The season of reading pink, chalk-like candy sweethearts with anecdotal sayings like “I love you” and “True Love” is upon us. So what is true love? Can you find it in a children’s book, a biography, a novel? Sometimes you might want a light-hearted story to read, while other times you may want a book that digs deeper. Below are a few of my favorite books that talk about love in a variety of forms. Love shared between friends, love shared within the family, and also that deep, burning, can’t-quite-quench-it-on-this-earth kind of love that God has for all of us.
Spiritual Books about Love
The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God by Fulton J. Sheen
This book was recommended in our Best Books About Mary post, but it is such an eye-opening book that it is worth recommending again. In these pages you will be inspired by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen’s portrayal of the Blessed Mother’s life. He speaks specifically to women, placing importance on our great dignity, unique gifts, and ability to bring healing. He also emphasizes Mary’s heart—which burns for her children—showing her deep love for us.
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
This book holds one of my favorite quotations, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” The beloved British writer and author of The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity shares his insight on the nature of love and how it plays out in our day-to-day lives. He categorizes them into affection, friendship, Eros, and charity. In his study of love, do not be surprised if you find you have the strength to begin opening up your heart and allowing Jesus to pull you close.
Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset
This biography is written by one of the greatest novelists and Nobel Prize winners of the twentieth century. This same author wrote the classic book Kristin Lavransdatter. The author—a third order Dominican herself—will ignite in you a love for the great St. Catherine of Siena. Undset will give you a close-up look into the passionate love shared between St. Catherine and her Lover, Jesus Himself. As you flip through these pages, you too will taste the intense and consuming love that God is inviting you to receive.
Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West
In this book we receive a thorough, understandable, and condensed version of Pope Saint John Paul II’s teaching on the Theology of the Body. The human body is created to be a sign of God’s divine love, and in this book you will discover how you can experience the kind of love you long for.
The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux by Father Jacques Philippe
One of St. Therese’s great gifts is that she surrendered herself so trustingly to God’s love. This exploration of St. Therese’s writings was first shared by Fr. Jacques Philippe during a retreat. Through his words, we will learn from the Little Flower how we, too, can embrace the virtue of humility and trust in God’s loving tenderness and goodness, just as she did.
Stories about Love
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This #1 New York Times bestseller is coming to the big screen in April! This love story takes place in the mid 1900s and transports you between the warmth of a book club on a tiny island to the big city. The main character in the book, writer Juliet Ashton, lives a dramatic life in the bustling city of London. She begins to receive letters from Dawsey Adams, a native from the small island of Guernsey, who came across her name in a book. Dawsey shares with her about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—a book club held on his island with tightly knit friends—which began after the German occupation. Before long, she leaves her life of drama in London and sets off for Guernsey. This decision changes her life forever. Will she choose to return to London and her suitor there, or embrace the new-found life on Guernsey?
You are Special by Max Lucado
Have you ever dreamed of receiving a love letter? Here is one you can re-read, each and every day. It is a love letter to you, reminding you that you are loved for simply being you. This book may have been written as a children’s tale, but one never tires of hearing that “You are precious in His sight.” If you do have little ones, snuggle up on the couch and get ready for a cozy and comforting read.
A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes
In this photographic collaboration between two friends, you will get a glimpse into the precious, morning moments which so often go unseen. Although these two women had only met in person once, they maintained a friendship through their mutual love of capturing the simple moments in life. A fresh cup of dark and bold coffee, warm buttered toast, a bouquet of fresh flowers. As you page through these images you may find yourself reflecting on how you have expressed your love to your children, your spouse, your friends, by doing the very same things that these two women have captured and shared. These pages show the stuff of life!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a beautiful story about a father’s love for his daughter, Marie-Laure. Marie lives in Paris where her father works as the keymaster of the Museum of Natural History. When she was just a child, she lost her sight. As a gift to her, her father built her a miniature model of their neighborhood so she could use her sense of touch to memorize it and find her way around town and to her home. When the Nazis occupy Paris, Marie’s memorization of this miniature model may be the hope she needs to survive. This book, which is written so poetically, was ten years in the making, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and Pulitzer Prize winner.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
This book may seem intimidating to pull off the shelf due to its length, but this fear will soon dissipate as you enter into a world of deep friendships. You’ll read with a twinkle in your eye, a smile on your face, a shudder down your back, and perhaps a few tears. In the first few chapters, you will get a glimpse into the friendship of Bilbo Baggins and his young friend, Frodo, in the cozy region of The Shire in Middle-earth You’ll learn what friendship looks like when friends love with a truly selfless love.
A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy and Triumph by Sheldon Vanauken
I don’t often cry, but this book had me near tears. The author was a good friend of C.S. Lewis, and letters from him are included in this love story. As you flip through these pages, you will delve into the relationship of a man and woman who desire nothing to break the “shining barrier” in their marriage. When the wife, Davy, has an encounter with God, this barrier is threatened. The couple learns how to navigate their differences in what they think about God’s existence and why suffering happens.
Susanna Parent serves as Evangelization Manager for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the Office of Evangelization. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. When she’s not reading and writing you can find her enjoying life with her new husband, brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, reading wine labels with friends in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir and blogging about her travel adventures. You can learn more about her here.
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