Here they are, in no particular order:
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis--This is one of the great introductions to the heart of the Christian thing. Lewis writes with the brilliance of the professor that he was, but also with the depth of insight and unexpected communion with the Holy Spirit of the holy, of the saint. Live this, and you'll be far closer to living a holy life than you were before.
- How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question by, well, me--shamefaced self-promotion here, But really, I did write this book in response to Facebook questions, and I deliberately kept the answers short to make it an easy, user-friendly read. So I hope both Catholics and non-Catholics might find it accessible enough even for beach reading!
- The Father Brown short stories by G.K. Chesterton--I was strongly tempted to recommend The Everlasting Man, but that's not exactly beach reading. The Father Brown short stories, on the other hand, are among some of the outstanding examples of the Golden Age of detective fiction, as well as containing a great deal of Chesterton's wit and wisdom.
- No Turning Back by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC--One of those conversion stories that proves that Catholics don't make converts; the Holy Spirit does, and in collaboration with Our Lady. It's a story of grace more powerful than addiction, of hope past all hope, and it's written to be a readable by everyone.
- The 'One Thing' is Three, by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC--A self-indulgent recommendation; I really loved this book when I first read it. This is in many ways the heart of Catholic theology and belief in one incredibly readable package. And trust me--most readers will be rather astounded at what they find. Rather larger than one might expect for beach reading, but well worth your time.
- Anything and everything by Pope Benedict XVI. Much of it, I grant, not really light enough for the beach, but his interview books are fascinating; great glimpses into the mind of one of the most brilliant men to have ever been elected to the papacy.