yet it is crucial to read in order to be a better writer. Maybe I need to sleep less…

    • I use Goodreads to keep track but I also keep a list on my blog. So the favorites are all on Goodreads (on a shelf there) and I just limited by read in 2013.

      Hmmm, using Evernote…. But I already keep a list updated on my blog, so…there’s that. Dare I say no need for Evernote? No, I don’t. Because that will be my invitation for finding a reason… 🙂

  6. I LOVED My Sisters the Saints. Also Rome Sweet Home, The Screwtape Letters, and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I am pinning this list for future reference 🙂

      • Oh, I hope you love it! I’m about to read it again for a “book club” with a friend (there are only two of us, but we still call it our club). My husband is rereading it too 🙂
        I am a very recent convert (<1 year), and The Hiding Place is the first book that REALLY hit me and spoke to me that there was more to Christianity that I thought… Not to sound overly dramatic, but it really was life-changing for me 🙂

  7. Pingback: Book Talk: A New Year, a New Pile o’ Books |

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