man-reading-in-library-w350x232Who needs another resolution to add to the already-growing list of goals for next year?

I’ve got one for you… read more!

It’s an easy and fun one—at least, for some, compared to grueling exercise routines and the usual dieting that kicks off January 1.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my recommended literary companions for 2013. As an avid reader, it is a daunting task to limit this list to a reasonable length, so keep in mind that I chose just a few of the many fantastic options for you to add to your reading list this coming year.

For Daily Devotion

A Year with the Bible by Patrick Madrid

I couldn’t have been more excited to see my hubby’s brightened eyes when he unwrapped this book for Christmas. As a couple, we’re huge fans of Patrick Madrid. (My husband even cited how honored he was to flaunt a mustache this past November since his Catholic apologist hero, Patrick Madrid, makes it look so cool). In addition to the book’s beautiful binding and gold-trimmed pages, it makes a fantastic daily devotional for anybody who wants to spend the next year uncovering the riches of Scripture, accompanied by thoughtful and brief meditations that will linger in your heart and mind each day.

For Spiritual Growth

Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

If you have already read this masterpiece, read it again this year. I don’t think it is possible to read this book too many times. The classic offers beautiful meditations on the spiritual life, and, if you’re like me, you will find that so many of these pages speak directly and powerfully—almost eerily so—to struggles you are dealing with in your life right now. Oh how many single sentences in this book have given me pause to drastically alter my attitude and the way I live and pray this past year…Praise God.

For the Year of Faith

Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft

The subtitle for the book says it all: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you aren’t reading the text of the Catechism during the Year of Faith, you should be! And, if the thought of reading that thick book seems a little daunting, this fantastic compendium is a must-have resource. Its summary style is readable and systematic. Every Catholic should have one on his bookshelf and be reading it during the Year of Faith in 2013.

For Marriage Enrichment

The Exceptional Seven Percent: Nine Secrets to the World’s Happiest Couples by Gregory Popcak

The book’s title sold this to my husband and me during our engagement last year. We were ravenous for good reads to help launch us into a happy, holy marriage right from the start. This book is perfect for married couples at any stage of marriage. (We even gave the book as a gift to each of our parents at our rehearsal dinner!) Do something fantastic for your marriage in 2013: Read this book.

For Education and Reflection

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI

I am a big believer in reading the works of our prolific Holy Fathers. In his third and final volume of the Jesus of Nazareth series, Pope Benedict XVI focuses on Jesus’ life as a child in the Gospels. The themes of hope, longing, service, trust, and joy are palpable and powerfully insightful. It’s a perfect read for anytime of year, but if you must, you can save this one for Advent 2013, as it is most certainly a new Advent classic.

For Inspiration or Gift-Giving

Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life by Tom Peterson (to be released in February)

What kind of proud daughter would I be if I didn’t shamelessly plug my father’s first book, Catholics Come Home? It has been a truly indescribable blessing to watch God’s plan unfold in my father’s life over the years. Some days it seems incomprehensible to me to think that my ordinary dad is an instrument that God is using to help invite hundreds of thousands of fallen-away Catholics (and even non-Catholics) home to our beautiful Catholic Church. In his new book, he recounts stories—crazy stories—from his own personal faith journey and offers encouragement and inspiration to those who haven’t made that important leap of faith, as well as to those who need courage to evangelize. It’s a quick, enjoyable, humble, and motivating read and would make a perfect gift for the less-than-excitedly-active Catholic in your life.

Other Great Reads for 2013

Ready, set, go! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and pleasant reading.

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