Best Reads for Summer—Memoirs

Best Reads for Summer—Memoirs

Other people’s stories have a way of getting under our skin, illuminating truth in surprising ways, and most of all, connecting us with each other. Vulnerability, candor, humor, and wisdom are all here—from the original spiritual autobiography written in the 5th century, to a modern-day meeting between a struggling single woman and a cloistered nun. This summer, discover a memoir that will offer a meaningful escape. 

A 21st-century recovering addict discovers the wisdom of a 19th-century French nun. 

In this powerful memoir, a convert with a checkered past spends a year reflecting upon St. Thérèse of Lisieux—and discovers radical faith, true love, and abundant life.

“Refreshingly and brutally honest, the author describes a spiritual path full of poverty, loneliness, and suffering as she struggles to come to terms with her divorce, the death of loved ones, and unrequited love. . . King offers a genuinely moving account of her quest to follow Therese's little way, become a ‘victim of love’ and, indeed, to redefine what love means in the modern world.” —Publishers Weekly

“If you are struggling with faith, with brokenness in your life, with an obsession, with an addiction, with a gnawing sense that your life is not what it should be, with the sense of being the outsider, an orphan at all the banquets of life, and, most of all, with the sense you don't love Jesus and he doesn't love you either, that you are nothing, then let this book find you. It's a book for those who think they might be too sick to be helped by a doctor.” —Ronald Rolheiser

The original spiritual memoir. 

 “This book is the masterpiece from which all other Christian memoirs flow. Augustine’s astonishing story remains as fresh as it did when he wrote it in the late fourth century. The Confessions still speaks with a clear, vivid and altogether distinctive voice to believers and seekers searching for the One who will give rest to their restless hearts.”  —James Martin, SJ, author of My Life with the Saints

For St. Augustine, to be human is to be flawed, yet called to sainthood and true happiness. All the longings, missed opportunities, and looking for love in all the wrong places that characterize our existence, he sees within this framework.

As relevant today as it was in the fifth century, The Confessions speaks to anyone who feels caught up in the whirlwind of their own anxiety, looking for meaning and spiritual purpose. 

A spiritual quest teaches the value of failure (with a good dose of humor). 

When Jana Reiss sets out on a year-long quest to conquer twelve spiritual practices, she finds to her growing humiliation that she is failing—not just at some of the practices, but at every single one. What emerges is a funny yet vulnerable story of the quest for spiritual perfection and the reality of spiritual failure, which turns out to be a valuable practice in and of itself. 

“Jana calls us to something greater than spiritual success - ordinary faithfulness. Flunking Sainthood is the book I’m giving to my friends who are seeking to make sense of their emerging faith. - Doug Pagitt, author of A Christianity Worth Believing


Millions of hearts have been touched by St. Thérèse of Lisieux's desire for simplicity and child-like intimacy with God. 

St. Thérèse's autobiography was first published soon after her death in 1897 at the age of twenty-four. Combining charming descriptions of family and community life with a sense of humor and intense devotion to God, it was an instant bestseller. 

This popular new translation includes every word of the original text, retaining the complete charm of the original. The result is a complete and unabridged work, longer than most other editions available today. 

Drawing from both her published writings and her private journals, this memoir offers a candid look at the extraordinary spiritual journey of Evelyn Underhill. We glimpse a picture of her essentially secular childhood, her early spiritual awareness, her innate sense of deep compassion for others, and the curiosity that drove her classic work, Mysticism. For the many readers who have been moved by the writings of Evelyn Underhill, and for those who are merely intrigued by mysticism or captivated by a good memoir, this book presents a vivid and deeply personal rendering of a life that was both intellectually and spiritually radiant.

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