The most recommended priest books

Who picked these books? Meet our 24 experts.

24 authors created a book list connected to priests, and here are their favorite priest books.
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What type of priest book?


Book cover of The Sinner's Penance

Sophia Soames Author Of White Noise

From Sophia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Obsessive fangirl Wannabe professional baker Can play the violin Pretends to be artistic Professional traveller

Sophia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Sophia Soames Why did Sophia love this book?

KC Carmine has a certain European flair to all of her stories, a quality I appreciate as a reader. I also love how she pushed boundaries and elegantly mixes love and attraction with a heady dose of light-hearted kink.

As the title suggests here, this book features a man disguised as a priest, a besotted parishioner in need of a good seeing to, and no romance would be complete without a mafia backstory and some villains to throw in the mix.

I really, really enjoyed this steamy romp of a M/M romance, and it’s one of the books that stood out the most for me this year because it was different, quirky, and kept me on my toes.

Book cover of At Play in the Lions' Den: A Biography and Memoir of Daniel Berrigan

John Dear Author Of A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World

From my list on the greatest modern peacemakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my entire life in pursuit of peace and nonviolence, and tried to be a peacemaker to our poor world of permanent warfare, extreme poverty, systemic violence, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction. I’ve organized hundreds of demonstrations, spoken to a million people, written some forty books on peace and nonviolence, been arrested 85 times, traveled the warzones of the world—all the while trying to practice peace and nonviolence, and not doing a good job of it. That’s why I look to the examples of legendary peacemakers who lived the life of peace and changed the world with their disarming presence, people like Gandhi, Dr. King, Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan and Thomas Merton.

John's book list on the greatest modern peacemakers

John Dear Why did John love this book?

Daniel Berrigan was the first U.S. priest to be arrested for civil disobedience against war, and with his brother, achieved global fame for the 1968 Catonsville Nine protest against the Vietnam war and the 1980 Plowshares action against nuclear weapons. An award-winning poet, author of fifty books, Nobel peace prize nominee and priest, Daniel Berrigan changed the history of the church and called U.S. Christians to nonviolent resistance to the culture of violence and war and to pursue a new culture of justice, peace, and nonviolence. This is by far the best biography of Dan and is filled with great photos. I was one of Dan’s closest friends and remain his literary executor, so I can’t recommend this highly enough. Totally inspiring. 

By Jim Forest,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Play in the Lions' Den as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Daniel Berrigan (1921-2016), a Jesuit priest and poet, was one of the preeminent Christian peacemakers of his time. After gaining notoriety in 1968 through his role, along with his brother Philip, in destroying Vietnam-era draft files as part of the Catonsville 9, he helped elevate the Christian conscience with regard to issues of war and violence. Resistance to the Vietnam War was followed by decades of protest against nuclear weapons, including his participation in the first "Plowshares" action, the symbolical disarming of nuclear warheads.

But Berrigan's efforts on behalf of life…

Book cover of Four

Megan Derr Author Of The High King's Golden Tongue

From my list on queer SFF to get you through winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Megan is a long-time resident of queer fantasy romance and keeps herself busy reading and writing it. She has been doing so for nearly twenty years, and hopes to do it at least another twenty. She is asexual, biromantic, and married to a wonderful woman. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to cook, harass her wife and cats, or watch movies and play video games.

Megan's book list on queer SFF to get you through winter

Megan Derr Why did Megan love this book?

This is one of the best books of redemption I've ever read, about a man who did some truly horrible, some would say unforgivable things, and has been working hard the past several years to make amends for his wrongs, a journey he continues even as he meets the man who just might be the love of his life. All this in a beautifully built fantasy world, and while it is book two in the series it stands on its own just fine. When it comes to tales of redemption and forgiveness, though, of facing a sordid past and working to overcome it, this book continues to set the bar for me.

By Archer Kay Leah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the outside, Mayr seems to have it all: a successful career as Head of the Guard for a prominent politician, family and friends who rely on him, and the attention of beautiful lovers. But appearances are a good way to bury secrets, including mistakes he can never fix and a broken heart that never seems to heal, forever searching for the one person to share his life with.When his last girlfriend takes him back and suggests an intimate night together with Tash, one of her lovers, Mayr reluctantly agrees. The last thing he expects is to fall hard for…

Book cover of Father Melancholy's Daughter

Sandra Hutchison Author Of The Awful Mess

From my list on deliciously wry novels with Christian themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up agnostic and somehow ended up an Episcopal Church lady, I’m intrigued by writers who deal with Christian belief respectfully without leaving their sense of humor behind. I don’t believe that faith is required to be moral—my nonreligious parents are more principled than many Christians I know—but I like to see characters work out that tension between what we’re taught in Scripture, what we believe or want to believe, and how we actually live it out in daily life (sins and all). I especially enjoy watching this happen in that peculiar petri dish of personalities that is any local church.

Sandra's book list on deliciously wry novels with Christian themes

Sandra Hutchison Why did Sandra love this book?

This novel traces the coming of age of the only child, a daughter, of a very traditional Episcopal priest. He struggles with depression, a failed marriage, and his work. She struggles to keep up her father’s spirits and tend to his household, as well as with the abandonment of them by her mother and with the question of who she shall be when she isn’t just tending to her dad. Ultimately, she arrives at a calling of her own. It’s a warm-hearted, leisurely novel that also can be quite comical about church people and human interaction of all kinds, but also treats faith seriously. (There’s also a good sequel that takes us into her ministry, Evensong.)     

By Gail Godwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Father Melancholy's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving story of a father/daughter relationship set in present day small town America.

Book cover of Eifelheim

John Bierce Author Of The Wrack

From my list on sci-fi/fantasy about plagues and pandemics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by epidemiology since I was a little kid first reading about the Black Death, and that interest only grew as I learned more about it over the years. Diving into the study of environmental history was especially fascinating for me, as I learned how under-emphasized the role of epidemics and pandemics has been in history, as if humans were trying to pretend that history was actually under our own control. This eventually culminated in me writing The Wrack, my own plague novel which, for better or worse, ended up coming out at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Slightly awkward timing, there.)

John's book list on sci-fi/fantasy about plagues and pandemics

John Bierce Why did John love this book?

Aliens crash-land near a medieval European village during the Black Death, and establish friendly relations with the villagers- but Earth’s food lacks vital nutrients for them, and the plague creeps closer every day. Wonderful, heart-wrenching book about communities during times of crisis and disaster, and about the fundamental humanity that crisis brings out in us—even towards those who aren’t human.

By Michael Flynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eifelheim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The alien world of medieval Europe lives again, transformed by the physics of the future, by a winner of the Heinlein Award

Over the centuries, one small town in Germany has disappeared and never been resettled. Tom, a historian, and his theoretical physicist girlfriend Sharon, become interested. By all logic, the town should have survived. What's so special about Eifelheim?

Father Dietrich is the village priest of Eifelheim, in the year 1348, when the Black Death is gathering strength but is still not nearby. Dietrich is an educated man, and to his astonishment becomes the first contact person between humanity…

Book cover of While the World Turns

S. Kirk Pierzchala Author Of Echoes Through Distant Glass

From S.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Artist Educator Perceptive Patient Meticulous

S.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

S. Kirk Pierzchala Why did S. love this book?

I was bowled over with how novelist O’Neill skillfully transmutes a raw and desperate tale into a haunting and unforgettable fable of faith and sacrifice.

The stories of Aitor and Jacob, two priests selected to help rebuild the world following a nuclear apocalypse, are interwoven with those of Talik and Ziek, friends exiled from a city of mutants after Ziek exhibits symptoms of the dreaded Burdening disease. 

The two tragic storylines eventually converge as the sets of characters must confront daunting odds, constantly questioning whether God cares at all for mankind, or if He has finally turned His face away from a hopeless, murderous species. While it’s certainly a dark tale, I absolutely loved the achingly beautiful writing in this work.

By K.M. O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked While the World Turns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sixteen hundred years ago, as the old world died, a ship carried thirty-three priests and one hundred pilgrims into orbit. One by one, the priests lived solitary lives, praying for salvation. At his vigil's end, Father Aitor wakes the final priest--Jacob, whom he loves--to lead the survivors as they rebuild civilization. Their mission is clear: bring Christ to the wilderness. But Aitor has never heard God's voice, and he is beginning to believe that Jacob hasn't either. And when they encounter strange, deformed creatures, doubt is not their only threat. In a nearby community, Talit has always believed in the…

Book cover of Pastoral

Karla Huebner Author Of In Search of the Magic Theater

From my list on creativity, self-discovery, and (re)invention.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by our creative urges and ambitions, and by what makes us who we are and why we make the choices we do. While I’m interested in many aspects of human experience and psychology, from the mundane to the murderous, I’m especially drawn to narratives that probe our deeper psyches and look, particularly with a grain of humor, at our efforts to expand our understanding and create great works—or simply to become wiser and more enlightened beings. What is our place in the universe? Why are we here? Who are we? The books I’ve listed explore some of these matters in ways both heartfelt and humorous.

Karla's book list on creativity, self-discovery, and (re)invention

Karla Huebner Why did Karla love this book?

Pastoral is one of my favorite recent discoveries. It’s one of a quincunx of novels linked by exploration of five classic literary genres—in this case the currently unfashionable pastoral. Newly ordained priest Christopher Pennant isn’t greatly pleased that his first parish assignment is to a rural town where sheep are numerous. He assumes he’ll be a suitable shepherd to the humans, people he expects to be simple and straightforward. Of course, they aren’t. They’re not only as complex as people anywhere else, but very unexpected. Father Pennant not only finds he has a self-appointed cello-playing chef as rectory caretaker, but he witnesses three possible miracles. Or are they trickery? I love the depth and gentle humor in the priest’s attempts to understand his parishioners and himself. And nature, too.

By André Alexis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pastoral as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There were plans for an official welcome. It was to take place the following Sunday. But those who came to the rectory on Father Pennant's second day were the ones who could not resist seeing him sooner. Here was the man to whom they would confess the darkest things. It was important to feel him out. Mrs Young, for instance, after she had seen him eat a piece of her macaroni pie, quietly asked what he thought of adultery. Andre Alexis brings a modern sensibility and a new liveliness to an age-old genre, the pastoral. For his very first parish,…

Book cover of A Light in the Window

JQ Rose Author Of Dangerous Sanctuary

From JQ's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Life storytelling evangelist Teacher Wordsmith Traveler

JQ's 3 favorite reads in 2023

JQ Rose Why did JQ love this book?

I read this series when it first came out and fell in love with the many quirky characters and the small town of Mitford. So, I vowed to re-read the entire series this year. A Light in the Window is one of my favorites. Although it is hard to choose just one.

The main character is an Episcopal priest, Father Tim. This life-long bachelor’s life changes in many ways, especially when a lovely woman moves in next door to the parsonage. First, his life turned a bit when he acquired a huge dog, Barnabus, who, for some reason, calmed down when Father Tim recited Bible verses to him.

So much wit, wisdom, and warmth in each of these books in the series. Jan Karon is a fabulous storyteller, bringing readers into the scenes and developing characters that feel like old friends and some that remind me of my Aunt Ruth!…

By Jan Karon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Light in the Window as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this beautifully crafted second novel in the Mitford series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jan Karon delivers a love story that's both heartwarming and hilarious.

Father Tim-Mitford's rector and lifelong bachelor-is in need of divine intervention. His attractive neighbor is tugging at his heartstrings. A wealthy widow is pursuing him with hot casseroles. And his red-haired Cousin Meg has moved into the rectory, uninvited.

Only time will tell if the village parson can practice what he preaches. Filled with the miracles and mysteries of everyday life, A Light in the Window is an affirmation of what some of…

Book cover of The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Christina Crook Author Of Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age

From my list on beat binge watching.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christina Crook is a pioneer and leading voice in the field of digital well-being. She is the award-winning author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, the harbinger of the global #JOMO movement, and Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in a Digital Age. Christina regularly shares her insights about technology and our daily lives in international media including The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Harper's Bazaar which called her "The Marie Kondo of Digital.”

Christina's book list on beat binge watching

Christina Crook Why did Christina love this book?

People have called Henri Nouwen many things: a priest, an author, a spiritual guide, a natural mystic. His books have sold millions of copies and continue to resonate deeply with people from all walks of life. In 2000, when asked to share the book that had most influenced her life, Hillary Clinton chose Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son. The following sentence, in particular, she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, hit her “like a lightning bolt”: "The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a "gift to be celebrated with joy." 

“I had never thought of gratitude as a habit or discipline before,” she explained, “and I discovered that it was immensely helpful to do so.” I first discovered Henri when I was eighteen years old and gifted with…

By Henri J. M. Nouwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Only Necessary Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout the forty-some books that Henri Nouwen wrote and the hundreds of talks that he gave, the subject of Prayer runs through them all and unites them. For him a life of faith is a life of prayer. Drawn from many decades of his life, the compilation of Henri's thoughts, feelings, and the struggle with prayer, reveal the core of the man and his belief that prayer is the only necessary thing.

Book cover of Scrublands

Victoria Goldman Author Of The Redeemer: A Shanna Regan murder mystery

From my list on crime thrillers with a journalist sleuth on a mission.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wanted to write crime fiction from a young age. I took a Biomedical Science degree, hoping to follow this with a PhD in Forensics but soon realised I didn’t want to spend the rest of my working life in a lab. So I took a Master’s degree in Science Communication and became a health journalist and editor instead. I knew my own crime novel needed to feature a journalist. My main character, Shanna Regan, has spent her life travelling, whereas my own job has always been desk-based in the UK. Maybe this is why I love reading crime novels that whisk me off to other countries (in my head)!

Victoria's book list on crime thrillers with a journalist sleuth on a mission

Victoria Goldman Why did Victoria love this book?

Scrublands is another crime novel that took me to faraway places, this time to a remote Australian town during a relentless drought.

The desolate landscape was so well described that I could feel the intense heat of the Australian sunshine and the harshness of the outback surroundings. While battling inner demons from traumatic experiences, journalist Martin Scarsden is desperate to rekindle his career, whatever the cost, while investigating a tragic shooting incident a year earlier.

Journalists tend to be outsiders in a small town, prompting suspicion from the locals, but are also well-placed to drag up secrets from the past due to their persistent natures. Author Chris Hammer is a former journalist and his portrayal of Martin and the media feels authentic. 

By Chris Hammer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scrublands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 CWA Dagger New Blood Award for Best First Crime Novel

In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself.

A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don't fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation.…