Dr. Peter Kreeft: 26 Books Nobody Should Die Without Reading

Did you catch this wonderful lecture by Dr. Peter Kreeft??

For his assigned topic, Dr. Kreeft was supposed to recommend ten books to read before you die. But he couldn’t help himself. He instead proposed 26 books, stretched over 13 genres, with another 15 bonus titles.

You’ll find links to all the books below the lecture.

(Also, click here for Peter Kreeft’s recommended philosophy books.)


Book Recommendations


Bonus Book Recommendations


Which of these have you read? Comment below!

  • Sara

    You know, as more you read as more you improve your writing skills.
    I read a lot books, and almost all from this list) It helps me to write articles for my blog)
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  • amslages

    Perfect number of books in total: 42 🙂

  • Tyre

    ow! that’s so good of you.. thank you so much Mr Peter for the books’ recommendation! i will definitely try to read these books.. i have read Hamlet but not the full.. i surely will..

  • Rachel

    ow! that’s so good of you.. thank you so much Mr Peter for the books’ recommendation! i will definitely try to read these books.. i have read Hamlet but not the full.. i surely will..

  • huyenoc

    wonderful lecture ..!

  • Annie Lickwood

    I’ve read all of them from both lists. Great List.

  • Michael Miley

    If you’re a St JPII fan, Jason Evert’s His Five Loves is great read.
    Peter Kreeft was the catalyst of my conversion – cheers to him!

  • Rich G

    Life of Christ and The World’s First Love by Sheen and The Reed of God by Houselander are must-reads.

  • Cindy Trainque

    I have read Story of a Soul, A Tale of Two Cities, The Practice of the Presence of God and Theology of the Body for Beginners…just 4 of them. Yes, I am rather limited. But I have met Dr. Peter Kreeft…twice! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/70869b4cb474ee1b21da8fc259e201db4f8e32a0d8a20e57ef04747fb6d23943.jpg

  • Margaret Kerry Fsp

    Read them all. Some are harder
    than others(City of God) yet very important. Also get Theology of the Body Explained by Michael Waldstein. I would add Death Comes to the Archbishop and Dune. Plus! Walker Percy, Flannery O’Conner, Dorothy Day’s Long Lonliness.

  • Michel Saint-Laurent

    14 in the list and bonus. I am afraid of the Summa, it seem to be lenghty, heavy and had much density. Like suggested in WOFShow a good intro should be of good help

  • Read Charles Williams’ “Descent Into Hell.” Just read it.

  • srlucado

    I remember listening to a lecture by Dr. Kreeft about “Mere Christianity”. He asked how many in the audience had read it…then asked how many had read it only once. “Shame on you,” he said. (And he makes a great point, though I confess to having read it only twice.)

    Anyway, I’d take Tolstoy over Dostoyevsky any day, especially given D’s anti-Catholicism. I got a lot more out of reading “War and Peace” than I ever got from Karamazov.

    Chesterton…I find reading him to be a challenge. His biography of Aquinas reads like it was dictated, a style I find maddening.

    As for other books, Newman’s “Grammar of Assent” is fine reading, as is anything by Pope Benedict XVI. Any of the interviews with Peter Seewald are sheer joy, if for no other reason than the insight they provide to one of the greatest minds in history.

    The good news is that we’re lucky we have so many great works to choose from.

  • Catholic Dad

    Strange, I didn’t notice, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis on the list, said to be the second most popular Christian book after the Holy Bible. It’s extremely rich and everyone should read it!

    • srlucado

      Good catch. That is indeed a tremendous work, and very accessible to a modern audience. It should be on everyone’s list.

  • Aundre Ragaza Dollete

    Thomas Aquinas by Chesterton, A Tale of Two Cities, A Man For All Seasons….Summa Theologica is the one I want to read next…

  • SanSan

    I’ve read many so far……love Dr. Peter Kreett. I need to get busy and read his other recommendations!

  • Excellent suggestions. I just think that there is too much Lewis and Robert Benson, Lord of the World, and Orwell’s 1984 are much better than Huxley. I really do not like Huxley, It is not a good well written book.

    • Catholic Dad

      Really, I thought Brave New World was excellent from a literature standpoint. I thought it was much more relevant to us today than 1984. Also the Main Charterer sought virtue which the society couldn’t understand. That said I did appreciate 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. I have not yet read Lord of the World.

      • I wrote an article on dystopias. For me, Huxley is by far the worst in comparison to Benson and Orwell. It is bad written and nonsense in many parts. And Benson is by far the best. But, it is just my opinion, my friend. God bless.

        • Catholic Dad

          Thanks, I look forward to reading Lord of the World!

  • Kevin Stetter

    I ATTENDED this wonderful lecture here in Louisville!