Prayer, Spiritual Life, and Mysticism:
The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
On Prayer by Origen
The Shepherd of Hermas. This early Christian bestseller was even included in some early canons of scripture.
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux (Therese Martin).
Scripture and Theology:
On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
On the Soul and the Resurrection by St. Gregory of Nyssa. On her deathbed, St. Macrina comforts her brother St. Gregory by countering his fears about death, through a discussion between the two of common objections of their time to the existence of the soul, eternal life, and bodily resurrection.
The Seven Words on the Cross by St. Robert Bellarmine. An examination of, and meditation upon, the seven sayings spoken by Jesus on the cross — aka “the seven last words” — as well as the associated total solar eclipse.
Pastoral and Life Advice:
The Art of Dying Well by St. Robert Bellarmine. Part I (the part available in the public domain in English) is about living well while still healthy and far from death.
The Banquet of the Ten Virgins by St. Methodius of Olympus. Praise of chastity and proper respect for the body in all states of life, and especial praise for vowed virginity.
The Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Letters of an extremely early Christian, as he is remanded to Rome for martyrdom.
On the Catechizing of the Unlearned by St. Augustine of Hippo. How do you teach Christianity? Or anything, for that matter? This book touches on all kinds of psychological, neurological, and linguistic stuff.
On Christian Doctrine by St. Augustine of Hippo. How do you interpret Scripture, and how do you teach and preach it? And of course, comments on any other little psychological or pastoral or data processing issue that St. A might happen to think of…. 8 hrs. 44 min.
On Patience by Tertullian. Hey, he admits he’s not good at it!
Of Shows by Tertullian. When is entertainment immoral? Tertullian, once a big fan of gladiator games and other shows, argues that Christians shouldn’t support such things with their money and their hearts.
Pastoral Care by Pope St. Gregory the Great (aka The Book of Pastoral Rule). Shrewd psychological and management advice, mixed with deep religious insight.
History, Biography, and Hagiography:
Europe and the Faith by Hilaire Belloc. A look at the role of Christianity in Europe’s history.
The Life of Antony by St. Athanasius. All about St. Anthony of Egypt, aka St. Anthony the Abbot, who greatly influenced the development of monasticism.
The Life of Augustine by St. Possidius. A biography of St. Augustine by one of his North African friends and fellow bishops. Focuses on stuff that happened after Augustine’s own Confessions.
The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. Essays on history before Christ, how Christ’s claims were radically different from other gods and religious figures, and how the Christian era has been very different.
The Life of St. Macrina by St. Gregory of Nyssa. Biography of a saintly early Christian woman from a saintly family by her saintly brother. Surprisingly emotional, with many interesting details. (Make sure you also read the associated dialogue between them, “On the Soul and the Resurrection”.)
Of the Life of St. Martin of Tours by St. Sulpicius Severus
Of the Ruin of Britain by St. Gildas the Wise. From the days of King Arthur.
The Pilgrimage of Egeria by Egeria. In the year of Our Lord 381, a lady goes on pilgrimage to Sinai, the Holy Land, and other places, and writes back home to her friends about what she saw.
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux (Therese Martin). Autobiography. Also talks about her “Little Way”.