I just finished Pope Benedict's book on the Apostles. It is a wonderful little book.
The book itself is based on a series of papal audiences given in 2006 and 2007. So it is conversational, not scholarly (if this Pope could wrote anything that is not scholarly that is). Each of the subjects (and it goes beyond The Twelve to also discuss Paul and some of the early Church's co-workers) is presented in a way to make their life lesson relevant to today.
With the exception of Paul, who was an educated man, the Apostles mostly were what today we would call "blue collar" types. They were working men (and women too), ordinary people with ordinary concerns and lives. I think about that when I think about people like my Uncle Joey -- a big gruff tough guy who none the less would use a finger rosary to pray while driving. Like several of the Apostles, he also liked to fish. He never had it easy in life, yet he accepted the bad things and worked hard to persevere.
Holiness can be found in the most unlikely places.