17 Books in 2017: My Reading Goals

My reading goals in 2017 focus on spiritual formation. Some for my child, some for me. You’ll notice there is a considerable overlap. Chiefly because motherhood, my vocation, is itself a spiritual formation. Let’s get started!


1. Mere Motherhood

Cindy Rollins is one of those wise women we all need in life. After 30 years of baby-raising, and homeschool-grading, she finally committed to paper her mothering memoirs. I’m moved to tears by almost every podcast and conference recording I’ve heard of Cindy. So I’m deeply looking forward to reading her wisdom.

2. Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

This summer, my son was diagnosed with moderate autism. The diagnosis did not come as a bolt out of the blue, but it still sent me stumbling. My husband and I had always planned on homeschooling, but along with our son’s diagnosis came a heap of self-doubt.

Cheryl Swope writes from her experience as a classical educator, and mother of special-needs child herself.

As Martin Cothran said in his review of this book, “All children, including academically-challenged students, are human beings, and they deserve an education commensurate with that fact… If a child cannot accommodate the amount or depth of knowledge of most children, it is not less, but more important, that what they learn be of the highest quality.”

3. Raising Chaste Catholic Men

I’m cheating on this one, since I’ve already read it. However, that was just a quick read-through since my son is only a preschooler. I’m very excited to read this again, since the author herself is hosting a read-along group starting January 11th.

4. A Handbook for Morning Time

Another book by Cindy Rollins, this is the nitty-gritty practical guide to the cornerstone of her homeschooling. Full of book lists to enrich your children’s hearts, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this a resource for the future as well.

5. Abolition of Man

This quick book is actually a collection of lectures given by C.S. Lewis (of allegorical children’s lit. fame) at Oxford University. I’ve read snippets and quotations over the years, so I’m looking forward to reading the whole source at last.

6. The Everlasting Man

From G.K. Chesterton, the endlessly witty Christian apologist, a defense of man. His humanity, and his spiritual journey. Chesterton lived during the explosion of social Darwinism. This book hits back at the idea that humanity is on a one-way journey from primitivism to civilization, and examines what it means to be human.

7. The Little Oratory

The focus of the book is on families, including the youngest members, praying in the home. I’ve seen it recommended countless times for parent’s building their domestic church. I’m particularly looking forward to the guidance on setting a home altar, and keeping the Liturgy of Hours with littles.

8. Rosaries Aren’t Just For Teething

A collection of reflections from multiple Catholic authors. They reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, all through the lens of motherhood.


Snag my top reccomendations for theology, fiction, motherhood, and Catholic classics. I even tell you if something is a beginner or an advanced book to use in your club.
Snag my top reccomendations for theology, fiction, motherhood, and Catholic classics. I even tell you if something is a beginner or an advanced book to use in your club.


9. The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

Fr. Dwight Longenecker begins with C.S. Lewis’ premise that Christianity is no mere myth. Rather, it is the culmination, fulfilment, and realization of every fairy tale and romantic story come true. I hear this book is a powerful answer for a dry or dour spiritual life.

10. Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese

Another salve for those feeling brokenhearted, dusty, or despondent in their faith. Heather King has had more than anyone’s fair share of heartache in this crazy fallen world. This is a memoir of how the “great cloud of witnesses” can witness across centuries, even in our modern lives.

11. Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom

My family is one year out from downsizing. We sold a big minivan and an even bigger house, to move to a prius and apartment. It has been utterly fulfilling! But my work is far from done. I hope to grow less materialistic, and more purposeful with our resources in 2017.

12. New Seeds of Contemplation

I can’t figure out contemplative prayer. I suspect that, as in most things, I’m simply over thinking it. Reading Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain was one of the high-points of 2016 for me. So I look forward to reading more of his rich spiritual writing.

13. 9 Days to a Deeper Prayer Life with the Holy Spirit

I’ve never done a novena. How lame is that? What better way to get started than this little booklet from John-Paul and Anne Deddens, founders of PrayMoreNovenas.com

14. The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux

Getting away for a retreat is not possible for me in this season. Sometimes I dream of a silent weekend retreat, or the engaged encounter my husband and I enjoyed before we wed. Alas, running a DIY retreat will have to do for now.

15. 33 Days to Morning Glory

Another DIY retreat. This one has more structure with short readings and prayers for each day. It’s also been described to me as “Mariology for beginners”. Perfect!

16. Interior Castle

By far the most ambitious book on my list, this is a medieval classic of Christian spiritual development. St. Teresa of Avila, great reformer of the Carmelites, wrote her seminal work on the soul’s journey of faith. A practical blueprint to the interior life. My INTJ heart is giddy with anticipation!

17. Your Suggestion Here

Did you read anything particularly edifying in 2016? Anything you plan on delving into in 2017? Or perhaps there’s your perennial favorite author is missing from my list. Let me know below!


  1. Several books I haven’t heard of, but look great. I keep hearing about the 33 Days book and that it is fantastic. I want to do that, but probably not this year. I will be going through the Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion with the St. Theresa’s Online Book Club on Facebook. Looking forward to it.

    1. I kept hearing about 33 Days to Morning Glory too! It was one of those books that kept cropping up everywhere, until I finally had to check it out for myself.

      St. Teresa’s Online Book Club looks very impressive too! CatholicMom.com releases some of the best devotionals. I hope you have a fruitful time of it 🙂

  2. This year I enjoyed “Simplicity Parenting” and “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” as far as mothering books. For fiction, “The Awakening of Miss Prim” and “All the Light We Cannot See” were at the top of my list.

    Thanks for sharing your reading list. 🙂

    1. Simplicity Parenting has been instrumental to my own parenting! I read it while pregnant, awash in a sea of toy ads and gifted Baby Einstein DVDs. It sounds ridiculous, but I’d call it a paradigm shift 🙂 Our son’s sensory processing issues have just confirmed the need for a simple routine, and simple environments.

  3. I had to giggle at the title “Rosaries aren’t for teething.” My rosary beads come out most often to keep the baby occupied during Mass. (Shameful, I know) You’re also not the only one who hasn’t done a novena, though. Perhaps that should be on my resolutions list this year? Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

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