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Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List: Adult Fiction and Nonfiction

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List: Adult Fiction and Nonfiction

John Touhey | Aleteia | Collage by Fabiana Touhey

John Touhey - published on 05/28/24

Our summer book list is back! Your friends at Aleteia have chosen a dozen fabulous books for you to enjoy while at the beach or chilling inside near the AC.

Back by popular demand, Aleteia’s summer book list has once again been thoughtfully curated to provide you, our discerning readers, with a host of fabulous reads that will enrich your minds and souls over the coming months. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will publish articles about each of the books on our list to enhance your reading experience.

Note: Many of the books on our adult list deal with grownup subject matters and may not be suitable for young readers. As with last year, however, we have summer book lists for teens and kidcoming later this week!

2024 Summer fiction recommendations for adults

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List: Adult Fiction


William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013.

Declare mixes supernatural fiction with the espionage novel to pulse-pounding effect. This deeply Catholic book won the 2001 World Fantasy Award for best novel. Writer Tim Powers is known for creating exciting narratives that also pose existential questions. “What you want to consider with escapism is not just what you’re escaping from,” Powers has said, “but what are you escaping to?”

To Crown with Liberty

Chrism Press, 2024.

Set in revolutionary France and colonial Louisiana, To Crown with Liberty follows a brave young woman who is caught up in epic events. Author Karen Ullo skillfully weaves fact and fiction to create a moving historical novel. Aleteia essayist Fr. Michael Rennier says that the book is “meticulously researched and has a lot to offer to a history buff, but manages to tell a very real, very human story.”

READ Fr. Michael Rennier’s article about To Crown with Libertyhere!

All the Light We Cannot See

Scribner, 2017. Our Well-Read Mom selection!

The lives of a blind Parisian girl and young German soldier unexpectedly come together during World War II in Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. All the Light We Cannot See is presented in collaboration with Well-Read Mom as part of their Summer Reads program.

Check back on Monday, June 3, for an in-depth look at how to approach the novel, and to learn about a special offer that Well-Read Mom is extending to Aleteia readers!

READ Theresa Civantos Barber’sarticle about All the Light We Cannot Seehere!

The Jon Mote Mysteries

Slant Books 2016-2022.

Jon Mote is an “accidental sleuth” who attempts to solve puzzling crimes while unable to straighten out his own train wreck of a life. He is aided by his sister Judy, who is cognitively impaired and may also be a saint. Starting with Death Comes for the Deconstructionist, author Daniel Taylor created a four-book series that will delight mystery fans and lovers of literary fiction.


Bay Back Books, 2012 edition.

Evelyn Waugh thought Helena his best book, though it is shamefully neglected today. In telling the story of St. Helena and her discovery of the True Cross, the great Catholic novelist playfully sticks to the few facts and legends that have come down to us about the mother of Constantine the Great. And, yes, Waugh was correct — this gem of a book is indeed his masterpiece.

Lord of the World

Voyage Classics, 2023 edition.

Written in 1907, Robert Hugh Benson’s science fiction novel is about a charismatic leader who builds a utopia where God and religion are rendered irrelevant. The result is a “perfect” world where hope is absent and euthanasia has become increasingly common. Sound familiar? Lord of the World is a must-read according to both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, so what are you waiting for?

READ Joseph Pearce’s article about Lord of the World here!

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List - Green Book icon

2024 Summer nonfiction recommendations for adults

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List: Adult Nonfiction

The Great Bridge

Simon & Schuster, 1983.

When Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in March, the incident underscored how fragile our country’s infrastructure is. It also reminded us just how complicated it is to design and build a major bridge that will stand the test of time. In The Great Bridge, David McCullough recounts the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, which took 14 years to construct and first opened more than 140 years ago. The narrative brings home how much planning, toil, and sacrifice go into constructing bridges that we take for granted until they are no more.

READ John Burger’s article about The Great Bridgehere!

Little Brother

Arcade Publishing, 2021.

Statistics on the number of refugees in the world vary widely — but they certainly number in the tens of millions. As conflicts spread around the world, that number will only rise. Behind those bleak statistics, however, there are actual names and faces. In Little Brother, Ibrahima Balde and Amets Arzallus Antia paint a very personal, even intimate, portrait of the refugee crisis, telling the story of Ibrahima’s own arduous journey.

Life: My Story Through History

HarperOne, 2024.

Billed as a kind of autobiography of Pope Francis, Life: My Story Through History is really more like an extended interview with the Holy Father. The Pope shares many of the incidents, large and small, that marked his life since childhood to the present. Kathleen N. Hattrup, the Executive Editor of Aleteia’s English edition, says that, “Life is an easy read, as it is as simple as enjoying stories.”

READ Kathleen N. Hattrup’s article about Life: My Story Through History here!

The Watchmaker’s Daughter

William Morrow, 2023.

You may have heard of Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch woman who, with her family’s help, hid and saved countless Jews and refugees from the Gestapo during the Second World War. Remarkably, there has never been a major biography of this extraordinary figure. The Watchmaker’s Daughter: The True Story of World War II Heroine Corrie ten Boom by Larry Loftis remedies that oversight.

READ Caitlin Bootsma’s article about The Watchmaker’s Daughterhere!

Localism: Coming home to Catholic social teaching

Sophia Institute Press, 2024.

Simply put, Localism: Coming Home to Catholic Social Teaching is an attempt to take the distributist principles of G.K. Chesterston seriously and update them for the modern world under a new name — localism. Never heard of distributism or localism before? Wondering how a man born 150 years ago could possibly have anything to say about life in the digital age? Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Whether you agree with the contributors or not, you will find their arguments stimulating and thought-provoking.

READ Fr. Michael Rennier’s article about Localism here!

The Wrecking Crew

St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

What if there were a secret rock band full of incredibly talented musicians who provided the music for some of the biggest hits of the 60s? And what if these renegades proved to be the “secret weapon” that launched groups like The Monkees and The Beach Boys into superstardom? Well, such a band did exist. It was called “The Wrecking Crew,” and the session musicians who performed in the band helped create such classic songs as “California Dreamin'” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” In The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret, writer Kent Hartman finally lets the secret out in highly entertaining fashion.

READ J-P Mauro’s article about The Wrecking Crewhere!

Summer book list Icon

Look for the icon above to find all our book articles, etc. as they are published throughout the coming weeks. Enjoy your summer and happy reading!

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