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Tattered Titles – And the winners are…

December 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Dan Burke, Reader Feedback, Resources, Spiritual Reading

A while back we asked you, “What are the most tattered titles on your nightstand?” You answered with vigor and the responses were so numerous that we thought it might be helpful to summarize what our readers recommended. One of our amazing volunteers compiled every response and then put them into a spreadsheet. I was fascinated, surprised, and delighted to see how the top ten list emerged. The top three were 1) the Bible, 2) the Liturgy of the Hours, and 3) the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here's the top five after the top three:

  1. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas à Kempis
  2. The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila – St. Teresa of Avila
  3. Abandonment to Divine Providence – Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade
  4. The Better Part – Fr. John Bartunek
  5. Divine Intimacy – Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

So, there you have it. The next list reflects those books that had more than one mention. From the standpoint of the sheer number of votes to any one author (across multiple titles), St. Teresa of Avila gets the top prize.

  • Story of a Soul – St. Thérèse of Lisieux
  • Introduction to the Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales
  • Diary of St. Faustina – St. Faustina
  • Complete works of St. John of the Cross – St. John of the Cross
  • Consoling the Heart of Jesus – Michael Gaitley
  • Interior Castle – St. Teresa of Avila
  • Return of the Prodigal Son – Henri Nouwen
  • My Daily Bread (devotional)
  • I Believe in Love – Jean C.J. d'Elbee
  • Fire Within – Fr. Thomas Dubay
  • The Fulfillment of All Desire – Ralph Martin
  • True Devotion/Total Consecration to Mary – St. Louis Grignion de Monfort
  • Life of Christ – Fulton J. Sheen
  • Jesus of Nazareth Book 1 – Pope Benedict
  • Daily Roman Missal
  • Revelation of Divine Love – Julian of Norwich
  • The Secret of the Rosary – St. Louis Grignion de Monfort
  • Drinking from a Dry Well – Thomas Green
  • When the Well Runs Dry – Thomas Green
  • Man's Search for Meaning – Frankl
  • The Way of Perfection – St. Teresa of Avila
  • The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
  • Life of the Beloved – Henri Nouwen
  • He and I – Gabrielle Bossis
  • In Conversation with God – Francis Fernández Carvajal
  • Theology of the Body – John Paul II

The remainder of the recommendations all had one vote each. If you would like to see all the other book recommendations you can check out the combox of the original post and a few other posts we have done to provide recommendations for you.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • $1650412

    This is great information- really fun and helpful!!! Thanks, Dan! And thanks everyone in the RCSD community for weighing in here!

  • Guest

    Becky313. I told you not to laugh at me.  Even though My Divine Mercy in My Soul and My Daily Bread did not hit the No.5 Top Titles, they are there!!!!!! Have a blessed Advent all of you on this wonderful Website

    • Becky Ward

      Mary, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you.  What can I say, I’m a rebel at heart – tell me not to do something, that’s exactly what I want to do! 🙂

      Thank goodness Jesus knows how to work with this!!

      Advent blessing to you as well dear sister,

      Peace ~ love ~ light…..

  • Gordon

    A good job. Tattered titles that are life transforming. Excellent work by Catholic Spiritual Direction.

    Gordon P Vassallo
    Spiritual Guide Malta.

  • Sandy

    Thank you, Dan for compiling this list of most read books.  It’s not a surprise that so many of us who are avidly seeking a deeper spiritual life are filling our hearts,  minds, and souls with the same spiritual sustenance.  God bless you in your ministry to us.

  • Tammielyn13

    You read my mind. Just yesterday I was thinking of this past post and wishing it was organized to find the top ones. You just made my life easier with Christmas shopping. Thanks so much for doing this.
    God bless

  • Zaafira

    More books to add to my “bucket list”. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Cathid

    This could be my News Years Resolution for 2012 – Read them all!

  • Moreiraanam

    Great “Recommended Reading List”.

  • Iowafarmwife

    So many books, so little time!

  • Cheryln27

    Dear Dan,
    I wish you could add this book to the list as I don’t see it there; written by St Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Spiritual Director
    Father John Croiset, S.J..called “The Devotion to the Sacred Heart”

    Quoted as being commissioned and inspired by our Lord through this Saint and Fr Croizet that this book was so pleasing to Him that “none other than Himself could have arranged everything so much to His wishes’ and it was so completely in accord with His wishes that it would never be necessary to make any changes in it.

    Fr. Croizet (1647-1690) gives a biographical sketch of St Margaret Mary Alacoque in addition to the Devotions, Prayers and Promises of the Sacred Heart. Exquisitely written, I put this book up there with the writings of St Faustina and St Gertrude the Great.


  • jack g.

    Thank you Dan. I have lots of them and now I know what else I need to get. I have read some of them and some I read from time to time. I also recommend a 4 volume work by Mary of Agreda “The Mystical City of God” for spiritual reading, recommended by a few Popes, too. I love Thomas Dubay writings and St. Terese(both). I read The Diary often, too. And my new recommended acquisition is Fr. John’s “the Better Part”, I love it. I would add the Fathers of the Church, especially for one with protestant background. With love of Jesus, jack g.
    p.s. Nothing is more satisfying than everyday Bible study and reading.

  • Kathy

    I find most of the above-mentioned books difficult to understand. I have a version of The Imitation of Christ written in more modern language and finally was able to enjoy and enrich my spiritual life with. Does anyone know if there are any versions of these books that are re-translated to make them more easy to understand but not lose their original meaning?

    • Iowafarmwife

      Have you tried to read Introduction to the Devout Life? It honestly is easy to understand. Also, The Fire Within is a recent publication, and is very readable, too.

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