Atheist Wizards, Desperate Mothers, and Dead Mockingbirds, (A.K.A. What I’ve Been Reading Lately)

So many books, so little time to write about them!  Here are some of the highlights of the past few months.

Harry Potter and the Methods of RationalityHARRY POTTER AND THE METHODS OF RATIONALITY

By Eliezer Yudkowsky

After posting my review of the final two Harry Potter books last fall, a friend challenged me to read this quite lengthly spin off.  I would say that the most accurate description is that of atheist, Mary Sue, parallel universe, fan fiction.  That being said, the plot is engaging, and kept me rapidly page turning despite its many flaws.  The best parts are when it stays close to its source material, while still poking fun at it (I’ve gotta agree its hard to see the proud Salazar Slytherin putting the opening to the Chamber of Secrets in a bathroom).  Unfortunately, the Mary Sue, aspect of the work becomes apparent rather quickly as Harry’s character is dramatically different and while logical and humorous, not particularly likable.  Finally, the work seems to be intentionally way longer and more complicated than was necessary.    


By Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

I really wanted to love this book, and had hoped that it could be helpful to me.  It wasn’t.  While the authors aptly describe the difficulties with being a stay-at-home mom, their solutions while valid are rather general and vague (ex: make your home a peaceful environment, don’t isolate yourself at home).  Frankly, a lot of their solutions are out of reach for the most “desperate” of mothers who lack the funds for such things as babysitting, or housekeeping.  So too, their reminders that this season of life when we have children under three or four won’t last forever, is not particularly helpful for those who expect to have a large family and perhaps have a child under three for the next twenty years or so.   Nota Bene: This book is not written for those who work outside of the home and seems to disparage those who willingly make this choice.  If you are looking for a helpful book on bringing peace to your life as a mother, skip this one and check out A Mother’s Rule of Life, for concrete and helpful suggestions.


By Harper Lee

Inspired by our trip down south in February, I moved To Kill a Mockingbird to the top of my “to be read in 2015″ list.  Less than a day later I had finished it.  Such a fantastic book; probably my favorite piece of American Literature from the 20th century.  I feel like anything I have to say about it right now cheapens it, as if I haven’t earned the privilege yet.  I would love to analyze the technical details of what it is that I enjoyed so much about Harper Lee’s style, but to do so would involve dissecting it into pieces and I am not ready to do that yet.  Bottom Line: if you haven’t read it yet, get a copy pronto!


By Shawn Smucker

This book came at the perfect time for me.  In it the author tells how he transitioned to freelance writing for a living after his painting business failed. While the primary thrust of the book deals specifically with life as a writer (to this end it includes several essays from others who make their living writing), at its core it is a book about following your dreams.  I started reading it shortly after Nathan and I had made the leap and started our own business, and there were so many parts that any new small business owner could relate to.  I especially liked the analogy to driving at night and only being able to see part of the way, but perhaps my favorite passage compared owning your own business to being an alien on a rollercoaster.  A great book for writers, business owners, and dreamers alike.



By Charles Duhigg

An excellent book for those who want to understand how habits operate on both a personal and institutional level.  Very helpful for those who want to make or break new habits.

There are several other books that I have been reading lately that I hope to review about later (such as A Wrinkle in Time).

I also skim re-read All the Money in the World, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the Nesting Place.

Linking up with Anne at for QuickLit, and Rachel of for Five Faves Wednesday.  Happy Reading, may your books be plentiful and their plots engaging!

Have you been reading any good books lately?  I’d love to hear about them, tell me in the comments!



6 thoughts on “Atheist Wizards, Desperate Mothers, and Dead Mockingbirds, (A.K.A. What I’ve Been Reading Lately)

  1. Arenda

    I read Desperate last year and remember enjoying it at the time, but it was rather forgettable. As in, I don’t remember anything from the book aside from its format (Sally Mae asks a question, Sarah Clarkson responds). I think I’ll check out your recommendation (A Mother’s Rule of Life) as I find the inclusion of concrete examples appealing!

    1. KatherineKatherine Post author

      I hope that you find it helpful! Just as a heads up it is written from a Catholic perspective, instead of a more genericly Christian one like Desperate, but I have heard several non-Catholics report that they found it helpful as well. Happy reading!

  2. Anne

    I liked A Mother’s Rule of Life, too. I’ve read it a couple of times, I think (but only just discovered Sarah Mae, so have not read her book). I should read Mockingbird as an adult, and I am very curious about Shawn Smucker’s book now. Someone else had Duhigg on their list this morning, and I remembered I didn’t get to finish it before the library wanted the e-copy back. I liked Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before on habits, so I should try again! Thanks for sharing!

    1. KatherineKatherine Post author

      You are the third or fourth person within a week to mention the Gretchen Rubin, so I think I need to move it to the top of my reading list.

  3. Sheri Dacon

    First off, yes for To Kill a Mockingbird!! I read it several times as a girl and I need to reread it! Second, I loved The Power of Habit. Really thought-provoking. Lastly, I really appreciate your review of Desperate. I have it on my Kindle and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but all the reviews I’ve seen are so glowing. . . and the last Sally Clarkson book I tried to read just didn’t do it for me. So I’m glad to see a different perspective!


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